MuggleNet is a Harry Potter fansite founded by Emerson Spartz. The site is composed of news, editorials, and synopses of the Harry Potter books and films, an encyclopedia of the books, an IRC network, in which the fans of Harry Potter can discuss predictions and share thoughts, a discussion forum, and media such as screenshots, theatrical trailers, and book covers. There is also a fan fiction section, a weekly caption contest, and other occasional contests and polls. On August 9, 2005, it launched a podcast, dubbed MuggleCast, as well as its own line of clothing, toy wands, and other merchandise. In 2006, MuggleNet released a best-selling reference book on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in the series. As of 2008, MuggleNet is owned by Spartz, Inc., an Indiana corporation registered by Emerson Spartz in 2007. On May 29, 2010, MuggleNet 2.0, an updated version of the site, went live. On April 1, 2014, MuggleNet 3.0 was launched to the public.
|Type of business||For-profit domestic corporation|
|Available in||English (U.S.)|
|Headquarters||LaPorte, Indiana, United States|
|Key people||Emerson Spartz|
|Alexa rank||20,000 (approx. as of August 2011[update])|
(Incorporated in 2007)
Emerson Spartz serves as the founder, owner, and webmaster of MuggleNet. He founded the site at the age of twelve a month after reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. He has also founded websites such as OMG Facts, GivesMeHope, and LoveGivesMeHope through his company, Spartz Media.
Author and corporate relationsEdit
MuggleNet benefits from friendly relations with J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, and the producers of the films. She has praised MuggleNet on her website and has awarded it her Fan Site Award.
Rowling recounts on her website that she occasionally visits the site and sometimes reads the comments left by visitors although never comments herself. The author also stated that she visited the site's chat room and was snubbed when she anonymously joined in a conversation about Harry Potter theories.
In July 2005, Rowling invited Spartz and Melissa Anelli, of The Leaky Cauldron, to Edinburgh, Scotland, for an interview at her home on the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. A transcript of the interview was posted on MuggleNet. Most recently, J.K. Rowling mentioned MuggleNet through the interactive Harry Potter website Pottermore in September 2013, saying how proud she was to own the key to La Porte, Indiana, hometown of MuggleNet founder Emerson Spartz.
Warner Bros., the producers of the Harry Potter movies, regularly sent MuggleNet stills taken from the upcoming movies before they were released. The studio also provided MuggleNet staff with advance views of the new official website designs, as well as included staff in a video conference to discuss the Harry Potter theme park at Universal Orlando.
Founded in April 2012 by Noah Fried and Kat Miller, Alohomora! aims to rekindle the excitement of when the Harry Potter series was new, fresh, and unknown. Its slogan, "Open the Dumbledore", refers to the nature of the podcast, which is to open doors and thoughts that had previously been locked or untouched. It focuses on the original text of the books and takes segments or passages and analyzes them to a depth that has never been done before.
At first, the initiative included not only forums, visitor essays (“Quibbles”), and thousands of daily debates but also a podcast. The six lead hosts, Beth Warsaw, Katy Cartee Haile, Michael Harle, Kat Miller, Alison Siggard, and Rosie Morris, release shows every other week to a global audience of tens of thousands. A highlight of the show is that the hosts are joined by a fan guest on almost every episode – occasionally a leading fandom guest such as Lev Grossman, Steve Vander Ark, or Warwick Davis. The podcast itself includes in-depth analysis of chapters from the Harry Potter series, often paired with analysis of material from J.K. Rowling's Pottermore, a reading and discussion of listener comments, and various special features created by the hosts. Once a book of the series is finished, the podcast hosts celebrate with a live show and global viewing of the corresponding Warner Bros. film adaptation.
Since its launch, Alohomora! at one time had a store, at which various merchandise could be purchased (most directly related to theories spawned on the podcast), as well as an iPhone and Android app that included extra content directly from the hosts.
After finishing the first reread of the Harry Potter books, the show now releases biweekly episodes alternating between topics suggested by listeners and revisits of specific chapters from the Potter books in no particular order.
MuggleCast launched in August 2005 when podcasts were still up and coming. Inspired by the passion within the Harry Potter community, MuggleNet staff members Andrew Sims, Ben Schoen, and Kevin Steck created a short podcast to discuss some of the recent Harry Potter news and the just-released Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The reception from MuggleNet's audience was great, so the team expanded the shows with a wealth of new co-hosts and content. MuggleCast recorded what it announced would be its final regular episode on August 26, 2013. However, on December 27, 2014, it was announced that they would be returning to regular episodes.
Reading, Writing, RowlingEdit
Hosted by Katy McDaniel, a history professor at Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio, and the Hogwarts Professor, John Granger, Reading, Writing, Rowling had its first episode on August 14, 2017. This monthly podcast is dedicated to discussing literary and other scholarly topics surrounding the Harry Potter books, as well as J.K. Rowling's other works. Each episode focuses on a different topic and features a guest who is a prominent researcher, teacher, scholar, or writer.
On December 20, 2015, MuggleNet premiered its new podcast, SpeakBeasty, a podcast entirely dedicated to the Fantastic Beasts film series. The biweekly podcast is hosted by Michael Harle, Eleanor Harrison-Dengate, Amy Hogan, Megan Kelly, Aurelia Lieb, Shannen Michaelson, Lizzie Sudlow, and Ariel Taranski.
The show has since grown to host special guests, including actors Dan Fogler, who portrays Jacob Kowalski in the films, and Mitchell Thornton, who also appears in the series. SpeakBeasty hosted a live show at New York Comic Con in 2016 and attended the premiere of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in New York City on November 10, 2016.
MuggleNet Academia was a podcast hosted and produced by former MuggleNet managing editor Keith Hawk and the Hogwarts Professor, John Granger, revolving around a particular aspect of literature found within the Harry Potter book series.
The idea for the show was presented to the staff of MuggleNet by co-host John Granger to revive the "Potter Pundit" section that was originally held on several episodes of PotterCast, the Leaky Cauldron website's podcast. However, MuggleNet Academia created an entire show dedicated to one theoretical discussion topic as opposed to just a segment.
Each show featured a special guest speaker, usually a professor or other academic specialist, as well as a student guest, usually an undergraduate, graduate student, or recent graduate who excels in the field of each particular lesson.
The first episode was released in April 2012, and the show has quickly climbed to be the second highest educational podcast on iTunes. An iOS and Amazon mobile app were also available, providing access to all of the normal episodes as well as periodic bonus material, typically in the format of an interview of a college or university professor who teaches a particular Harry Potter-themed course at their school.
In January 2017, MuggleNet Academia was discontinued following Hawk's departure from the site. Its last episode was released December 12, 2016.
MuggleNet Fan Fiction's AudioFictionsEdit
MuggleNet Fan Fiction's AudioFictions ran for nearly six years with a total of 200 episodes (January 3, 2009-December 28, 2014). It was founded by MuggleNet Fan Fiction (MNFF) staff member Rosie Morris (known by her MNFF username, Roxy Black). The podcast's goal was to bring Harry Potter fan fiction to fans around the globe in a new way, with recorded readings by the AudioFictions readers, known as “MerMuggles” (a portmanteau of "Merpeople" and "Muggle", in reference to the podcast's operations being centered in the MuggleNet Fan Fiction Beta Board's Black Lake thread). The original team, led by Morris, consisted of Clare Mansfield, Equinox Chick, Jessie Lights, kiley, MuggleNet staff member Michael Harle (known by his MNFF username, Lupinpatronus), Nixemus (who composed the show's original music), Schmerg_the_Impaler, Weasleykitty, and Nixemus. Other MerMuggles who joined the show later include coolh5000, Eratosthenese, Faerie Dust, Finest Firewhisky, sajomn, and type-n-shadow.
The podcast strove to ensure that, as its slogan states, "the magic lives beyond the books". The show's readers brought to life the stories written by Harry Potter fans and posted to MuggleNet Fan Fiction, with original, character-based interstitials to interlock the fictions. The show invited listeners to participate in creating its content by nominating fictions and participating in contests.
AudioFictions experienced a low-key revision in early 2010, with Nixemus stepping into the role of project manager. Nixemus also created and filled the new host role and brought the show closer to its most recent format. In late 2010, Harle was promoted to project manager and host, adding new MerMuggle readers Apollonious, Chadadada17, and theGreatOm to the lineup. Harle also created the editor role for AudioFictions, bringing Granger7, pinkdude64, and stevenrankin onto the team. Under Harle's direction, and following a lengthy absence and revision, AudioFictions was quietly relaunched in 2011 with a new format and release schedule. This format was, again, modified before the show's major relaunch in 2012.
|Type of business||Non-profit organization|
Type of site
|Available in||English (US)|
|Launched||July 1, 2003|
|Current status||Closed August 1, 2016|
MuggleNet Interactive (often shortened to MNI) was a website spin-off of MuggleNet. It was an online forum where users could interact with each other in a Hogwarts-style setting. In addition to the general chat areas, the site was known for its diverse offerings, including the roleplaying area, the blog-style Chamber of Secrets, the high-speed trivia games of the Quidditch pitch, and the professor-led classes taught in a Socratic method. Semiannual House Cup competitions encouraged House unity and often allowed members to compete for honors in contests with essays, graphics, or other media. The MNI community also celebrated many holidays, as well as the shared birthday of Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling, with a "ball" in the otherwise closed Great Hall. Many site secrets were hidden throughout MNI's pages and were often sought for their Galleon rewards, but speaking of them on the site itself was forbidden. The many distinct components of the site contributed to the diverse community that it attracted.
The site was originally formed from a personality quiz made in 2000, which was later adapted for the fuller version of the site as a Sorting Hat. Over the years, sections such as a Diagon Alley shopping area, a dueling game, Flourish and Blotts fan fiction library, quizzes, Quidditch, and other subsections outside of the forum structure were incorporated into the site. The staff hierarchy was originally modeled after the faculty structure at Hogwarts with a Headmaster/Headmistress as the main site administrator overseeing moderating prefects and class-leading professors, but over time, non-canon positions, such as programmers, artists, and quiz masters, were added in addition to other Harry Potter-themed appointments.
Due to lack of server space and low traffic volumes, the site was shut down on August 1, 2016, after 13 years of operation.
MuggleNet Fan FictionEdit
|Type of business||Non-profit organization|
Type of site
|Available in||English (US)|
|Launched||November 14, 2004|
On November 14, 2004, MuggleNet opened its fan fiction subsite, MuggleNet Fan Fiction (often shortened to MNFF), following in the footsteps of other Potter-specific fan fiction sites.
In 2006, the site began its annual Quick Silver Quill Awards, in which authors and readers could nominate their favorite fictions from various categories to receive recognition.
Its forums house discussion groups aimed at improving reading and writing skills, as well as community building within the membership of the site. Popular areas include the Susan Bones Book Club (SBBC), where members are encouraged to share and discuss their favorite fictions from the site; Society for the Promotion of Evaluations for Writers (SPEW), where members can improve their critical review writing skills; the Three Broomsticks (TTB), where members can partake in writing challenges; and the Bannermakers Association and Dean's Corner, where members can stretch their artistic muscles and create banners and fan art that complement the site's fictions.
MuggleNet Fan Fiction also hosts its own version of Hogwarts within its forums, offering classes to new authors who wish to learn more about writing. These are run by members of the site who volunteer to teach a subject that interests them. The classes are very popular, with more authors taking part each term (run in trimesters). The classes are run in levels: first years, OWLs, and NEWTs, getting progressively more in-depth and allowing authors to choose at which level they wish to participate.
Launched during the Christmas holidays of 2008, MuggleSpace was a fan-based social network designed to provide a live online community for Harry Potter fans all over the world. The site contained a number of features, including a live group and private chat (monitored and participated in frequently by site moderators); blogs where users could share their personal creations and comment on the works of others such as novels, poems, fan fiction, or their own thoughts on the Potter world; and groups where users actively role-played or showed support for their favorite fandoms, causes, or fellow members. Other features included photos, videos, and discussion forums. For many, the site was a sanctuary for discussing problems and connecting with like-minded people. Unfortunately, the site was forced to close its doors in November 2013 due to lack of participation.
In 2006, in advance of the arrival of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, five MuggleNet staff members (Andy Gordon, Jamie Lawrence, Ben Schoen, Emerson Spartz, and Gretchen Stull) co-authored the reference book What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Falls in Love, and How Will the Adventure Finally End, which was a published collection of unofficial fan predictions. As of July 21, 2007, the book has sold 335,000 copies and reached #2 on the New York Times Children's Bestseller List, where it spent six months. Spartz and his co-authors launched a marketing campaign in June 2007 to promote their work. This included a tour of the United States where they stopped at many bookstores and discussed their various theories and revelations.
In 2009, Emerson Spartz and Ben Schoen penned another book, MuggleNet.com's Harry Potter Should Have Died: Controversial Views from the #1 Fan Site. A cross-country book tour took place in the summer of 2009.
In March 2009, MuggleNet Fan Fiction released a self-help guide to creative writing entitled Sharpen Your Quill. The book offers advice on writing plot, characterization, poetry, specific genres, and other useful information, including grammar and fluent style. As a self-published book, the release made little revenue, but the proceeds were used to fund AudioFictions, the site's former audiobook-style podcast.
MuggleNetLive! 2015: Expo PatronumEdit
On October 31, 2014, the site announced MuggleNet Live! 2015: Expo Patronum. It was described as
the place where fans from around the globe can experience their favorite Harry Potter alumni through interaction and discussion with a focused lens on the future, uniting cast and crew in a unique and exciting way.
The convention was held on April 18, 2015, in London, England, and featured several special guests from the films, including Afshan Azad (Padma Patil), Jon Campling (unnamed Death Eater), Jessie Cave (Lavender Brown), Warwick Davis (Professor Filius Flitwick & Griphook), Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas), Rohan Gotobed (young Sirius Black), wand combat choreographer Paul Harris, Robbie Jarvis (teenage James Potter), Georgina Leonidas (Katie Bell), Harry Melling (Dudley Dursley), graphic design team MinaLima (Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima), Nick Moran (Scabior), Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley), Anna Shaffer (Romilda Vane), Nick Shirm (Zacharias Smith), Natalia Tena (Nymphadora Tonks), and art director Gary Tomkins.
MuggleNet Live! 2017: Nineteen Years LaterEdit
On September 1, 2017, MuggleNet hosted MuggleNet Live! 2017: Nineteen Years Later at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida to celebrate the date on which Harry Potter would have sent his son Albus Severus to Hogwarts for the first time, according to the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The event began with panels of actors from the Potter films. Special guests included Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley), Christian Coulson (Tom Marvolo Riddle), Luke Youngblood (Lee Jordan), Sean Biggerstaff (Oliver Wood), Ellie Darcey-Alden (young Lily Evans), Rohan Gotobed (young Sirius Black), and Ryan Turner (Hugo Weasley).
After the panels, attendees were invited to walk the streets of the Diagon Alley section of the theme park after hours. Guests could ride Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and the Hogwarts Express, eat at the Leaky Cauldron, and freely interact with the actors the throughout the evening. Attendees also enjoyed the Olivanders wand experience and watched performances of Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees and the Tales of Beedle the Bard. The event was sponsored by Funko, Tervis Tumbler, Candlewick Press, Hogwarts Running Club, and Insight Editions.
In popular cultureEdit
In October 2007, Jimmy Kimmel Live! did a parody of Emerson Spartz's recent interview on the "Geraldo" segment of Fox News. Both the original interview and the parody discussed J.K. Rowling's recent outing of Headmaster of Hogwarts Albus Dumbledore.
MuggleNet was featured on an episode of UK game show The Chase on January 14, 2014. The question asked was "MuggleNet.com is a website dedicated to what fictional character?" The contestant chose to pass rather than answer the question.
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