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Feelings Behind the Flick: On Emotion and Magic

PATRONUS

Magic really isn’t just a simple “swish and flick” as Professor Flitwick so elegantly put it, and here's why. Read More »

“Alohomora!” Episode 99: “Extra Awkward” – now available!

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MuggleNet's global book club, "Alohomora!", jumps out of bed and into Harry's dreams on this week's episode. Join hosts Kat, Michael, and Eric, along with special guest Lindsay Cummings - author of "The Murder Complex" and "The Balance Keepers" - as they "inspect" Chapter 21 of "Order of the Phoenix", "The Eye of the Snake." Read More »

Bloomsbury relaunches “Harry Potter” site for new release

Bloomsbury

Have you heard about Bloomsbury's new "Harry Potter" website? Click here to read more about it! Read More »

Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is not only one of my favorite living authors, but of all authors I know of he is the best audiobook reader of his own work. Upon moving to a new town and getting a card at the local library, I chose his reading of this book as my first borrowing. It lent a spine-tingling chill to my daily driving, and towards the end it made me have to wipe my cheeks and blow my nose before getting out of the car. The narrator never tells us his name. He never says exactly whose funeral brings him back to the town where he grew up. Until he arrives at the shore of the pond beyond the farmhouse at the end of the lane he used to live on, he doesn’t even know what has brought him back here. And then he remembers it all. He remembers the opal miner who stole his father’s car and committed suicide in it. He remembers the eleven-year-old girl named Lettie Hemptstock who saved his life when he was seven. And he remembers the terrible, dangerous magic that almost tore the world apart before his boyish eyes. And then he forgets again. Certain ... Read More »

15 Times ‘Harry Potter’ Influenced the World We Live in Today

Muggle tested, Potter approved. Read More »

Becoming Harry Potter: Believing in your magic

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More often than not, if you’ve discovered your magic, you’ve probably encountered a moment of doubt. You think, "I can write, but I’m no J.K. Rowling." Or "I can paint, but I’ll never be Picasso." Or "I’m fairly good at Legos, but I’ll never be able to build the Empire State Building." And you are right - you won’t. But what you will do is something no one else will do. Read More »

Becoming Harry Potter: Discovering Your Magic #MyMuggleMagic

Harry_Potter_wand

Many of us long for Hagrid to bust down our door and tell us that we are able to do magic, that we belong in this place called Hogwarts, that we have rare gifts and abilities that connect us with a very special world. We want to discover that we are witches or wizards. But the thing is, we all have magic on the inside. Read More »

Robbie Reviews “The Enchantress Returns” by Chris Colfer

Collection spells are not just for debt collectors who want to put the hoodoo on a delinquent customer. In Chris Colfer’s Land of Stories series, they are the framework for a quest-like adventure through a magic world teeming with fairy-tale heroes and villains. The first book, The Wishing Spell, was all about a shopping list of magical items that twins Alex and Conner Bailey needed to assemble in order to get home to the “Other World” (namely, ours). It could only ever be used one more time, and the Evil Queen from Snow White wanted to get there first. Now in their second visit to the Land of Stories, Alex and Conner are trying to complete one collection spell, while the Enchantress from The Sleeping Beauty races to finish another. The twins’ goal is to create the Wand of Wonderment, whose wielder is invincible, so the Enchantress can be stopped. She, on the other hand, only wants to take over the whole fairy-tale world, and then get started on the Other World. Fans of cracked fairy tales will love this book’s mash-up of Rumpelstiltskin, the Little Mermaid, the Snow Queen, Jack and the Beanstalk, and many other stories, as the ... Read More »

Book Review: The Dragon’s Lair by Elizabeth Haydon

The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme, allegedly discovered in an archeological dig and reconstructed by an expert scholar, relate the experiences of a young explorer in a long-ago world full of magical races, objects, and stories. In this third book, following The Floating Island and The Thief Queen’s Daughter, Ven and his friends flee from the frying pan to the fire. By “frying pan” I mean the Inner Market, walled up inside the Gated City, walled up inside the seaport of Kingston, where the Thief Queen has just been cheated of her prey. By “fire” I mean, well, fire. A dragon’s fire. Tipped off that Felonia is out for revenge, and threatened by an unkindness of ravens (such an apt word), Ven collects his human friends Clem and Char, pickpocket extraordinaire Ida No, his merrow friend Amariel, and the quiet little Gwadd girl Saeli, in the back of a produce cart driven by a Lirin forester named Tuck. Together this diverse group will answer a riddle put by the River King, investigate the disappearance of Saeli’s people, intervene in a war brewing between the Lirin and Ven’s Nain folk, and—if they survive that far—ask a dragon named Scarnag why he ... Read More »

Book Review: Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

When Cole and his sixth-grader friends troop down the basement steps to view a spooky, Halloween house of horrors, they’re more worried about whether they’re too old to go trick-or-treating than about being kidnapped. But the basement is already nearly full of caged kids waiting to be forced down a ladder in the floor. Cole manages to hide until everybody has gone down the hole, wondering how anyone could think of getting away with kidnapping so many kids at once. Then he follows them. His plan is just to find out where the kids are being taken, so he can report back to the police. But the hole in the basement floor proves to be a portal to another world—and it’s a one-way trip. Cole arrives in the Outskirts. It’s a world where magic, or something like it, is possible. It’s a world where slavery is permitted. Cole’s friends have been captured by a team of slavers, and are being hauled to market. Some of them are to be delivered to the High King, who is interested in kids with Shaping potential; which is basically Outskirts lingo for magic. Before he can free them, Cole is betrayed, snatched, marked as ... Read More »

Book Review: The Thief Queen’s Daughter by Elizabeth Haydon

In The Floating Island, we first met Ven Polypheme, an unusual specimen of the ancient Nain race. Unlike the typical Nain, whose idea of a good time is to dig ore out of a mountain’s roots, Ven’s family lives in a human city and specializes in building ships. Unlike other members of his large, practical family, Ven has the itchy feet of an explorer. And unlike practically anyone else in known history, Ven has survived an attack by the Fire Pirates. By the opening of this sequel, Ven has found his way to a wayside inn staffed by orphaned children. His friends include the cook’s mate of a sailing ship, a pastor-in-training for a congregation of little people, a pickpocket named Ida No, and a quiet little Gwadd girl who shares her people’s power to make things grow. These friends are ready to join Ven on his next adventure, when young King Vandemere sends him to the thieves’ market to seek the origin of a mysterious, glowing stone. You see, Vandemere has hired Ven to be his eyes and ears in the wide world, reporting on any real magic he may find. Only now, on a day when everything goes ... Read More »

10 things you’ve been missing since the release of Deathly Hallows

Talk about post-Potter depression... Read More »

Book Review: Once Upon Stilettos by Shanna Swendson

It’s been quite a few years since I read Enchanted, Inc. because, frankly, I’m a guy and chick lit isn’t my thing. But it was such a funny and magical book that continuing with the series has often been on my mind. And now I find that the Katie Chandler series has grown to seven books. Based on the adventures of a Texas belle who finds adventure, romance, and professional fulfillment in New York, it combines the appeal of a Sex and the City spoof with the charm of a modern, urban fairy tale. After a rocky first year in the Big Apple, Katie has a great job that relies on her ability to see through magical deceptions and glamors. Her company is called Magic, Spells, and Illusions. It sells its wares to the wizards, fairies, sprites, and other magical beings who call New York home. As executive assistant to the CEO, she reports directly to Merlin himself. Every day she works with women who wear wings, a giantess, an ogre, a talking frog, gnomes, gargoyles, you name it. The fact that she sees them for what they are, and can spot traps and stealth attacks by magic, makes her ... Read More »

Book Review: The Wizard in the Tree by Lloyd Alexander

If Chocolate Frogs Famous Wizard Cards featured beloved wizards from the pages of literature, you know there would be a card each for J. K. Rowling’s Dumbledore, and Tolkien’s Gandalf, and Peter Beagle’s Schmendrick, and John Bellairs’ Prospero… I’ve already got quite a long list in mind. Now that I’ve read this brief book by the Newbery Medal and National Book Award winning author of the Prydain Chronicles, I have another name to add to that list: Arbican. He doesn’t do much magic in this book, and most of what he does goes wrong, and on first acquaintance he may seem a bit brusque and grumpy, not very lovable at all. But in the last few pages of this book, he earns his Chocolate Frog Card, wands down. In fact, for the sake of one paragraph, a single speech in which he finally sets straight what is and isn’t true about fairy tales, he’s a shoe-in. We first find Arbican—and by “we” I mean a young kitchen drudge named Mallory—glaring balefully out of the middle of a felled tree trunk. He’s been in there an awfully long time, due to a magical mishap that only released him when the tree’s ... Read More »

Book Review: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming

We’ve run into this problem before: First it was a novel. Then it was adapted, more successfully than faithfully, into a movie. Then came a film novelization, a novel designed to be more faithful to the movie than the movie was to the original novel. They did it to Pierre Boulle’s Planet of the Apes. More recently, it happened to Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon. It even happened to another book by Ian Fleming. And so your dilemma is this: which book do you buy or borrow, to read or give to your kids? Which counts as the classic? Far be it from me to condemn film moguls for milking every penny they can out of their film rights. If the industry didn’t make them sickeningly rich, they wouldn’t feel keen to take risks on big, exciting, new movies. But from a book lover’s point of view, it does make me a mite mopey to see the original author’s labor of love shunted into a side-line, overshadowed by the multimedia empire that grew out of it. It’s an especially melancholy matter to muse on in the case of this book, which Ian Fleming—creator of the 100-million-plus-copies-selling James Bond ... Read More »

Book Review: The Land of Stories (TLOS3) A Grimm Warning by Chris Colfer

The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning - buy it By Chris Colfer – website Recommended Ages 9+ Published today, Chris Colfer is back with the third instalment of his magical The Land of Stories series and this time fairytale history comes with a Grimm Warning! Now aged 14 and stuck living in the Otherworld, Conner Bailey must navigate across the globe to decipher a clue left from the world’s most famous storytellers. With a little help from some friends along the way, he must race through time and across dimensions to warn his twin sister Alex that the Fairy Kingdom is in grave danger. Full of surprises, secrets and sorcery, the series is perfect for fans of fairytales with a twist. This review contains minor spoilers. Colfer’s writing is hugely enjoyable, and his third outing as author of The Land of Stories is his best venture yet. With sharper descriptions, a pacy and original plot and a crash course in fairytale history, his readers will not be disappointed. TLOS3 is full of insight and keen eyed observations of the beautiful sites important to the brothers Grimm, through castle strewn Germany and a trip to London to do some literary digging; ... Read More »

Book Review: Wildwood by Colin Meloy

When I saw this book at the public library, I thought it had a striking design. This, including loads of quirky but beautiful illustrations, is the work of Carson Ellis, who has also decorated books by Lemony Snicket and Trenton Lee Stewart. As for the author, I thought his name sounded familiar. Only later, after I had brought the book home, did I connect it with the alternative-rock band The Decembrists, of which Colin Meloy is the lead singer and songwriter. If you’re familiar with his music, you may not be surprised to learn that hints of a political message and of a New Agey, earth-magic type of spirituality perfume the pages of his book. But it’s also a thrilling fantasy adventure featuring a couple of kids from St. Johns, Portland, Oregon, who find a strange, magical, perilous world hidden within a short bicycle ride of their city. One fine day, Prue McKeel is pedaling around town with her baby brother Mac in tow, when the sky is darkened by a murder of crows. Catching Mac up in their talons, they carry him away across the river, past the Industrial Waste, and into the Impassible Wilderness where Prue’s parents have ... Read More »

Book Review: Boys of Blur by N. D. Wilson

Random House sent me a copy of this latest book by the author of the 100 Cupboards and Ashtown Burials series. I thank the author and his wife for arranging it, and apologize for once again taking so long over such a short book. Released in April 2014, it is as Heather Wilson described it to me, a mash-up of “Beowulf + football + Florida swamps.” As befits a book based on an epic poem—the classic work of Old English literature, in case you slept through your high school literature class—N. D. Wilson’s retelling is filled with heroes and magic and dreadful monsters, features a seemingly invincible being of ancient and evil power, and has the ring of poetry flowing through its paragraphs of prose. Charlie Reynolds has come to the town of Taper, Florida, for the funeral of his stepfather’s high school football coach. Not far off the shore of Lake Okeechobee, the town is nestled among sugar cane fields and alligator-haunted swamps. It also has a lot of history for Charlie’s parents. Not only his stepfather, but also his abusive biological father came from there, played high school football together, went to college together, and both became professional ... Read More »

Diagon Alley Roundup – Part 1: Magic is in the air

Diagon Alley Roundup, Part 1: Magic is in the air

This last week, MuggleNet was down in Orlando, Florida, at Universal Orlando Resort for a VIP/media preview of the all-new Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley expansion. No doubt you've seen the trailers, the photos, the interviews, and the endless pictures of people standing on benches trying to get a glimpse - and all of that stuff is great. But what you can't see is the absolute best part of the park - the inherent magic. Read More »

Book Review: The Book of the Sword by A. J. Lake

Edmund is a prince with the power to see through the eyes of other people and animals, to communicate mind-to-mind. Elspeth is a sailor’s daughter who has formed an intimate bond with a magic sword. Together, they are either mankind’s only hope to defeat the evil god Loki, or Loki’s only hope to defeat mankind. Welcome to Book 2 of the Darkest Age trilogy! This middle book begins where the first left off, with Edmund and Elspeth dangling from the talons of a dragon named Torment. Wherever he is taking them, it will certainly be death to arrive in his claws. Luckily, the two children escape. But they continue working their way northward to the glacier-covered mountain where Loki is chained in the middle of a lake of fire. His bonds are weakening. He has been sending out his mind, and his minions, to do mischief that may lead to the breaking of his chains. If that happens, Loki will bring a swift and fiery vengeance on the world of men. Though the danger of moving forward seems overwhelming, Elspeth’s sword has a mind of its own. Come bandits or barbarians, come restless spirits or water-dwelling creatures, there is no ... Read More »