Title font credit: Parry Hotter by Anke Arnold, http://www.anke-art.de/
(Also used in the printed edition: Lumos by Sarah McFalls, http://www.geocities.com/carpesaponem/)
With eager Harry Potter fans all around the world counting down to the release of the end of the series, what better time to do a Harry Potter special issue?
Actually, no, it turns out to be a terrible idea. Because when the countdown clocks start going up, fear of spoilers sends most of online Harry Potter fandom into hiding. Three months ahead of the release date, people were already excusing themselves from discussions with a mutter of "Terribly sorry, but I'm cutting myself off from all public news sources just in case."
The irony is that no alleged spoilers provided online by anyone but Rowling herself have ever panned out. One poster to alt.fan.harry-potter did turn out to have gotten a genuine advance copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but limited himself to posting the first word on page 123, page 234, and so forth to prove it.
And this year's crop of supposed spoilers is especially pathetic. The supposed e-book of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows circulating online was quickly identified as a fanfic originally entitled "The Seventh Horcrux". The author writes as "Melindaleo", and is said to be rather upset at having someone else's name attached to her hard work.
Then we have "Gabriel" the hacker, who claims to have broken into Bloomsbury's system and read the book there, but who displays a suspiciously shaky grasp of English. Then there's the list of spoilers at News.com.au, which starts off directly contradicting Rowling about Dumbledore, or maybe is just an old list of rumored spoilers for the previous book.
When all is said and done, the only danger lies in the time between when the eastern hemisphere finishes reading the new book and the western hemisphere is permitted to buy it, because Scholastic and its friends have decided it would be more magical for everyone to wait until midnight so that they can have critical information shouted out at them by a passing griefer while waiting in line-- as, indeed, happened at the Powell's release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Thank you, global publishing conspiracy, thank you so bloody much.
Still, one must carry on in the face of terrorism, and I'm planning to go to Powell's again. Now, what to bring to read in line...