TIME

J.K. Rowling Finally Gives Harry Potter Fans What They Want

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'Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire' Warner Brothers

Rowling finds herself 'unnerved' at those who romanticize Draco Malfoy

After days of pretty underwhelming pieces of new ‘content’ on fansite Pottermore, J.K. Rowling has finally delivered. In her latest piece in the 12 Days of Christmas series, Rowling reveals new information about the backstory of Draco Malfoy. In the new story, which is at least 10 times longer than previous content in the series, fans will learn about Draco’s upbringing and why he became the bully Potter fans loved to hate.

“Draco was raised in an atmosphere of regret that the Dark Lord has not succeeded in taking command of the wizarding community,” Rowling writes, revealing that before meeting Harry on the Hogwarts Express, Draco, his family and other ex-Death Eaters thought Harry could be “another, and better, Voldemort.” Draco’s hatred for Harry was spurred on by the realization that the one who lived was nothing like Voldermort, and due to Potter’s budding friendship with Ron Weasley. And the rest, as Potter superfans know, is history.

But what happened next? Draco married Astoria Greengass (Rowling revealed this to TIME in 2007 when she was named to the TIME 100), who may have helped shape the bitter Slytherin into a better man. “As Astoria refused to raise their grandson Scorpius in the belief that Muggles were scum, family gatherings were fraught with tension,” Rowling writes.

The story is followed up with a few paragraphs of Rowling’s thoughts on the character, which makes for the funniest bit of all. While she reveals she does pity him (“just as I feel sorry for Dudley”), she is not a fan of those who came to fancy him.

“I have often had cause to remark on how unnerved I have been by the number of girls who fell for this particular fictional character (although I do not discount the appeal of Tom Felton, who plays Draco brilliantly in the films and, ironically, is about the nicest person you will ever meet,” Rowling writes. “Draco has all the dark glamour of the anti-hero; girls are very apt to romanticise such people. All of this left me in the unenviable position of pouring cold common sense on ardent readers’ daydreams, as I told them, rather severely, that Draco was not concealing a heart of gold under all that sneering.”

She backtracks a bit, explaining there is “some unextinguished good at the heart of Draco,” which, of course, fans knew all along. There are still two more days of Rowling’s promised Christmas Pottermore content. Could we get a taste of Harry’s future tomorrow? If only Professor Trewlaney were around to tell us.

TIME Books

J.K. Rowling Debunks Severus Snape Rumor

'Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince'
'Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince' Warner Brothers

The author also reveals what was in some of her earliest Harry Potter notes

Things are getting festive at Pottermore, with today’s new piece of content in J.K. Rowling’s series of new Harry Potter tales. Today, solve the (potentially easiest) riddle and you’ll be granted access inside Professor Slughorn’s exclusive holiday party, complete with house elves and mistletoe and all the mince pie you could ever want. The riddle reads as such:

With vampires and authors and a gatecrashing Malfoy, Slughorn’s Christmas party is one for (almost) all to enjoy. Much to the surprise of fans, friends and the rest, Which Loony Ravenclaw does Harry bring as a guest?

Even a Squib could solve this riddle! The answer is Luna Lovegood, obviously. Fans can click through the interactive festivities to find a new piece of content from Rowling about vampires, a species that don’t come up very often in the books. Rowling reveals that wasn’t the plan all along. According to her early notes, she toyed with the idea of a vampire teacher called Trocar, named for a “sharply pointed shaft inserted into arteries or cavities to extract bodily fluids.” Alas, Trocar was edited off somewhere along the line.

Read more J.K. Rowling Reveals the Only Harry Potter Character She Feels Guilty About Killing

But that didn’t stop fans from speculating about another character who could be a vampire: Severus Snape. “While it is true that he has an unhealthy pallor, and is sometimes described as looking like a large bat in his long black coat, he never actually turns into a bat,” Rowling writes. “We meet him outside in the castle by daylight, and no corpses with puncture marks in their necks ever turn up at Hogwarts.”

It might strike Potter superfans odd, of course, that others would continue speculating about Snape long after learning the truth about him. Especially because if he was a vampire, Snape could never be around someone after using his spell sectumsempra and not react to all the blood. Didn’t you guys read Twilight?

Red next: J. K. Rowling, Please Stop Talking About Harry Potter

TIME

Harry Potter Fans Grumble at J.K. Rowling Over Today’s Pottermore ‘Story’

JK Rowling Hosts Fundraising Event For Charity 'Lumos'
Joanne "JK" Rowling attends a charity evening hosted by herself to raise funds for 'Lumos' a charity helping to reunite children in care with their families in Eastern Europe at Warner Bros Studios in London on Nov. 9, 2013. Danny E. Martindale—Getty Images

Pottermore was pretty much Potter-less today

Harry Potter fans were disappointed to learn that J.K. Rowling has merely posted a riddle and no new story this morning, after purportedly promising to post new content on fansite Pottermore for the 12 days leading up to Christmas.

Today’s riddle is a simple one:

In an orphanage in London where Tom Riddle resides; A suited wizard visits him, it’s quite a surprise. After showing the boy magical tricks of all sorts, Which future Headmaster offers him a place at Hogwarts?

Entering ‘Professor Dumbledore’ will grant fans access to a popular scene from the Half Blood Prince, when Dumbledore uses a pensieve, a magical object used to review memories, back to the moment he recruited Voldemort, neé Tom Riddle, for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Alas, solving the riddle will only get you as far as one can get through Pensieve, which means no interacting with the characters and, in this case, no new content. You’ll get a look at a young Tom Riddle, an unknown woman and Dumbledore and Harry studying the scene.

Fans have apparently gotten quite greedy; eager for new content, the comments include rants like “I would rather wait ages for amazing new material than get filler so frequently” to “What is the purpose of this? It is a waste of time” and even “Seriously? That’s it? What happened to the Pottermore excitement? It’s like they aren’t putting any effort in anymore.”

The Daily Telegraph‘s Alice Vincent thinks that “if Pottermore members are entering [the scene] through a Pensieve, like Harry and Dumbledore are, then they can’t interact with the memory. So why would we be able to interact with it, if Harry can’t?”

She has a great point. Perhaps tomorrow we’ll have something to make of the memory.

TIME

Play With Potions in J.K. Rowling’s Third Day of Christmas ‘Story’

The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival - Day 2
J K Rowling poses on Day 2 of The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival on Oct. 6, 2012 in Cheltenham, England. David Levenson—Getty Images

Hermione's hair isn't reacting well to what's coming out of her cauldron

On the third day of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series ahead of Christmas, we take a trip to potions class with Harry and co. Sadly, Malfoy is there as well. Today’s riddle goes as such:

“His potions lessons are full of interesting things. With students keen to see what each day will bring. With his large moustache and rotund shape, who teaches this class after Professor Snape.”

“Slughorn” is the answer. But, like we learned from Rowling’s first riddle in the series, his full name won’t do the trick. Only “Professor Slughorn” will get you inside Harry and Ron’s double Potions class where they’re mixing up Felix Felicis, also known as liquid luck. The cauldrons and books in the classroom reveal extra surprises.

MORE: Reading Harry Potter Provides Clues to Brain Activity

It’s still a bit unclear what the famed author is actually doing with this roll out. Pottermore fans were promised new Potter content, but it seems scarce three days in. Perhaps Christmas will bring a more satisfying surprise. There’s still plenty of time for mischief to be managed.

Read next: J.K. Rowling’s Christmas Present to You Is More Harry Potter Stories

TIME Books

J. K. Rowling’s New Harry Potter ‘Story’ Is Better Than Mistletoe

The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival - Day 2
J K Rowling poses on Day 2 of The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival on Oct. 6, 2012 in Cheltenham, England. David Levenson—Getty Images

On the second day of Christmas your favorite author gives to you ... a bottle of love potion

On the second day of J. K. Rowling’s new Harry Potter 12 Days of Christmas ‘series,’ the best selling author plays Cupid. Well, if you can solve the riddle to unlock the day’s story anyway.

If one thing is clear about this ‘series,’ it’s that it’s not for casual fans. While the riddle answers have been fairly simple, those who’ve read the books only once might not know the answer immediately. Today’s goes as such:

Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes is a marvellous place, Full of jokes and potions by the box and the case. The premises are stuffed with people, ready to pop, But on what magical street can you find this fun shop?

Diagon Alley, obviously. Solve the riddle and head inside, where you’ll see Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny surrounded by balloons and toys you can pop and spin. There’s one measly paragraph about the shop, but hit the right balloon and you’ll be granted a love potion. Well, it is Christmas.

Seeing as this “story” takes place during the Half Blood Prince, before the final battle at Hogwarts, several key characters have yet to be killed off by Death Eaters. Watch out for Lavender Brown, Ron.

TIME movies

Watch Shailene Woodley in the Sexy New Insurgent Trailer

Woodley reunites with her The Fault In Our Stars co-star Ansel Elgort

The first full trailer for the Divergent sequel is here. And, unlike its teaser trailer from earlier this year, it does not disappoint.

The latest young adult dystopian franchise, based on the books by Veronica Roth, introduces the war zone, complete with a scary Kate Winslet as Jeanine, a sexy Shailene Woodley as Tris, and her once on-screen boyfriend Ansel Elgort as her brother Caleb. There’s plenty of fire, train jumping and a lot of tattoos. The second book in the Divergent series follows Tris and her band of outsiders through a post-apocalyptic Chicago as they try to escape the strict society they were born into.

The film hits theaters March 20, 2015.

TIME Books

J.K. Rowling’s New Harry Potter Story Is Quite a Tease

The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival - Day 2
J K Rowling poses on Day 2 of The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival on Oct. 6, 2012 in Cheltenham, England. David Levenson—Getty Images

Fans must solve a riddle to unlock the first story

The first of J.K. Rowling’s new Harry Potter 12 Days of Christmas ‘series’ has landed — but the author didn’t make it easy to get to.

Having surprised users of fansite Pottermore with the news that she’d be posting new Potter material in each of the 12 days leading up to Christmas eve, Rowling published the first on Friday. But eager readers had to first solve (what else?) a riddle.

In a house on Spinner’s End, a meeting takes place, a mother begs help for her son, tears on her face. Agreeing to help, though he doesn’t know how. Which potions master performs an unbreakable vow?

MORE: Reading Harry Potter Provides Clues to Brain Activity

The answer, of course, is Hogwarts potions master Severus Snape. But in order to solve the riddle, you must type it in as Professor Snape, not Severus (or Snivellus). Always so specific, that J.K.

The story itself returns us to the town of Cokeworth, where Petunia (as in Aunt Petunia, who raised and essentially tormented Harry until he headed to Hogwarts), her sister Lily (Harry’s mother), and Severus Snape all grew up. Readers will remember Cokeworth as the place where the Dursleys attempted to escape the flood of Hogwarts admission letters sent to Harry in the first book. It’s also where Petunia felt shunned after learning she didn’t have the magical powers her sister and Snape did.

MORE: J.K. Rowling Reveals Her Dream Job If She Weren’t A Writer

Fans are only treated to three paragraphs about Cokeworth, with a hint about the unbreakable vow that Snape made when he promised to protect Draco Malfoy at the start of The Half Blood Prince. The ‘story’ is quite short in comparison to other bits of new Potter content fans got this year. But Rowling readers shouldn’t be dismayed: Something magical is sure to come along tomorrow.

Read next: J.K. Rowling’s Christmas Present to You Is More Harry Potter Stories

TIME celebrities

6 Things John Green and Taylor Swift Could Have Discussed on the Phone

What are the bestselling author and pop star talking about?

YA literature and pop superstardom collided Monday when John Green and pop (née country) sensation Taylor Swift synced up over the phone. Green took to Twitter, from the set of the film adaptation of his book Paper Towns, to let his 3 million followers know about the exchange.

It’s no secret that the two are fans of each other’s work. When Swift’s album 1989 was released, Green blogged about listening to it when he should have been paying attention in meetings. Swift responded that he was her favorite author. And so began the social media love fest. But what could the two be discussing? Here are some theories:

He’s asking her to contribute to the Paper Towns soundtrack. The film starring Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne will hit theaters in June of 2015. Acts like British crooner Ed Sheeran and rising pop star Charli XCX contributed to The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack this year, but perhaps Green is hoping to bring some even bigger guns on board this time — like a certain TIME magazine cover star.

They could be interviewing each other. Magazines sometimes put celebrities together to see what happens. That’s basically the whole premise of Interview magazine. The New York Times also just sat down with authors Gillian Flynn and Cheryl Strayed to talk about their books’ film adaptations. Maybe Swift and Green hopped on a call to share their insights on teenagers? With his book sales and her record sales, they certainly know how to tap into America’s youth.

They’re discussing movie roles. Swift likes a challenge, so after dominating the music industry, maybe she’s setting her sights on Hollywood. Paramount has signed actress and filmmaker Sarah Polley to adapt Green’s Looking for Alaska, but no one has been cast as the blonde, beautiful and enigmatic Alaska yet. Or perhaps Green was so impressed with Swift’s brief appearance in The Giver that he’s asking her to make a different cameo in the film.

Taylor wants another friend. The star is famous for making new besties and entertaining them in style. Tavi Gevinson, Emma Stone, Lena Dunham, Selena Gomez, Karlie Koss and even Kendrick Lamar are in Swift’s social circle. So given their mutual admiration, why not add Green to the list? Maybe she invited him over to make pie.

We made apple pie because America.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

They’re talking about Serial. The Serial podcast is the most popular podcast in the history of podcasts, so why couldn’t the author and the pop singer be among its 1.5 million fans? Maybe Swift can’t stop thinking about the call from Nisha. Maybe, like reporter Sarah Koenig, Green is dwelling on the selective use of phone call records in the murder case. Most important of all, what’s a Best Buy? What makes its Buy the Best?

He’s trying to get her back on Spotify. Perhaps Green has discovered that, since 1989 came out he can’t get work done listening to anything else. Green can likely afford Swift’s music, but maybe he’s concerned about the next generation of novelists who are unable to experience the joys of crafting great fiction while “Wildest Dreams” plays softly in the background. “But Taylor, Beyoncé just put her last album on Spotify, why can’t you do the same? Think of the children!” Green pleads. “Oh John,” Swift laughs. “Would you like it if people could read your books for free?”

Read next: Taylor Swift Defends Albums as ‘Art’ at the American Music Awards

TIME Basketball

NBA’s Ryan Anderson Reveals Struggle to Overcome Girlfriend Gia Allemand’s Suicide

New Orleans Pelicans power forward Ryan Anderson (poses for a portrait at NBA basketball media day in Metairie, La on Sept. 30, 2013.
New Orleans Pelicans power forward Ryan Anderson (poses for a portrait at NBA basketball media day in Metairie, La on Sept. 30, 2013. Gerald Herbert—AP

"I think it’s really important for me to talk about it"

NBA player Ryan Anderson has revealed his struggle to come to terms with the suicide of his girlfriend, “Bachelor” contestant Gia Allemand, in a new interview with Sports Illustrated.

The New Orleans Pelicans forward found Allemand, 29, hanging from a vacuum-cleaner cord “so tight around her neck that at first he couldn’t loosen it” in August 2013. She died a short while later.

Anderson, 26, fell into despair after she was taken off life support. He returned to basketball in September.

Anderson took to Twitter after an outpouring of support from readers.

Read the article at SI.com.

Read next: Why the Funniest People Are Sometimes the Saddest

TIME movies

Watch the No-Nudity New Teaser for 50 Shades of Grey

The film, based on E.L. James' novel, releases Valentine's Day 2015

Actor Jamie Dornan dropped a truth bomb this week when he revealed that he will not appear fully nude as businessman-by-day-bedroom-S&M-dabbler-by-night Christian Grey in the much-anticipated film adaptation of bestseller 50 Shades of Grey.

“There were contracts in place that said that viewers wouldn’t be seeing my, um… yeah, my todger,” Dornan said in a Guardian interview. Dornan stars as the sexy corporate suit who seduces a young journalist and teaches her many a thing about life in the bedroom… and beyond.

While the first trailer had many excited–and some confused–this new teaser is pretty much just that: a complete tease. What we do find out: There will be suits. And wine. In a glass.

The movie will star Dakota Johnson as Steele and Jamie Dornan (of ABC’s Once Upon a Time) as Grey, with the novel’s author E.L. James working as a producer for the hotly anticipated film.

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