Escape The Room – Virtual Hogwarts Edition

“Escape the Room” games have been all the rage recently, especially in corporate circles looking for fun team building exercises. Now with the whole COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changing things, one has to wonder how the ‘escape’ trend will fair in the ‘pandemic world order’.

A librarian in Pennsylvania took matters into his own hands, using of all things Google Docs, to create a virtual Harry Potter ‘Escape the Room: Hogwarts Edition’. No confirmation if they got an approval from JK Rowling herself. :P

I went through some of the game and found it fun and entertaining. Will need to give it my full attention to see how it works through to the end. This also makes me think I may need to fire up the Harry Potter movies and/or books sometime soon as this is making me realize how much I miss the Wizarding World!

Butterbeer Cupcakes

Amy over at AmyBites recently took a trip to the Orlando’s Universal Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter and took a taste of  a real life version of butterbeer, the nectar like beverage served up to the wizards by Madame Rosmerta at the Three Broomsticks.

And from that taste, she got motivated to create some Butterbeer Cupcakes. Click through to see more and grab the recipe.  Looks very yummy, even if a Muggle created it. :P

via amyBITES

Get Your Harry Potter Geek On

The new (and old) trailers for the upcoming Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince movie are up at Apple’s site.  The new trailer looks great.  I was watching the HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone this evening on TV and it’s amazing how much the three main characters have changed and grown in the 8 years since that movie was produced.  I’m already looking ahead to see how they will do “Deathly Hallows” on the big screen.

A Harry Potter Summer

Harry Potter fans unite. This July will be an all Harry Potter month as both the 7th (and highly anticipated) book in the series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be released, and the 5th movie in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will hit the theaters.

I am actually looking forward to the movie adaptation of Phoenix as so far, it was my favorite book of the series. I will be very interested to see how they adapt it to the big screen.

As for the 7th book, the rumors and innuendo abound about what is going to happen to Harry and the gang. The strong rumor I’ve heard is that Harry will be killed off, probably by Voldemort.

To keep up with the rumors and all the Harry Potter news, you should check out MuggleNet or The Leaky Cauldron and their associated podcasts.

Update: Official Trailer for Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix via YouTube

Fantasy Land

WARNING: Some Harry Potter spoilers below. Proceed at your own risk.

I found “Prince” to be one of my favorites of the Potter series. I think it did a great job of bringing together several plot lines into a very cohesive story. Without giving too much away, the various lessons that Harry had with Dumbledore were very interesting and did a great deal to address several questions regarding the relationship between Harry and Voldemort. I did think the lecturing from Dumbledore was a little long at times, but overall it added immensely to the story. It was also interesting the way Rowling was able to tie in the normal teen angst of “puppy love” into the story and make it work. And the end of “Prince” was amazing, with Dumbledore & Harry’s trip to the cave as they attempted to acquire one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes. I am convinced that the initials R.A.B in the note they found in the cave are that of Regilus Black, Sirius’s brother and former death eater. I theorized that as soon as I read it. And I had my theory validated on from The Leaky Cauldron’s PotterCast podcast…we shall see. I am very much looking forward to the last book to see how this wonderful series ends.

And to add to the Harry hysteria, the next movie installment of the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is coming out in November!! The pre-movie buzz I am hearing is that it is an amazing movie and may be the best of the series so far.

It should be a very fantasy driven Christmas movie season with Goblet coming out in November, followed by the movie adaptation of the classic C.S. Lewis book The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Looking forward to both movies!!

May the Real Lord Voldemort Please Stand Up

On a recent post on The Movie Blog, it is noted that Ralph Fiennes has been cast as Lord Voldemort! in the Harry Potter movie series. I must agree with The Movie Blog that this is a fine choice for this role. He is diverse enough of an actor and intimidating enough to effectively pull this role off for the Harry Potter series. I am already looking forward to the next movie!

Harry Potter

Last night I went to see an exclusive pre-release screening of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”…a benefit of working at AOL which is owned by Time Warner, which owns Warner Brothers, which distributes the Harry Potter series. The third movie installment of the wildly popular book series was directed by Alfonso Cuaron, a well respected but fairly unknown director.

Well, I must say that “Azkaban” is a wonderful movie and a significant step up compared to the previous two installments (which I very much enjoyed). The pace of the movie was quick and smooth, and Cuaron did an outstanding job of transitioning between scenes and plot lines. He did an effective job of focusing on the key elements of the storyline, rather than trying to have the movie go exactly by the book. I think he was effective in making the not-so-bold assumtion that the majority of the people seeing the movie will have either already read the book (if not the entire series to date) and/or seen the previous two releases and therefore, are well versed in the basics of the story (that Harry lives with his muggle relatives, that he hates living there, that he goes off to school for another year, etc.). Yet, with that said, I do think he could have put a bit more time on the movie to build out some of the storylines a bit more. I got the feeling that the critical scene in this book (you know what it is – rats and warewolves) happened far too early in the movie. All in all, a fine effort and a movie well in keeping with my favorite installment of the series to date.

Order of the Phoenix

I finished the fifth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Overall, it was an extremely long book and was a bit tedious…however, the ending is fantastic and the last three/four chapters made up for the rest of the book. It definitely will make for great reading as the series winds down with years 6 and 7!