Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was one of the most anticipated books in history, and the people producing it for J.K. Rowling were worried it might leak online before it could be released. This was due to a security issue with Bloomsbury Publishing, which had been subject to leaks prior to the book’s official release.
That says a lot when the public so eagerly awaits your next book that they’ll try to leak the plot ahead of time. Harry Potter was one of the most lucrative franchises you could find aside from the competition, The Lord of the Rings. That also says something for J.R.R. Tolkien that it took literally decades for someone to rival his work in children’s fiction. A resurgence of fame for Tolkien’s work came around when Peter Jackson decided to take on a trilogy of long-winded film adaptations (each movie was over three hours long).
The release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince accompanied the participation of many major retailers to make a launch game out of it. Crowds gathered just to grab a copy when midnight hit at their local Walmart, among other stores. The book’s popularity was similarly boosted by the film series starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson as Potter and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, respectively.
The story revolved around a potion-making book with text scrawled within stating it was “property of the half-blood Prince.” They spent most of the story’s length trying to figure out who this mysterious person was, and the reveal accompanied one of the biggest plot twists in the series’ history.
Sadly, the film didn’t fare so well, as the reveal was among the most lazy in the entire series, retrospectively making Order of the Phoenix an even more impressive film, considering its source material. While Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was still awaiting release as a book, the magic was palpable.
Leaks began to emerge in rumors as fans attempted anything they could to get an early copy by any means. Britain’s own GCHQ stepped in to stop potential leaks, though, after author J.K. Rowling hinted that a major character was going to die. Publisher Nigel Newton had received a call from a GCHQ agent. He told an Australian news outlet last week, “We fortunately had many allies. GCHQ rang me up and said ‘We’ve detected an early copy of the book on the internet’. ‘I got them to read a page to our editor and she said, ‘no, that’s a fake’.”
Defense Against the Dark Arts: UK spies guarded against Harry Potter leak https://t.co/ZP6S1shuld
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The publisher had become so nervous about the potential online leak of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that the company had ordered British spies and guard dogs to keep the plot a secret as the printing press worked on.
A new book is due this summer, expanding on where Deathly Hallows left off, and it will likely be the first book in the series not to have the main cast returning to film an adaptation. Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson have all basically said they’ve moved on since their big screen fame. The series’ mysterious heavyweight, who actually turned out to be the “half-blood Prince,” Alan Rickman, passed away this January. The book is said to take place after the sons and daughters of the kids from the first seven books start at Hogwarts.
The hype from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince could easily return, as fans may be a little too eager to get their hands on an early copy of The Cursed Child.
Another major difference from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is that The Cursed Child won’t be written by J.K. Rowling herself, but Jack Thorne. It will likely still be highly anticipated, though.
[Image via Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince/Warner Bros.]