TIME Books

How the Harry Potter Books Might Have Had Different Titles

Harry Potter
Warner Bros.

Harry Potter and the School of Magic, anyone?

Entertainment Weekly has an exclusive excerpt of Philip W. Errington’s new book, J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997–2013, and even the most ardent Potter fans will be surprised to learn a few things about the beloved series. In particular, what the books were almost called.

The first book, called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the U.K. almost went out in the U.S. as Harry Potter and the School of Magic. And thankfully Rowling dismissed that as a possibility. But other books in the series almost had other titles, too, like Harry Potter and the Death Eaters or Harry Potter and the Three Champions for Goblet of Fire.

Head to EW.com to read the entire excerpt, where you’ll learn more about how publishers transported top-secret manuscripts and how editors kept track of every spell in the Wizarding World.

TIME Love

Meet the Jewish Matchmaker of Your Mother’s Dreams

Erin Davis The logo for Shabbatness is a Challah-shaped heart.

Inspired by her grandmother's Holocaust survival, Erin Davis wants to set up Jewish singles — without anyone having to swipe left or right

I’m sitting in a Manhattan apartment watching the sun set with 11 of New York’s most eligible Jewish singles. It’s Friday night and the table is a traditional Shabbat setting—a Kiddush cup filled with red wine, freshly-blessed candles and challah bread that’s been ripped apart and passed around the table. The crowd is hushed as Erin Davis a 30-year-old, waif-like blond, our host for the night, announces it’s time for ice breakers, where we’ll read funny and ironic facts about each other and guess who it could be.

Later I’ll leave after arranging a date with an adorable man handpicked by Davis whom my mother would kvell—ahem, gush—over. This is “Shabatness,” an invite-only service that sets up young Jewish professionals over Shabbat dinners.

Davis is quite rare, a matchmaker who does things the artisanal way, setting up singles through dinner parties, not apps or algorithms. She started hosting at least one Shabbat dinner a month in 2013. “I felt there was a void in the Jewish community of Shabbat dinners in intimate homes,” she says. “ And I realized it was an ideal environment for singles to meet each other.”

She interviews singles and promises those selected for the dinner a potential partner, a night of unlimited alcohol and a meal, at her apartment or one of the guests’ who chooses to host, all for just $36—a division of 18, or chai in Hebrew, a lucky number in Judasim—The idea became a business when Davis applied and received a fellowship through PresenTense, a social entrepreneurial program with a focus on the Jewish community. Davis got access to mentors, donors and business classes to put her vision in place.

Labe Eden, a committee member at PresenTense who has attended a few Shabbatness dinners, says he was struck by Davis and her idea from the get go. He explains it as a more wholesome experience than dating at a bar. “You don’t have to necessarily impress anybody. You get to be you,” he says.

The idea could seem old school—but each dinner has its own special twist. One dinner was called Bourbon and Beatbox, where American Idol contestant and special guest Jay Stone beatboxed the Shema, a prayer from the Torah. One night it was Magic and Macarons, where a Jewish magician performed and macarons were served for dessert. Another called Shabbat in the Sky was held in a 52nd-floor penthouse in New York’s financial district. And her next one will feature only male homosexual couples.

Even with modern traditions, the core of the evening is Judaism. Davis’ inspiration comes from her own grandmother, Rose Goldberg, who survived the holocaust in hiding after being sent to the ghettos of Wladimir Wolynsk in Poland. “I used to think she was just this old-school sweet Polish lady,” Davis says. But after traveling Europe and researching the genocide, she felt it a strong pull toward preserving Jewish heritage and rituals.

And it’s a heritage that’s getting diluted. A 2013 PEW study revealed that the percentage of U.S. adults who say they are Jewish when asked about their religion has been cut by about half since the late 1950s. And more than half of Jewish Americans have married a non-Jewish spouse.

“The studies disturb me, and there are small things to do to keep the tradition alive but make it our own,” she says. And the recent rise of anti-Semitism across Europe is especially troubling to her, even thought it’s not prevalent in New York.

“It’s a huge passion of mine to take a direct role in stopping [anti-Semitism,]” she says. “A lot of it goes back to my grandma’s story. It’s inspired me to do whatever I can to continue the tradition and to modernize Shabbats to make them for the times today.

Davis incorporates bits of tradition into each dinner she hosts, whether it’s a group of modern Orthodox Jews or, what’s more common, a group of Secular ones. (At the dinner I attended, fewer than half the group could read Hebrew.)

There are small touches of Jewish customs like her logo, a heart-shaped Challah bread, and the business’ name, “Shabbatness.” Nes means miracle in Hebrew, Davis says. “So my mom said: ‘What about the miracle of Shabbat?’”

A handful of miracle couples have come out of her dinners—and one marriage is on the way. My own experience after Shabatness resulted in a handful of dates, a very classic courtship, and a typical falling out of disinterest by both parties—but it was a better match for me than any tech-assisted dating I’ve tried. Apps have taken dating and turned it into a giant game of hot-or-not, where choices are endless and real relationships are few and far between.

Sure, JDate is popular and apps like Tinder and Hinge are growing, but that has consequences.

“The larger a pool of potential dates you have, the more the paradox of choice causes people to freeze up,” says Ori Neidich, one of Davis’ PresenTense mentors. “Erin has tapped into a need, you still have to meet people in person no matter what because that kind of chemistry can never be imitated by technology.”

Old-school matchmaking is making inroads onto the scene for the crowd of those sick of swiping their phones to no end. Aside from Davis’ Shabbat model, there are others trying to reinvent the process. Train Spottings uses matchmakers, known as ‘conductors,’ who scope the New York City Subway scene for singles to match with clients. And San-Francisco-based Dating Ring, available in multiple cities, assigns users with personal matchmakers, only syncing up matches with permission from both users. There’s also Married at First Sight, a reality series about couples who agree to marry a complete stranger selected ‘scientifically.’

Patti Stanger, whose 8th season of Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker premiered in December thinks that Davis is on to something as “religion is the number one deal breaker” in relationships.

“You don’t just have to do it for Shabbat, there can be Christian dinners, Muslim dinners,” Stanger says. “There are ways to do this for any type of common interest.”

Davis has a long way to go before the company is truly ringing in a profit. Her goal is to make it a 501(c)(3), a nonprofit and tax-exempt organization similar to the Birthright Israel Foundation.

“I’ve seen the passion behind birthright donors and the sustenance of Jewish practice and the formation of Jewish couples,” Davis says.

Davis’ grandparents, who met in hiding from the Nazis, were married for more than 40 years until her grandfather’s death in 1990.

“As I got older and moved to New York, I started getting closer to [my grandmother,]” Davis says, noting that all Grandma Roza wants is for her children and their children to marry Jewish people and continue the traditions.

“There are seven grandkids and seven great grandkids, which she wants many more of as soon as possible!” Davis says, laughing. “My last Shabbatness was called “Shabubbe,” she explains her play on the word Bubbe, Yiddish for grandmother. The group of singles honored Grandma Roza’s 90th birthday by eating Polish food with pictures of her all around. “It was very sentimental.”

Read next: Watch a Passover-Themed A Cappella Parody of ‘Uptown Funk’

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TIME Books

The Descendants Writer Kaui Hart Hemmings: I Could Work With Shailene Woodley for the Rest of My Life

Penguin Young Readers

Kaui Hart Hemmings, bestselling author of The Descendants, will make her first foray into young adult literature this fall

Kaui Hart Hemmings is well known for her bestselling novel The Descendants, which was adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 2011. While George Clooney shined as the lead and narrator, it was Shailene Woodley who rose to fame from her role as Alex, an angst-filled teenager whose performance — including a memorable scene where she cried underwater — earned her a Golden Globe nomination. But Hemmings, who has always loved writing from the teenage perspective, is publishing her next novel Juniors under the young adult genre in September.

TIME talked to Hemmings about her new foray with teen literature, working with Woodley and recent comments about YA from Jonathan Franzen.

TIME: Why did you decide to write YA?

Kaui Hart Hemmings: I wrote a book of stories called House of Thieves and the bulk of it was told from teenagers’ [points of view.] Even now I consider it YA, even though it wasn’t sold that way. I just wanted to get back into that world of the teenage mind — everything is so immediate and there’s so much living in the present. I didn’t sit down and say, “I’m going to write it as a young adult.” I just wrote what felt true.

Did seeing Shailene Woodley’s character in The Descendants inspire you in any way?

It really did. It was so lovely to see on screen, because you can switch it to that character’s point of view. I couldn’t think of an actress who could have done it any better. She wasn’t a star back then, and it’s exciting that that’s where it started.

Could you see her playing the main character in this new book?

I could totally see her playing Lea, especially because Lea has some Hawaiian blood. And Shai is like a Hawaiian to me — she’s like a local. I think a little bit of Hawaii left with her, so I could definitely see her playing this character if she’s not too young. But someone like her who has that ability to act naturally, so you don’t feel like they’re acting at all. I wish Shailene would be in the movie version. I could work with her for the rest of my life — she’s incredible.

What will Juniors be about?

It’s about Lea, a junior in high school who is transferring from her San Francisco school to a huge private school on Oahu. She’s not only moving to a new school or a new place — she’s also moving because her mom got a part in a show sort of similar to Hawaii Five-0. So in addition to moving schools, circumstances have made it so that she and her mother are going to be moving into a cottage of very wealthy residents. The rest of the book sort of delves into female friendships, and [Lea] trying to find her identity in this new place.

What are some recent YA books you’ve liked that have inspired you?

I loved Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer. I loved We Were Liars — that was wonderfully done. I thought Meg Abbot’s The Fever was wonderful.

Do you think adults will also like Juniors?

I think adults will definitely like it, because the children are also seeing the adults — they’re watching their behaviors, they’re trying to figure out ways not to be them and figuring out what life has in store for them. That will be something [adults] recognize — the differences between the friendships they had when they were young and the way friendships are or can be now.

Jonathan Franzen recently made some controversial comments about YA. What do you think of how it’s been looked down upon as a genre?

Jonathan Franzen seems like the grumpiest guy and he doesn’t seem to like much of anything, so I really don’t care what he has to say. It’s useless to criticize things that people love and something that speaks to them. What’s great about teen fiction is that it’s all mixed up — there’s highbrow and lowbrow!

Juniors hits shelves and e-readers September 22, 2015, published under Putnam.

TIME Books

Exciting News for The Fault in Our Stars Fans

John Green Looking For Alaska

The same team who perfected Hazel and Gus on the big screen will tackle Looking for Alaska

The writing duo that adapted John Green’s beloved young adult novel The Fault in Our Stars is teaming up again to take on Green’s first, and arguably most beloved novel, Looking For Alaska.

Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber will write the screenplay for the story that follows Miles Halter’s experiences at prep school in Alabama, where he falls for an elusive and beautiful girl named Alaska. The book recently celebrated 10 years of publication with a special edition.

Weber and Neustadter are also behind the adaptation of Green’s Paper Towns, set to hit theaters in June. It was previously reported, and confirmed by Green, that filmmaker Sarah Polley would be writing and directing the Alaska adaption. Though Green confirmed the latest screenplay news, it remains unclear whether Polley will still direct the film.

Regardless, fans can trust that Neustadter and Weber will do the book justice. When adapting The Fault in Our Stars, Weber explained the mindset behind adapting a story so many treasured.

“Our attitude resembled the fans who thought this might get screwed up,” Weber said in 2013.

The team is also responsible for the original screenplay of 500 Days of Summer. The pair are also adapting the bestselling novels Where’d You go Bernadette and Me Before You.

TIME Television

Watch Downton Abbey Stars Sort Their Characters Into Hogwarts Houses

Downton Abbey Season 5 on MASTERPIECE on PBSPart EightSunday, February 22, 2015 at 9pm ETSomeone tries to derail Rose and Atticus’s happiness. Mrs. Patmore gets a surprise. Anna isin trouble. Robert has a revelation.(C) Nick Briggs/Carnival Films 2014 for MASTERPIECEThis image may be used only in the direct promotion of MASTERPIECE CLASSIC. No other rights are granted. All rights are reserved. Editorial use only. USE ON THIRD PARTY SITES SUCH AS FACEBOOK AND TWITTER IS NOT ALLOWED.
Nick Briggs—Carnival Films/Masterpiece/PBS

Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess is in Gryffindor because of course

As Downton Abbey‘s latest season comes to an end in the U.S., Masterpiece Classic has revealed the final episode was shot at an (unnamed) location from the Harry Potter films.

So a few cast members of the British period saga sorted the show’s beloved characters into Hogwarts houses. “I think Edith would probably be in Ravenclaw,” says Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith Crawley. “I know people are going to want to say Slytherin, but she’s not that bad!”

Both Carmichael and Hugh Bonneville, who plays the Earl of Grantham, agree that Sybil, the show’s beloved youngest sister whose death had many fans in tears, would be Gryffindor “through and through.”

“Violet would have to be Gryffindor,” Bonneville adds, an obvious choice considering the character is played Maggie Smith — who also played Head of Gryffindor House Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter movies.

Rob James Collier, who plays wily footman Thomas Barrow on the show, chimes in with his thoughts as well. And the three take it so seriously, it’s equal parts hilarious and magical. Where will Lady Mary end up? Find out by watching the full video at PBS.

TIME movies

Sorry, Haters: America Loved Lady Gaga at the Oscars

87th Annual Academy Awards - Show
Kevin Winter—Getty Images Lady Gaga performs onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on Feb. 22, 2015 in Hollywood, Calif.

The pop star goes from popular to praised

Some were skeptical when they heard Lady Gaga would be honoring the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music. After all, the star is better known for elaborate pop spectacles than for her vocal dexterity, and the movie’s songs demand a certain irony-free commitment it was unclear if Gaga could pull off.

But from the second she started singing a medley of songs from the 1965 Oscar-winning musical, it seened clear she was quite worthy of the honor. Even Julie Andrews, the star from the original film, praised Gaga for her performance.

And TIME readers agree, voting in a poll 97% to 3% that they loved the performance. Though Gaga’s performance seems to be one of the few uncontroversial aspects of an unpopular ceremony, it’s not too late to register your dismay, or hop on the Gaga bandwagon.

TIME Music

Lady Gaga’s Oscar Performance: Love It or Hate It?

Julie Andrews loved Lady Gaga's performance at the Oscars, but did you?

Fans were skeptical when they learned Lady Gaga would be honoring The Sound of Music at the Oscars with a medley of songs from the musical that’s set to celebrate its 50th anniversary next month.

Reactions on social media were mixed, though Julie Andrews, the film’s original star, seemed pleased with the variety of songs that included “The Sound of Music,” “My Favorite Things,” “Edelweiss,” and “Climb Every Mountain.”

Check out the performance below and cast your vote.

Read next: Lady Gaga’s Performance at the Oscars Could Redefine Her Career

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TIME Television

The True History Behind Downton Abbey’s Anti-Semitism Storyline

© Nick Briggs/Carnival Film and Television Limited 2014 for MASTERPIECE Atticus Aldridge and Lady Rose MacClare

“I am very alarmed by the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe," the show's creator tells TIME

Contains spoilers for the episode of Downton Abbey that aired in the U.S. on Feb. 22, 2015

The latest ritzy wedding on Downton Abbey was an unusual one—and not for reasons the show’s viewers are used to. There were none of the exhales of finally that came with Lady Mary and Matthew’s nuptials, and none of the raised eyebrows that accompanied Lady Sybil’s upstairs-downstairs marriage to Tom, the family’s chauffeur.

Lady Rose MacClare and Atticus Aldridge come from similar socioeconomic backgrounds but different religions—though they’ve changed their name and acquired a noble title, the Aldridges are Jewish—and neither family is thrilled about the engagement. In typical Downton fashion, when it comes to love there is, as the Dowager Countess puts it, always something: Despite the fact that Rose’s aunt Lady Grantham’s father was also Jewish, the match is still not fully accepted within the household. The show has a solid track record of incorporating real-life historical moments; the Aldridge family’s struggle to be accepted mirrors the experience that a wealthy Jewish-British family might have faced in the real 1920s, and the real Rothschild family gets a shout-out during the episode.

But, in this case, the true story behind the fiction doesn’t actually go back quite so far in time. Rather, for Julian Fellowes, the creator and sole writer of the Emmy-award winning show, the plot line is a familiar one.

“In my own youth I went out with a girl for some time from a very prominent, grand Jewish family,” Fellowes tells TIME. “And it was one of my only times when I have been considered ineligible and not a sort of desirable party.”

In the latest episode both families protest the wedding, with Atticus’s father Lord Sinderby calling Rose a shiksa—a derogatory Yiddish term meaning gentile woman—and Rose’s mother staging a scene that makes it look as though Atticus is cheating. Fellowes explains that he had wanted the show to have a romantic storyline in which the disapproval went both ways. The timing of this story airing in the U.S. amid a rise of anti-Semitism in Europe is simply coincidental. (Similarly coincidental was the tragic death of the Grantham family’s dog, who some theorized was killed off because she was named Isis; “[The connection with ISIS] never occurred to us until it appeared in the paper,” Fellowes says.)

Still, though the story was not planned in response to current events, Fellowes acknowledges that the issues raised by this particular Downton wedding aren’t a matter of history only. “The situation is not as simple as one had hoped and these emotions are still rampant,” he says. “All of this stuff is pretty fundamental and we are still looking for solutions to a lot of it. I think, at least I hope, it’s useful and helpful to be reminded that these divisions have had to be addressed and resolved since the beginning of history.”

Likewise, the characters’ fears of assimilation and anti-Semitism are worthy of empathy in any time period. “When [Lord Sinderby] explains why he doesn’t want to have non-Jewish grandchildren, you do—or I hope you do—slightly understand his point of view and you slightly sympathize,” Fellowes says.

This season, which has just one episode left for U.S. viewers, was the first to mention Hitler and the Nazis. In fact, “Nazi thugs” supposedly murdered Lady Edith’s now-deceased beau Michael Gregson. But, though the show is known for jumping ahead in time, Fellowes notes the show’s timeline won’t make it all the way to World War II, by which time George—Lady Mary’s son—would be old enough to fight on the front lines.

“George would have fought in that war because he was born in 1921, I think,” he says. “He would be called up by 1941 or 1942. We’d have to hope he’d get through it. Of course fewer people died in the Second World War [than the First] but people did die, and we have to just hope little George gets through.”

TIME celebrities

This Is What Dakota Johnson Took Home From the Fifty Shades of Grey Set

From the red room to the red carpet

Fifty Shades of Grey‘s leading lady Dakota Johnson isn’t nominated for an Oscar, but she’s already generating buzz on the red carpet. The actress, who’s a presenter at the 87th Academy Awards, arrived with her date for the night: mother Melanie Griffith, who’s already said she won’t be seeing her 25-year-old daughter’s steamy role on the big screen — as it would probably make both mother and daughter uncomfortable.

So it was good Griffith wasn’t within earshot of Johnson’s interview with Ryan Seacrest when the E! host asked her what she took home from the set of the film. “A flogger,” she said, then quickly followed it up with. “Can I say that on television?” Too late.

TIME

Why Every Woman Should Travel Alone

woman travel alone
Getty Images

Traveling solo doesn't always mean you'll be lonely

When I started telling people I was going to Mexico for a week, everybody’s first question was the same: Who are you going with? When I said I was going on my own, their reactions were all very similar. “Wow, that is very brave of you!” “Aren’t you scared?” “Will it be safe?” “Alone? I could never do that.”

It’s 2015. Women have made strides in politics, in business, in tech, in culture. But even those friends I considered forward-thinking questioned my decision to travel by myself.

My trip wasn’t even as courageous as it could have been—after all, I wasn’t truly by myself, at least not once I arrived in the small town of Puerto Morelos. I booked a weeklong yoga retreat through The Travel Yogi, a company that creates adventurous albeit relaxing yoga retreats all over the world. I didn’t have the typical concerns of finding a hostel or making friends, but still people who learned my plans seemed baffled.

As a single 26-year-old living in New York, I was sick of seeing my friends with significant others post photos of incredible journeys. And any time I tried to get a group together for an exotic trip, it was too difficult to nail down a date—and especially a price—that worked for everyone. So when I found this trip, where I’d stay in a beachside boutique hotel that held daily yoga classes and served delicious vegetarian food, I didn’t check with anyone, I just booked it.

I’ve been quite a champion at being independent: I live by myself in a studio, I’ll go to Broadway shows by myself, I’ll see movies at times that work for me even if they don’t work for others. But taking this leap felt much different. And my friends’ reactions made me feel like they felt bad for me, like I had no one to travel with.

“I think people are afraid of looking like a loser,” says Kristin Newman, a TV writer and author of the travel memoir What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding. “It’s the same how people don’t want to eat dinner alone. I think people are afraid of being lonely, of being scared, of looking like they didn’t have anybody.”

She’s right—a thousand questions weighed on me when I landed. Even after I met the people at my hotel who I’d be spending time with, I went to bed thinking, “What am I going to do with myself all week?”

Well, I’d be meeting locals and eating dollar vegan tacos, watching men chop open coconuts with machetes to make fresh coconut water, getting massages on the beach, snorkeling with barracudas and lobsters and eels, diving into freshwater caves, spotting spider monkeys in trees, reading in a rooftop hammock, sipping micheladas on a regular basis and making incredible new friends. Despite all my fears, I’ve never felt less alone than when I was traveling alone.

Jennifer Hoddevik, one of the Travel Yogi founders, says about 80 percent of the people who sign up for their trips are going solo and 85 percent of them are women. Hoddevik traveled by herself for years while working as a travel agent before she founded Travel Yogi and had plenty of experience with safety, a big concern among solo female travelers. She and her team scout the locations where retreats are held when they are traveling as women who are alone.

“We really do want people to pay attention to their intuition when traveling, but knowing what it’s like personally, at night in Reykjavik or Guayaquil, is something our travelers count on,” she says. “Safety when traveling solo is a fair concern, but traveling solo doesn’t always mean ‘alone’.”

Yoga, or any other active focus of a trip, will have you bonding with people instantly, which I found on my trip–specifically when we worked on partner poses in class. If your yoga or fitness studio doesn’t advertise its own trips, there are plenty of options to find more. Yogascapes, similar to The Travel Yogi, hosts a trove of wellness retreats that include yoga, surfing and, sometimes, even wine. Eat.Pray.Move puts works with a handful of retreats in places like Marrakesh, Croatia, Tuscany and Iceland, some of which include Give-Back retreats, where 10% of the profits are donated to charity. And, if you keep your eye on websites like Groupon and Gilt, you might even find a retreat offered at a discount.

Newman, whose travels include Patagonia, Buenos Aires, Israel, Iceland, and many others, says for safety, you have to be smart but also lucky. “I feel so safe everywhere I go now because I trust my instincts and because I think being able to maneuver all those places is such a powerful thing to give yourself as a woman.”

If being lonely while traveling solo is part of your concern, Newman has expert advice on how to handle. “Night life is the hard part,” she says. “Always sign up for a day tour to do something adventurey so you can meet a buddy on a day excursion.” She also advises against certain countries that can make you feel more devastated and secluded. “Italy is pretty rough both from the fact that people are going to be on a lot of romantic holidays and Italian men can be difficult to deal with.”

My own advice is to take the plunge. Once you land wherever you decide to go, you’ll feel empowered enough that all your concerns about feeling lonely will wash away. I channel the zen from my trip whenever I feel stressed out–and it’s true that wanderlust is contagious. I’ve already booked my next trip.

Read next: 10 Destinations That Got a Lot Cheaper to Visit in 2015

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