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WIRE Buzz: Harry Potter hub; Mattel online 'Playroom'; Sam Jackson's quarantine story time

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Apr 1, 2020

In a time when we could all use a little more magic in our lives, J.K. Rowling has decided to launch "Harry Potter at Home."

Part of three spell-casting initiatives meant to alleviate the stress and boredom of staying at home during the current health emergency, the online portal is dedicated to all things relating to the wizarding world. Kids, parents, teachers, and general fans of the iconic franchise can enjoy puzzles, articles, quizzes, activities, and more — all free of charge.

“The teachers, parents and carers working to keep children’s lives as normal and happy as possible while we’re all on lockdown deserve a bit of magic. I hope these initiatives will give children and even adults a happy distraction during their enforced stay-at-home time," Rowling said in a statement.

Credit: Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

You can even sign up for a weekly newsletter, although it'll come via email, not owl. Per the Ministry of Magic and MACUSA, all owl post has been suspended until COVID-19 situation can be dealt with.

Audible and OverDrive have also been asked to participate in the initiatives by making the audio and eBook versions of the first novel in the series — Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ("Sorcerer's Stone" if you're American) — available for free throughout the month of April. The book can be accessed in six different languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Japanese.

Credit: Scholastic

"The Harry Potter books have always been a refuge, comfort and escape for readers, and right now, we need reading for pleasure more than ever," added Neil Blair, founder of Rowling's agency, the Blair Partnership. "Many households will already have a Harry Potter book at home, but I’m delighted that we can now provide free online access to the audio and eBook of the first book in the series, through Audible and libraries, for all to enjoy, as well as a fantastic new digital hub for families with younger children to help them through these difficult times."

The free English language audiobook of Philosopher’s Stone is narrated by Stephen Fry, who famously narrated all of the Potter books in the United Kingdom.

Yesterday, Audible and Pottermore Publishing released their all-star audio production of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Check out SYFY WIRE's exclusive preview right here.


Another resource for young audiences during this difficult time is the Mattel Playroom, another online hub full of at-home activities based on the company's well-known brands like American Girl, Barbie, Fisher-Price, Hot Wheels, and Thomas & Friends.

“Our mission to inspire, entertain and develop children through play is more important than ever,” Richard Dickson, President and COO, Mattel, said in a statement. “We believe in the power of play and how essential it is for child development, especially in these difficult times when so much is in flux for kids and families. We recognize the unique challenges that parents and caregivers are facing right now both working and playing from home and have designed the Mattel Playroom to be a valuable resource for them.”

Credit: Business Wire

The site (which currently boasts a collection of DIY projects, coloring sheets, and online games) will be updated weekly.


And now, for all you adults in the room, we present the incomparable Samuel L. Jackson reading an R-rated bedtime story entitled Stay The F*** at Home. Done for Jimmy Kimmel Live, the comedic video (shot from Jackson's personal screening room) is meant to urge people to practice self-isolation and quarantine, so as to prevent a further spread of COVID-19.

Pulling no punches, the curse-happy actor busts out his best no-nonsense Nick Fury realness with this reading, which serves as a sequel to "Go the F*** to Sleep." You can bet that if the Avengers got these marching orders, Thanos might not have gotten his grubby hands on the Infinity Stones.

In addition to reading Stay The F*** at Home, Jackson also revealed that he's been watching the Kingdom on Netflix. Season 2 of the South Korean historical zombie thriller series is now streaming.


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