["Hedwig's Theme" plays]
Andrew: Because JK Rowling has announced Pottermore, this is MuggleCast Episode 232 for June 23rd, 2011.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: This week's episode of MuggleCast is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet's leading provider of audiobooks, with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
And by Hypable.com, a MuggleNet for the rest of the fandoms in the world and created by MuggleNet staff. Visit Hypable.com for thorough and up-to-the-minute coverage around The Hunger Games, Glee, Doctor Who, The Hobbit, and many more. That's Hypable.com, H-Y-P-A-B-L-E dot com.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We are here live. It's very early.
Andrew: I'm Andrew Sims. This is MuggleCast Live coming at you at 3:56 AM, West Coast time.
Andrew: Ben is just barely awake, sitting right in front of me. Good morning, Ben.
Ben: Good morning, Andrew. I feel rather zombie like here.
Andrew: I'm feeling quite fresh. I just ate some cantaloupe and egg white.
Ben: I know.
Andrew: I'm about to start some coffee.
Ben: I smelled the egg white when I walked in.
Andrew: Just wait until I start that coffee, baby. Also, on Skype, Micah and Eric. Hello gentlemen.
Andrew: And we all...
Andrew: We are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of Pottermore. This is something we found out about, about a week ago, I think. Ben, what are your guesses? We have yet to hear your guesses. What is Pottermore?
Ben: What is Pottermore? I mean, I think the timing of this is pretty obvious.
Andrew: Really? What's so obvious?
Ben: Well, I mean, the last movie is about to come out so people are going to be looking for something to cope with, all the movies being over, because the vibe I've been getting is a lot of people are pretty sad about the movies coming to an end.
Andrew: Yeah. So do you think this is going to be a supplement to the films or the books, or what?
Ben: I think it's going to be a supplement to the books.
Ben: Because I think after - you know with the Lexicon trials, Steve Vander Ark?
Andrew: Oh, yes.
Ben: JK Rowling was like, "I'm emotionally exhausted, I can't do an encyclopedia, I don't have the energy to do that anymore because he's already done something so close to that."
Ben: And maybe this is something that's more creative and along...
Ben: ...those same lines.
Andrew: All right, fair enough. There have been a lot of rumors going around. People have been breaking down - people are thinking the word "more" is an anagram for something. They think it stands for something.
Eric: Well, funny enough, Andrew, I looked up "more" in the dictionary and tried to come up with - I looked up ten definitions of "more" trying to discern if any of them had anything to do with something that could be related to Potter. So yeah, I'm on that bandwagon too. I'm looking it up. I smell conspiracy.
Andrew: So here's what's going to be happening: at 7:00 AM on the dot, East Coast time, we will be playing the audio. I have the YouTube channel up. We are ready to go. It's just a matter of - we're about ninety seconds away if we believe this owl countdown to be accurate. And from what I understand the video will be embed-able, so we will be able to post it on MuggleNet and [clears throat] Hypable as well. And... [laughs]
Ben: It's a video.
Andrew: It's a video.
Andrew: Yeah. And we're going to be able to watch.
Eric: Can I just say, I hope these owls stay after the video. I hope they come back. I hope they don't disappear for good. I am quite fond of these owls.
Micah: Are you going to clean up after them?
Eric: Well - okay, if I could take one of them home, though, I would take the one on the lower right, like almost the lower, lower right one but the one just above him, and he just bobs his head like a bobble head when you - the other owls shuffle and clean themselves off but this guy, the one I'm looking at, just bobs his head. It's quite like A Night at the Roxbury to Haddaway's "What Is Love?" He just - [singing] "Do do do do do do do."
Andrew: 3,200 people right now, joining us this morning. We thank everybody for getting up this early. I did not think that many people would be up, but hey, it's a JK Rowling announcement, so...
Andrew: It's party time, baby.
Eric: My video says what, twenty-five seconds? That's crazy.
Andrew: We're about twenty seconds away now. We will be bringing you the video the moment it's available.
Eric: What's going to happen? Is this page going to just dissolve into a video?
Andrew: Okay! The countdown says zero seconds, so here we go.
Eric: Fade to white.
Andrew: This is it. And here is the announcement.
[Audio clip plays]
JK Rowling: Thirteen years after the first Harry Potter book was published, I'm still astonished and delighted by the response the stories met. Even though the seventh book and the eighth film have now been completed, I'm still receiving hundreds of letters every week, and Harry's fans remain as enthusiastic and inventive as ever. So I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you, because no author could have asked for a more wonderful, diverse, and loyal readership. I'm thrilled to say that I am now in a position to give you something unique: an online reading experience unlike any other. It's called Pottermore. It's the same story, with a few crucial additions, the most important one is you. Just as the experience of reading requires that the imaginations of the author and reader work together to create the story, so Pottermore will be built in part by you, the reader. The digital generation will be able to enjoy a safe, unique online reading experience built around the Harry Potter books. Pottermore will be the place where fans of any age can share, participate in, and rediscover the stories. It will also be the exclusive place to purchase digital audiobooks, and for the first time, e-books of the Harry Potter series. I'll be joining in too, because I will be sharing additional information I've been hoarding for years about the world of Harry Potter. Pottermore is open to everyone from October, but a lucky few can enter early and help shape the experience. Simply, follow the owl. Good luck.
[Audio clip ends]
Andrew: So there you go. The announcement was just made, right on the dot. That was actually pretty well done. Beautiful video. Jo looked great, by the way.
Eric: She looked great. The CGI looked great. Or magic. Should I just say "magic"? The magic looked great.
Andrew: Micah, what do you think?
Micah: So in part, it is an encyclopedia.
Andrew: Yes. I think basically that's what she just announced. She said there's going to be a variety of new material available.
Eric: And material which she has been hoarding. [laughs]
Andrew: She has been hoarding over the years, yes. It'll be available, she said, in the fall. It opens up in October.
Micah: Well, this is good.
Eric: And she said a lucky few...
Micah: We know hoarding is a problem, so...
Micah: ...it's good that she's getting rid of all this.
Eric: She's going to attack it.
Eric: So, a lucky few will be able to enter early? Follow the owl? It's a shadow.
Andrew: Where does it say that?
Eric: That's what she said.
Andrew: Oh, a few people will...
Eric: Yes, that's what she said.
Andrew: Okay, so there will also be what appears to be a Beta period.
Ben: Yeah, but she said to follow the owl. I was just like...
Andrew: Well go, Ben! Go!
Ben: I know!
Andrew: Go follow the owl!
Ben: That's exactly what I was thinking...
Ben: ...as I was watching that. I was like, "Well, where is the owl going?"
Ben: I don't have a computer this morning because if I trip over the firewire cable we're going to lose the video. But I just want to say that this is absolutely incredible. That was a very awesome announcement and I feel like this shifts the online Harry Potter landscape to a certain degree.
Andrew: How so? How so?
Ben: Because she's coming in and saying this is going to be the destination for all future generations to learn about Harry Potter. Online, anyways.
Andrew: The video was very well done. We saw a variety - the paper from the books kind of came to life and made shapes. Did anybody else notice that? That was really cool.
Eric: That was what I was referring to as the CGI or the magic.
Andrew: Oh. And Jo looked beautiful, by the way.
Eric: She did, she did.
Ben: What about the other announcements, the e-books? I think that's pretty cool.
Andrew: Those are going to be available in the fall as well.
Eric: Now, what did she mean that we're going to be able to add to the books? What did she mean by that?
Andrew: I guess by the new material.
Eric: But she's - well, she said it was more of an interactive - much like something I've studied before in class was the relationship between the author and the readers both together, working together, forming meaning. And she said something about that early on, where we're like, it's going to be a new experience where we almost participate in writing the - rewriting the Harry Potter books. That's what it sounded like at first. Can we replay the video?
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. Let's listen again. There was obviously a lot to say and, quite frankly, I was just staring at Jo.
Eric: Yeah, me too.
Andrew: I didn't know what - what did she say? Somebody tell me.
[Andrew cues the audio clip]
Andrew: Here we go.
Andrew: Fullscreen, Ben?
[Audio clip plays again]
Andrew: So from what I understand - people in the chat are saying you have to click the owl to sort of head into this thing where you can then sign up for registration, I believe. Is that right?
Eric: Let's see if it's...
Andrew: Oh, here we go. Okay, so on Pottermore.com you can watch the video and you can also submit your e-mail. "Leave us your e-mail address now and we'll notify you when registration has opened."
Ben: I don't think that's "following the owl."
Andrew: Well, I think on Pottermore.com it kind of...
Ben: That's "following the owl"?
Eric: Well, you know how on YouTube...
Andrew: Ben, how could you possibly follow a virtual owl?
Eric: Hang on.
Eric: Do you know how on YouTube, you can click certain - there's like embedded in the video - like I clicked the owl, but it just paused the video. I must be a Muggle. It's not letting me in.
Andrew: Something - well, just go to Pottermore.com and it has all the answers.
Andrew: The e-mail submission does seem to be down. That's probably just because it is so busy right now with people trying to sign up. That is honestly not too big of a surprise.
Ben: Andrew, did you get submitted?
Andrew: No, I can't submit my e-mail.
Before we continue with today's episode of MuggleCast, we'd like to remind you that this episode is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet's leading provider of audiobooks, with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature and featuring audio versions of many New York Times Bestsellers. For listeners of this podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their great service. One audiobook to consider is The Hunger Games, the first in a trilogy of the same name. The series is hotter than ever right now because filming for the movie adaptation recently got underway. It's one book and film series you are not going to want to miss. So, for a free audiobook of your choice, such as The Hunger Games, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. Again, that's AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
Andrew: Oh wait, breaking news. Breaking news just coming into the MuggleCast studio. We have a statement on JK Rowing's Pottermore announcement from Scholastic. Scholastic says:
"Scholastic is proud to be a key partner in the Pottermore project, including connecting teachers and parents from our school and online channels directly to e-book sales via Pottermore, and providing marketing and promotion support. We're excited about the new content from JK Rowling to go along with the books. This will surely inspire more interest in the series and bring a whole new generation of readers to 'Harry Potter'. We're pleased to support Pottermore because we know the power of the 'Harry Potter' books to turn kids into lifelong readers, and we believe every child should experience 'Harry Potter' - whether in e-books or in print. In addition, Scholastic will receive a royalty on sales of the US editions of the e-books."
Andrew: So if you'll notice on Pottermore's website there is something interesting there. It says in the top right - and very honestly, this is very un-JK Rowling to me. It says "Sony" in the top right of Pottermore.com.
Eric: [laughs] Okay.
Andrew: So - yeah, that's very - you know how in the Wizarding World theme park they're like, "No Pepsi because this is a complete experience. We don't want anything from the Muggle world"? This is kind of like not following that rule.
Eric: I think they probably had something to do with the technology that's going to be released or utilized here.
Andrew: People are telling me to click the "Sony" and I'm trying to click it but again, the website is loading very slow right now.
Eric: I can click it. It goes back to...
Micah: Do you want me to read it?
Andrew: Okay, here - I got it. I got it, yeah. "Pottermore is an online reading experience. It will also be the exclusive place to purchase e-books." Oh okay, note from Jo:
"I am delighted that Sony have chosen to support Pottermore and look forward to continuing to develop the experience in collaboration with them."
Eric: That's what I'm saying.
Andrew: We have a breaking news update as well: JK Rowling has issued her seventh tweet...
Andrew: ...in the two years that she has had Twitter.
Andrew: It says - and it's kind of a play on her previous tweets. It says:
"I can confirm this is also the real me..."
And she links to her YouTube channel.
"You can follow @pottermore for all the details."
Eric: But she didn't say what the pen and paper were.
Andrew: Well, I think this is absolutely pen and paper. She said, "New material."
Ben: Yeah, there is a lot of paperwork.
Andrew: Yeah, there is a lot of paperwork here. And she's got to make those deals with Sony. [laughs] No, but a lot of new material. Does anyone want to guess what kind of new material - the level of new material we may possibly see?
Eric: No. I don't...
Ben: I mean, maybe some background - [laughs] you could hear a pin drop in here for a second!
Andrew: [laughs] I know!
Ben: It is early!
Andrew: What is it, 4:00 AM?
Ben: [laughs] Yeah.
Ben: I think some more of the backstory, obviously. Some more details about the characters. There are probably some questions that she's been asked a lot that she hasn't answered that people want to know. In the video, she said it's built in part by you, so I'm not sure what that means. I think that means there's this whole community aspect to it, so you interact with each other, because she said it would be a good place for people who like Harry Potter to share, participate, and rediscover the series.
Andrew: Micah, what ideas do you have about this?
Micah: No, I agree with what Ben said. I mean, there are so many different elements to this. And I'm kind of surprised. I mean, she seemed so hesitant with e-books prior to this point and now all of a sudden she's embracing them. What do you think about that?
Andrew: Well, e-books are moving - e-books are the future. That's - I'm not saying they're going to replace books but that's an important aspect, and if she wants to reach out to people who own Kindles and are only using Kindles, that's the way to do it. And she can sell them for cheap.
Eric: Yeah. I'm not going to be critical, I'm going to say the Internet is probably the fastest way to reach everybody. So, there's no better way to do it, especially something like this.
Andrew: So is everybody excited? I'm looking at the chat right now. There's a lot of reactions. I noticed somebody earlier did say this is not as exciting as a book announcement.
Eric: [laughs] Because that's what specifically they said, right? That it's not a Harry Potter book but it's just as exciting as a Harry Potter?
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