Ultimate Year in Review: 2014

For MuggleNet’s 20th anniversary, we are looking back at the past 20 years in Harry Potter history to bring attention back to its most significant moments. This is a series of articles that will run over four months. Our previous article covered the year 2013.

This week, the Time-Turner takes us all the way back to 2014, a year full of political events and blockbuster releases: Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize; celebrations were held in Germany to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; Stephen Hawking claimed that artificial intelligence could be a “threat to mankind” and spell the end of the human race; and the biggest movie releases included Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Hobbit: Battle of the Five ArmiesGuardians of the Galaxy, and Maleficent.

In news surrounding Rowling, the Harry Potter franchise, and MuggleNet, 2014 was a year filled with exciting announcements.

April 25 marked an interesting date in Potter history as the first day Rowling responded to a fan on Twitter. Rowling joined Twitter in 2009 but had sparsely tweeted over the years until this day, which would start a new trend of the author throwing out random facts about the Potter series, sparking a whole new canon debate among fans. She kicked it off with her reveal about which gems are in the Hufflepuff hourglass.

 

 

In May, Warner Bros. revealed the release date for the first film in the Fantastic Beasts series: November 18, 2016. There had been no further news regarding the cast or the plot aside from it taking place 70 years before Harry Potter would become famous in the wizarding world.

Throughout the summer, J.K. Rowling had been regularly updating Pottermore with Quidditch World Cup updates, which all came to a head with a final article in July. The story appeared in the Daily Prophet section as part of the gossip column and was written by Rita Skeeter herself. Containing typical Rita Skeeter speculations about the state of the trio, their lives, and those around them, as well as revealing that she would be publishing a biography about Dumbledore’s Army, the piece gave us a glimpse into Harry’s world.

But when word swept the campsite and stadium that a certain gang of infamous wizards (no longer the fresh-faced teenagers they were in their heyday, but nevertheless recognisable) had arrived for the final, excitement was beyond anything yet seen. As the crowd stampeded, tents were flattened and small children mown down. Fans from all corners of the globe stormed towards the area where members of Dumbledore’s Army were rumoured to have been sighted, desperate above all else for a glimpse of the man they still call the Chosen One.

You can read the full report by following this link to Pottermore and then scrolling down or choosing “Gossip Column” in the drop-down menu to go straight to Skeeter’s article: “Dumbledore’s Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final.”

In September, actress Emma Watson delivered an address, culminating in a standing ovation, at UN Headquarters in New York City, helping launch the UN Women campaign HeForShe, which calls for men to advocate for gender equality. After Emma’s appointment as Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women earlier in 2014, Emma visited Uruguay to deliver a 4,000-signature petition to parliament, calling for greater political participation by women.

In her speech, Emma addressed the role men play in the fight for gender equality, demanding change now since this was a global issue that the UN could help solve.

It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals. We should stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are. We can all be freer, and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.

See the entire speech in the video below:

 

 

Coming full circle, Rowling fully embraced Twitter once again and answered more fan questions. One of the interactions had fans in a frenzy for two solid days:

 

.@peruseproject See, now I’m tempted to post a riddle or an anagram. Must resist temptation… must work… — J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 5, 2014

 

But then, she actually went ahead and did it:

 

 

 

After two days, several hints, and the combined effort of fans all across the world, the solution was finally found:

 

 

Before signing off, Jo teased a little bit more about Newt and asked whether anyone wanted another riddle…

 

 

 

 

While it wasn’t a big reveal regarding the plot for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts film, it was definitely one of the more memorable interactions with a celebrity through social media.

In December, it was announced that The Cuckoo’s Calling and the following Cormoran Strike books would be adapted into a BBC series. Danny Cohen, Director of BBC, commented:

It’s a wonderful coup for BBC Television to be bringing J.K. Rowling’s latest books to the screen. With the rich character of Cormoran Strike at their heart, these dramas will be event television across the world.

In the same statement, the BBC also revealed that the much-anticipated adaptation of The Casual Vacancy would air on BBC One in February 2015.

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Aurelia Lieb

Aureo is the Standards & Procedures Coordinator for MuggleNet and a podcast host for SpeakBeasty. Occasionally writing magical articles, but mostly geeking out over new tech, fanfiction, and politics. If I am not glued to a computer, I will most likely be playing basketball or exploring the big, beautiful world.