1) Why is this news? The past two days I've been seeing this story all over the internet, even on so-called "legitimate news" sites. What is wrong with people that someone talking about something that's not even in the book can cause such an uproar?
2) I'm sorry that the world has largely stopped talking about you, J.K., but that doesn't mean you get to start making news by just declaring things about the fiction you wrote. I have no problem with Dumbledore being gay, but for goodness sake, PUT IT IN THE FLIPPIN' BOOK. Don't say you're done with a series of books then come out with all sorts of "oh yeah, one more thing:" stuff to shake things up. Write another book. Sure, you'll be a hypocrite, but I'm OK with that. That's a lot better than someone who is quite obviously just trying to milk this for all its worth without actually expending any of the effort required to legitimately do so. Either write more books or shut the crap up. (I'd prefer the latter. Thanks.)
With the world hinging on the outcome of Harry Potter's saga, J.K. was in a position to do some really interesting things with the characters and the universe. Were there problems with the stories, the universe, the plotting, etc? Of course there were; there usually are. But with all eyes suddenly upon her, she could easily have explained away many of those problems and made the weary, irritated Potter fans like myself happy. For instance, I had really hoped that the reason behind the childishness of the magic universe (Hufflepuff Expellaramus Jiggledylicker!) was due to the fact that the battle Harry had been fighting was one with terminal cancer alone in a state-run orphanage, that creating a world inside his head where he is not only unique, but SPECIAL helped him to cope with reaality. Personifying his illness into someone he can fight, and BY GEORGE ensure that no other kids have to deal with it. (Seriously, it makes sense.) If not terminal cancer, at the very least awareness of the plights of unwanted orphans could have been raised, sparking thousands of children to pester parents into getting one of their very own. All that money wasted on stripey scarves, wands and Bertie Botts Beans could have been much better suited to making the lives of your own little orphan better -- not to mention it probably would have been cheaper. (I have, after all, purchased more than my share of those damned over-priced beans.) Sure, I respect the cool things J.K. did manage to put in, I just wonder how much better they could have been had they been written by someone else.
Sadly, it turns out that it's all silly childishness because that was the best she could come up with. Look, I enjoyed the Potter books quite a bit, but that didn't stop me from wishing that they were actually well-written and not something that I'd need to feel ashamed about reading. Compare the Potter books with something like Philip Pullman's fantastic His Dark Materials trilogy and they just look like something out of my 10th-grade creative writing class. (Full disclosure, I was not IN said creative writing class, I was a TA. This means that I got to read ALL the things that were written by the students.) If you enjoyed Harry Potter even remotely and would like to experience something similar, but that also touches upon many aspects of the human condition, faith, responsibility and subjugation -- and would like to be emotionally affected by them and made to think -- then you simply can't go wrong with His Dark Materials. (Plus, there's only 3 books, and they're already written. At at LEAST a 12th-grade level. And the tragically identifiable gay people in those are actually gay IN the stories.)
To re-iterate: it is really lame to write some books and then to go around talking about things that aren't actually in them. Unless you are George Lucas, you don't get to add stuff. Once people have stayed up all night drawing lightning bolts on their foreheads (and their children's foreheads) wearing stupid glasses and scarves to read the words you worked so hard to sell to them, then that's it. You had plenty of opportunity to put those things into the books where people who care about them (and could conceivably change their outlook on life accordingly as well. "Hmm, Dumbledore was a great guy, and HE was gay... maybe my gay neighbors are all right too.") could read them, but YOU DIDN'T. So either write another book and put anything you'd like to add into that one, or SHUT UP. Better yet, do both.
Can anyone explain to me why Stephen Fry reads the audiobooks over in the UK, while we Americans get Jim Dale -- a different British actor?
I mean, I can ALMOST understand wanting to have an American read it in the American version, but replacing one perfectly good Brit with another? Surely there is a reason for this illogical duplication of effort resulting in an inferior product? (No offense, Jim.)
Sure, Jim does neat voices, but STEPHEN FRY. The voice of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Short of reading it yourself, having Stephen Fry read a book to you is the pinnacle of book reading enjoyment.
Hopefully when the Harry Potter prequel and sequel serieses come out they'll save themselves a bunch of time and money and just give us Americans the Stephen Fry versions. I don't think I can sit through another 14 volumes knowing that there's a better product out there that just isn't available to me.
Never one to miss an opportunity to ogle Emma Watson's chest with impunity, I decided to do a little "forensic investigating" to see if there is any explanation that's a bit less sleazy. After many cries of "enhance!" were heard inside my office, I suddenly realized what happened.
See, I was having trouble getting the purportedly "before and after" images to line up properly. Things seemed skewed, shadows didn't seem to fall properly. Then I noticed the young bloke on the right's tie, and how it seemed to be at a completely different angle in the two shots.
"It's almost as if this shot was taken with two cameras at the same time," I said to myself. "Why on earth would they do that??" Then I noticed the overlayed text on the "after" image, and how it proclaimed that some of the movie would in fact be projected in 3-D iin the IMAX theaters.
Eureka! Knowing that 3-D movies are made by filming them with two cameras strategically placed a small distance apart, everything suddenly made sense.
What they're calling the "after" image is actually the shot captured by the camera that was closest to Emma, giving it a view to more of the "profile" of Emma's boob. The "before" image is the camera further away with a more "head-on" shot, making it look flatter.
Here it is as a 3-D anaglyph (that I just generated in The Gimp):
Hopefully you have some 3-D glasses around (mine say Spy-Kids 3D on them) to view this with, but I assure you that I've gotten to the bottom of it. There's no conspiracy here. No one is trying to enhance Emma (nor would the be able to if they tried; she is already a textbook example of perfection as-is), the poster designers just didn't realize that when they 2-D-ified the 3-D promotional poster (I haven't seen said poster, but I am deducing its existence based on my research), the old one used the "left" frame, and the new one used the "right" frame.
I'm sure that no one even thought of this, not realizing that two frames captured mere inches apart would cause any problems. Sadly, with thousands of internet fanboys nitpicking, it can make a huge difference.
Anyway, spread the word. No one is trying to pull anything, it's just an oversight.
Oh, and if you've seen the 3-D poster I'm postulating the existence of, I'd sure like to hear about it.
UPDATE: Some people don't quite understand, so I quickly drew up this top-view approximation of what's going on. It is not to scale.
Does that make more sense?
UPDATE: Apparently not... I thought the 3-D anaglyph would be self-explanatory, but sadly nobody actually owns the glasses required to see it. So I tried to draw a simple drawing explaining it, but that didn't do it either. See, in the drawing, the red/blue lines are meant to show what your eyes are doing when looking at a 3-D scene -- not the cameras. 3-D is all just trickery designed to fool our brains into seeing flat images the way we see objects in the real world. In the real world, each eye sees things from a slightly different perspective, and our brains calculate differences in those perspectives to tell us how far apart things are, how round, etc.
With a 3-D anaglyph, an entire scene is presented encoded in colors so that the special glasses can "filter" the view such that each eye is seeing a completely different view. But the magic really happens when the eyes start to focus at different parts of the picture. The brain is usually fairly convinced that what it's seeing is an actual scene, so your eyes begin to move about the image as they would in a normal everyday view of the world. If a 3-D image is made properly, you can focus your eyes on one element of the composition, then move to one "deeper" into the image, or "farther away" from the camera, never breaking your brain's sense of 3-D.
The 3-D anaglyph above is simply just the "before" image set as the left eye's view, and the "after" image set as the right. Nothing else was done to them, yet the 3-D encoding is perfectly realized when you put on the glasses. This doesn't happen on accident folks. My drawing above was demonstrating what your eyes would do if you'd look over at Emma's side of the composition in such a 3-D scene, to show that the closer eye would see her breast with more of a profile, and the further away one would be more head-on, thus explaining the difference in the curve of her breast and stomach. And if your eyes would behave that way, so would the two cameras.
I decided that perhaps a better explanation would be to try to take 2 similar shots myself. Now, I didn't take these at the same time, and I had to just sort of estimate the exact amount to shift the camera, so it isn't perfect -- but I think you'll get the idea. The subject of the photo was not altered in any way, the only differece between the two shots is shifting the camera about 2" laterally between taking them.
Obviously the effect is more pronounced due to the much smaller scale and the inaccurate camera movement, but I think this really concretes what I'm saying. If I had more scale action figures to play with -- and a lot more time -- I could set up the entire shot, but that's way more work than I'm prepared to put in.
"Harry Potter is a popular title among some of the detainee population," said the librarian, a civilian contractor identified only as "Lorie" who works at the prison camp for foreign terrorism suspects at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.
Lorie said the popularity of the best-selling Harry Potter books, which recount the adventures of a boy wizard as he triumphs over the powers of evil, was matched only by the prisoners' passion for Agatha Christie, some of whose murder mysteries are set in the Middle East.
"We have Harry Potter in four languages, English, French, Farsi and Russian. We have it on order in Arabic. We do not have books 5 and 6 in the series, at this time. We have had several detainees read the series," Lorie said in a written response to questions from Reuters.
No books 5 and 6?? That sounds like torture to me.
"Ahhhh, so you are enjoying Harry Potter, no? Tell us where Osama bin Laden is, and we'll let you find out who dies at the end of book 6..."
Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince is due to be published at midnight on Saturday and is expected to be the UK's best-selling adult hardback of the year.
I realize that plenty of adults are going to be reading the book, but last time I checked it is still categorized as a childrens book.
Pirated eBook update: There are a few .torrents floating around that purport to be the book, but they're actually bad fanfic novels. Who writes a 289 page Harry Potter fanfic? Hopefully a legit illegitimate copy will turn up soon after the actual release. Please don't make me lug that thing!