MuggleNet

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MuggleNet
Mugglenet.jpg
Type For-profit domestic corporation
Headquarters LaPorte, Indiana, USA
Key people Emerson Spartz
Owner Emerson Spartz[1]
Website www.mugglenet.com
Alexa rank 20,000 (approx. as of August 2011)[2]
Registration Optional
Available in English (U.S.)
Launched October 1999[3]
(Incorporated in 2007)

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.[1] On May 29, 2010, MuggleNet 2.0, an updated version of the site, went live.[4] On April 1, 2014, MuggleNet 3.0 was launched to the public.[5]

Founder[edit]

Main article: Emerson Spartz

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.[6]

Author and corporate relations[edit]

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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9] A transcript of the interview was posted on MuggleNet.[10] 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.[11]

Warner Bros., the producers of the Harry Potter movies, regularly sends MuggleNet stills taken from the upcoming movies before they are released. The studio also provided MuggleNet staff with advance views of the new official website designs, as well as including staff in a video conference to discuss the Harry Potter theme park at Universal Orlando.

Podcasts[edit]

MuggleNet Academia[edit]

MuggleNet Academia is a podcast that is hosted and produced by MuggleNet managing editor Keith Hawk and the Hogwarts Professor, John Granger. Each podcast is referred to as a lesson since the show revolves around a particular aspect of literature found within the Harry Potter book series by author J.K. Rowling.

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, in the MuggleNet Academia version, the entire show is dedicated to one theoretical discussion topic versus just a segment.

Each show features a special guest speaker, usually a professor or other specialist. A professional linguist, a judge, and an author have also appeared as special guests of the show, and future shows will continue to add to the variety of topics and lessons learned. Each show also features a student guest, which is typically an undergraduate or graduate student or recent graduate who excels in the field of each particular lesson.

The first lesson was released in April 2012, and the show has quickly climbed to be the second highest educational podcast on iTunes.[12] An iOS and Amazon mobile app are also available, which provide access to all of the normal lessons 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.

Alohomora![edit]

Founded in April 2012, Alohomora! aims to rekindle the excitement of when the Harry Potter series was new, fresh, and unknown.[13] Their slogan, "Open the Dumbledore", refers to the nature of the project, which is to open doors and thoughts that had previously been locked or untouched.[14] 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.

The initiative includes not only forums, visitor essays (“Quibbles”), and thousands of daily debates but also a podcast. The six lead hosts, Kat Miller, Caleb Graves, Michael Harle, Rosie Morris, Laura Reilly, and Eric Scull, release shows every other week to a global audience of tens of thousands.[15] The best part of the show is that every episode the hosts are joined by a fan guest – occasionally a leading fandom guest such as Ameer Idreis,[16]Lev Grossman,[17] Steve Vander Ark,[18] or Warwick Davis.[19] 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 Brothers film adaptation.[20]

Since its launch, Alohomora! has grown to include a store, at which various merchandise can be purchased (most directly related to theories spawned on the podcast), as well as an iPhone and Android app that includes extra content directly from the hosts.[21]

MuggleCast[edit]

MuggleCast launched in August 2005 when podcasts were still up and coming.[22] 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 its final regular episode on August 26, 2013.[23] However, they still release occasional episodes when a major event happens in the fandom.

MuggleNet Fan Fiction's AudioFictions[edit]

MuggleNet Fan Fiction’s AudioFictions podcast strives to ensure that, as its slogan states, "the magic lives beyond the books". The show’s readers bring 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 invites listeners to participate in creating its content by nominating fictions and participating in contests. The program releases via iTunes, Libsyn, and the Internet Archive on a biweekly basis, featuring at least two new readings per episode. AudioFictions can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Launched on January 3, 2009,[24] AudioFictions was originally founded by MuggleNet Fan Fiction (MNFF) staff member Rosie Morris (known by her MNFF username, Roxy Black). The program’s goal is 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 program’s operations being centered in the MuggleNet Fan Fiction Beta Board's Black Lake thread). The original team, led by Rosie, consisted of Clare Mansfield, kiley, Schmerg_the_Impaler, and Weasleykitty (all of whom have since retired), as well as current MerMuggles Equinox Chick, Jessie Lights, Lupinpatronus, and Nixemus (who composed the show’s original music). Other MerMuggles who joined the show later but have since retired include sajomn, Eratosthenese, Faerie Dust, Finest Firewhisky, type-n-shadow, and coolh5000.

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 current format. In late 2010, Lupinpatronus was promoted to project manager and host, adding new MerMuggle readers[25] Apollonious, Chadadada17, and theGreatOm to the lineup. Lupinpatronus also created the editor role[26] for AudioFictions, bringing Granger7, pinkdude64, and stevenrankin onto the team. Under Lupinpatronus’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.[27]

Features[edit]

MuggleNet Interactive[edit]

MuggleNet Interactive
Mugglenet Interactive (logo).png
Type Non-profit organization
Website interactive.mugglenet.com
Registration Required
Available in English (U.S.)
Launched July 1, 2003

MuggleNet Interactive (often shortened to MNI) is a website spin-off of MuggleNet. It is an online forum where users can interact with each other in a Hogwarts-styled setting. In addition to the general chat areas, the site is 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 encourage house unity and often allow members to compete for honors in contests with essays, graphics, or other media. The MNI community also celebrates 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 are hidden throughout MNI’s pages and are often sought for their Galleon rewards, but speaking of them on-site is forbidden. The many distinct components of the site contribute to the diverse community that it attracts.

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, have been added in addition to other Harry Potter-themed appointments.

MuggleSpace[edit]

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.[28] 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.

MuggleNet Fan Fiction[edit]

MuggleNet Fan Fiction
MuggleNet Fan Fiction Banner.png
Type Non-profit organization
Website fanfiction.mugglenet.com
Registration Optional
Available in English (U.S.)
Launched November 14, 2004[29]

On November 14, 2004, MuggleNet opened its fan fiction sub-site 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, allowing the authors to choose at which level they wish to participate.

Published works[edit]

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.[30] 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.[31] 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 have been used to fund AudioFictions, the site's audiobook-style podcast.

In popular culture[edit]

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.[32]

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.[33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Access Indiana - Business Services Seasrch - Spartz, Inc.". Retrieved April 19, 2008. 
  2. ^ "MuggleNet.com Site Info". Alexa Internet, Inc. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  3. ^ "MuggleNet - About Us". MuggleNet. Retrieved August 16, 2011. 
  4. ^ Sims, Andrew (May 29, 2010). "Welcome to the all-new MuggleNet.com!". MuggleNet. 
  5. ^ "A new era has begun: Welcome to MuggleNet 3.0!". MuggleNet. April 1, 2014. 
  6. ^ "About Us". MuggleNet. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  7. ^ J. K. Rowling. "J. K. Rowling Official Site - Section: Fan Sites - MuggleNet". JKRowling.com. 
  8. ^ J. K. Rowling (March 15, 2004). "Mugglenet Chatroom Uninterested in JKR's Theories". JKRowling.com. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  9. ^ J. K. Rowling. "J.K. Rowling Official Site - Meeting Melissa and Emerson". JKRowling.com. 
  10. ^ "MuggleNet and The Leaky Cauldron interview J.K. Rowling". MuggleNet. July 16, 2005. 
  11. ^ Hawk, Keith. "Pottermore: early access granted to Hufflepuffs and MuggleNet mentioned on site". MuggleNet. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "MuggleNet Academia Podcasts". MuggleNet. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  13. ^ Fried, Noah. "First episode of MuggleNet's new podcast 'Alohomora!' now released". MuggleNet. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  14. ^ Fried, Noah. "'Alohomora!' invades MuggleNet". MuggleNet. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "The Alohomora! Podcast Hosts | Alohomora!". Alohomora!. MuggleNet.com. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  16. ^ Scull, Eric. "Alohomora! Episode 75: 'Yay, Death' - now available!". MuggleNet. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Graves, Caleb. "Alohomora! Episode 17: 'No One Likes You, Percy Weasley' is now available for download!". MuggleNet. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  18. ^ Graves, Caleb. "Alohomora! Episode 6: 'A Little Place Called Hoot' now available, with a special guest host!". MuggleNet. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  19. ^ Miller, Kat. "Alohomora! global movie screening & live call-in show - with special guest Warwick Davis!". MuggleNet. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  20. ^ Graves, Caleb. "Alohomora! to host LIVE movie viewing & call-in show to wrap up 'Chamber of Secrets'". MuggleNet. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  21. ^ Graves, Caleb. "Alohomora! smartphone app has now launched, includes episodes and exclusive content!". MuggleNet. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  22. ^ "MuggleCast | The #1 Most-Listened to Harry Potter Podcast". MuggleCast. MuggleNet.com. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  23. ^ https://www.facebook.com/mugglecast/posts/10151751542778346
  24. ^ "MuggleNet Fan Fiction releases first AudioFiction". MuggleNet. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  25. ^ "MuggleNet Fan Fiction's AudioFictions Holding Auditions for New Readers". MuggleNet. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  26. ^ "MuggleNet Fan Fiction's AudioFictions Looking for Audio Editors to Join Their Team". MuggleNet. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  27. ^ Miller, Kat. "MuggleNet Fan Fiction Thursday: 'Becoming Rita', AudioFictions, & More!". MuggleNet. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  28. ^ "MuggleNet now has a social network for HP fans!". MuggleNet. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  29. ^ Montfort, Elysa (November 14, 2006). "MuggleNet FanFiction celebrates its second birthday". 
  30. ^ Raine, George (August 22, 2010). "Potter spin-off a hit for tiny Berkeley publisher". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  31. ^ Black, Roxy (June 28, 2009). "It's Here - Sharpen Your Quill". MuggleNet. Retrieved December 10, 2009. 
  32. ^ "Emerson Spartz Parody on Jimmy Kimmel Live - October 23, '07". YouTube. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  33. ^ "Mugglenet question". YouTube. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 

External links[edit]