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Harry Potter and the Sweepstakes of iPod

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My wife slyly left her copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — the fifth installment in the adolescence and sorcery saga that has assumed the penetration and prominence of 21st century world mythology — casually perched within arm’s length of our bathroom throne.

I ignored it pointedly, seeking to maintain my independence from its ubiquity, but after Warner Bros. announced a few weeks ago that filming had begun on the movie version of Phoenix, my resolve melted into the seductively cerulean blue cover of the thick paperback beckoning to me from the towel caddy.

Though cursed with very limited discretionary reading time, I have waded about a quarter of the way into Potter-5 waters, and while I am reserving final judgment, I certainly can taste the appeal of J.K. Rowling’s brew of subtle socio-political commentary, adolescent psychology, fairy lore, ironic humor, and gripping storytelling; and I also enjoy the depth and filigree of the literary vs. filmed Potter experience.

Through this submersion in printed Potter, it has also finally dawned on me that the wizarding world is not unlike that of the Amish: parallel to and intersecting with mainstream contemporary civilization, but eschewing the distractions and complications of its most prevalent driving force, electricity. There are no televisons, computers, radios, CD players, or toaster ovens at Hogwarts. I’m not sure what they do about refrigeration, but as far as I can tell the old place isn’t even wired.

So it is rather boldly ironic that the grand prize in U.S. Potter-series publisher Scholastic’s new sweepstakes — counting down to the July 25 release of the paperback version of Potter-6, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince — would be a Harry Potter iPod package that includes a 30GB iPod etched with the crest of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and all six downloadable Potter audiobooks from the iTunes Music Store.

Beginning March 1st and continuing with a new installment every Wednesday for six weeks, fans can take part in the weekly online poll, one for each of the books published to date. Each week the poll will contain a different printable Harry Potter book cover to be pasted on to a downloadable entry form. After all six Harry Potter covers have been collected, the entry form can be mailed in for a chance to win fab Potter prizes like the iPod, J.K. Rowling-signed deluxed editions, and hardcover Potter boxed sets.

The Scholastic Potter site has a bunch of other participatory shenanigans for fans to fumble about with as well. With a first printing of 2 million copies, the paperback version of Prince brings the total number of all six Harry Potter books in print in the U.S. to over 120 million.

News and reviews of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince here.

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.
  • This is classic EO — informative and fun !

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks EB, much appreciated!

  • Eric:

    I’m a very recent Harry Potter addict. About a month ago, as a thank you for help with a project at work, a co-worker lent me her copy of the “The Order of The Phoenix” on CD. I have seen the first three movies, but not the fourth, and this was the first book I had actually “read.”

    I was quickly hooked of course. By the end of the book, I was at my coworkers desk asking for everything else she had on audiobook. I spend about three hours a day during the week on the road, so audiobook format is perfect for me.

    I’ve gotten through the first three books and am just looking forward to hitting the road to go home so that I can start “The Goblet of Fire” today. You can be sure that, starting March 1, I’ll be online to enter the contest. 🙂

    Thanks for your post!



  • Eric Olsen

    very cool David, and I hope you win! I think audiobooks are a brilliant way to put travel time to good use

  • mr.smith

    i think its cool that more people are getting into harry potter, but if you have been a fan since day one it was kind of hard. some areas like were i live being a fan is hard because everyone thinks its stupid i think its just because people have to read the books of jk to truly like it. just ask every fan that has been reading the books since 2nd grade and they will nine times out of ten say ya i didnt like the movie that much the book is alot better. its just that the new director has cut and changed so much in the movies when you watch all you can think is what thats not how it happened and i cant beleive they cut that out. we appreciate the movies but i seriously think that there should be a petition somewhere to get the new director back. i mean for gods sake he couldnt even make the case the same!

  • Eric Siljeg

    ive always been a fan and this wednesday first chance i get ill be online entering that contest. good luck everyone whos also enering too!finaly something for bookreaders.

    p.s. that comment from mr. smith that is mine i was just to stupid to put my name

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks Eric, best of luck in the contest to you as well. I understand the sense ofownership the book fans have over the Potter mythos — very similar to Lord of the Rings — but I think the movies should be seen as additional visions rather than just reduced versions

  • Steve

    I went to see the first Harry Potter movie when it came out in 2001, and decided I would indeed pick up the books in time for my summer holiday the following year and have a read of them.

    Having seen all the movies and read all the books to date, I’m thinking that some time after the last movie comes out (which will probably be 2010, the way they’re going), there may be an opportunity to do a TV series of all the books word for word, perhaps by 2015. Then the fans will get what they want.

    I agree, though, that the movies, by their shortened nature, simply can’t be the same as the books.

  • Eric Olsen

    very interesting thought Steve – it would be pretty difficult for a TV series to have the production values of the films, though; and the look and feel are among the best aspects of the films

  • david

    eric olsen i lost the link for the harry potter five word story and the original harry potter blogcritic when it first started i think it was just before the 6th book came out do reckon you could put the details of these sites up so i can find them thanks

  • Eric Olsen

    HI David, the dreaded 5 Word Story is here. You can always find it by clicking on the “articles with the most comments” link at the bottom of the Hot Topics box on the front page.

    The master post that lists all the Half-Blood Prince-related articles is here.

    When in doubt, use the site search box for any of this