It was officially announced on March 28 that no new Harry Potter novel will be published in the year 2001. According to rumors, the fifth book—known by its working title, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix—is still in its early stages.
Will we see it in 2002? "Probably," said a spokesperson from Bloomsbury, the British company that publishes the books. But the publisher isn't making any promises: "Until we are given a manuscript, we can't guarantee it."
What's J. K. Up To, Anyway?
As fans will know, the end of March saw the release of two small books written by J. K. Rowling, Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The books are expected to raise about $36 million for the British charity Comic Relief.
Rowling is also busy preparing for the upcoming Potter movie. March saw the release of a 100-second preview on the official Harry Potter website. The dark, atmospheric clip shows tantalizing glimpses of key characters as well as the enchanted world of Hogwarts. The movie is due to hit theaters on November 16, 2001.
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Hands Off Harry!
Harry Potter fans were shocked to hear reports that the Harvest Assembly of God Church in western Pennsylvania had burned Harry Potter books. The church's minister, Reverend George Bender, called the books "supernatural." Bruce Springsteen albums, the Disney movie about Hercules, and other items deemed "ungodly" were also cast into flames.
Only 30 people watched the blaze, which was held in the church parking lot in late March. But word of the event soon reached national news sources. Reverend Bender is happy for the attention, saying, "It's good to have publicity."
Which school would you rather attend?
Just Pretend It's Hogwarts
A campaign in England called Boarding in the 21st Century hopes that the popularity of Harry Potter will boost enrollment in British boarding schools. Advocates of the schools believe that you don't need to have grown up in a cupboard to enjoy boarding. Says the campaign's director, Stuart Maxwell, "Harry Potter may not have had a happy home life but for most modern families, the choice of boarding enhances their relationships."
Meanwhile, the French government also hopes that love for Harry Potter will help boarding schools in France. One official from the government's ministry of education said about boarding schools, "Children who have read their Potter know they can be places for great friendship and solidarity." Enrollment has increased, and the government has announced a plan to improve facilities in boarding schools throughout the country.