British journalist Greg Palast has made some waves in the Potter world by detailing the ‘alternate ending’ that J.K. Rowling apparently described at length to him. Check out the alternate ending, as described by Palast from memory.

Palast, who says he is friendly with J.K. Rowling, told the author that he was not thrilled with the ending of Deathly Hallows. In response, Jo apparently described an alternate ending to the series that she had written. Here is what Palast posted on his website today:

To the Forbidden Forest

Harry marched toward the field where Voldemort waited with his pack of Dementors. Harry’s scar burned brutally, saving him the pain of thinking too deeply about his decision, likely to bring him nothing but death.

What special evil, what deadly and devious spell had the Dark Lord prepared for Harry’s destruction? Voldemort had hunted after Harry for more than a decade; doubtless Voldemort would arm himself with a special curse far more powerful and final than the Avada Kedavra which had failed to kill Harry as a child.

Harry was terribly right. The Dark Lord, in his clearing in the Forbidden Forest, was preparing a charm as devastating as Harry feared, and far more horrific. As Harry marched to this fated meeting, Voldemort passed his wand among the icy Dementors, commanding each to lay their Kiss upon it.

Voldemort, in those pained, lonely nights of his exile and recovery, had conceived of a way to hurl a Dementor’s kiss from his wand, the kiss that would take away the soul of its victim forever. And now he would blast Harry with hundreds of them. Voldemort’s reward would be greater than watching Harry’s burial. He would have Harry frozen in place, Harry’s living being encased for eternity at the moment of Harry’s ultimate humiliation and defeat, a terrifying monument to Voldemort’s victory for all to see for all time. Voldemort’s joy rose with every Dementor’s kiss to his wand.

Harry could feel their grave-like cold as he approached and the pull of their despair. It was hopeless, and he was helpless in the face of it. And he knew it.

But then, Harry felt the presence of a young man and woman, though he could not see them. These two ghosts lovingly held his body up and raised his spirit. It was, he was certain, the last remaining life-force of his parents, making one last sacrifice by joining him on his final journey. He allowed himself a moment of peaceful happiness, feeling them so close.

Then he stopped. Harry shivered with a deep chill of recognition. They were not his parents. They were Voldemort’s: the young Tom Riddle and his bride who, for this occasion, had taken back her beautiful maid’s countenance. They said, using no words, “Our dearest son, we will not allow you to be harmed.”

Were their words for him? Or for Voldemort? Somehow, it didn’t seem to matter – they seemed so kind when he needed nothing more at this moment than a parent’s love.

Harry, and the two warm spirits becoming more visible, approached the edge of the swirling crowd of Voldemort’s followers, who parted, preparing to give the victim an easy corridor to his doom.

Voldemort’s wand had returned to his white, skeletal hand. The Dark Lord pointed it confidently to where Harry would surely emerge from the crowd, not yet to destroy Potter but to hold him while he prepared to give Harry an oration on the eternal punishment about to strike him.

Voldemort laughed when Harry stumbled through. But when the Dark Lord saw the specters of his parents, he howled as if cut in half. With his furious heart in flames, Voldemort immediately unleashed the deadly Kisses, bellowing, “Oppugno Mortimbessios!” And all the vile terrors of the Dementors, in an unstoppable flash from his wand, rushed toward Harry and the spirits at his side.

It was only a hundredth of a second for Voldemort’s curse to reach Harry. But somehow the world seemed to slow down, the Earth ceased to rotate; all on the planet held still, though Harry was aware he was free to move. Harry had planned every shield charm for his defense, but all now were clearly useless. Harry found himself unable to do more than calmly bend to one knee and bow his head, preparing to accept the force of the blow and his death and end.

As he kneeled, in that quiet moment outside time, the two shadows flew from him toward Voldemort. And Voldemort changed. The Dementors’ chill wind, and Time, moved backward; and there was Voldemort, growing to his younger, more potent, frightening self.

The curse struck Harry’s scar, obliterating it, then, in a loud roar, he felt the crushing pain of his skull opening, and then the shrieking curse rushing from his head – back toward the wand that sent it.

As the curse turned back toward him, Voldemort continued to grow younger still, until he was a little child again with his mother and father at his side. When they realized the full force of Voldemort’s own spell was about to strike him, his parents put their reassuring arms around their son to protect him from this ultimate blow.

And then it struck. And now the three entwined souls, Tom Riddle, his wife and young child, would remain forever entombed in that one moment, never able to leave.

And never wanting to.

Hogwarts AD 2130

The headmaster, his stringy white beard uncombed and his wrinkled, bald head topped by a drooping wizard’s cap, looked with wistful gratitude at the empty picture frame he’d convinced the Ministry to put up, despite their reluctance. He knew he’d soon be residing in that little square etched with the name, “Harry Potter,” separated from Albus Dumbledore’s only by the portraits of Headmistresses McGonagall and Chang.

The old wizard could hear below the school abuzz with preparations for his 150th birthday. He shifted Ginny, a bird of paradise, to a perch nearer his desk. His wife, rather than grow old, had turned herself into this beautiful bird, but still insisted on giving un-birdlike advice. “Harry, dearest, you can’t miss your own birthday party. And it’s so lovely outside.”

Indeed, the summer day had brought out scores of picnickers who had come to set their baskets and blankets out near the warm light cast by the living statue of the happy family with the little child. No one but the old headmaster knew who was encased in that glowing sphere. When the Dementors were released from the spell of Voldemort, they, and indeed every wizard excepting Harry and the shade of Albus, were cleansed of all memory of the Dark Lord. Now, after more than a century, curiosity about the family in the statue had long ago ceased. Harry had simply ordered a plaque placed there. It said only, “Riddles.”

“I will go,” he told his feathered wife, “but I have to keep an eye on the boy for a bit.” Harry’s great, great grandson, not yet able to walk, silently played on the rug with his chocolate frog. Then suddenly, in inexplicable anger, little Tom crushed the candy animal. Harry watched this, and knew the whole world would soon darken again for generations to come.

THE END

Hmm, this seems pretty far-fetched, even for a book about wizards and witches. Keep in mind that this won’t read exactly as Rowling would have written it…it’s from the memory of Palast. It’s fascinating to think that the ending would be so dramatically different, either way!

What do you think? Is this just a bad piece of fan fiction, or do you think J.K. Rowling could have made this a reality?

Veronica Roth’s upcoming science fiction novel is titled Carve the Mark, and hits store shelves on January 17, 2017.

An official website (complete with a countdown clock!) launched Thursday morning. It reveals the cover (above) and synopsis for Carve the Mark, which will apparently appeal to “fans of Star Wars and Divergent.”

The cover is interesting, as it appears to show cuts made in stone, with something like gold seeping out of the openings. “Honor has no place in survival,” the book’s tagline reads.

Here’s the full synopsis:

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive — no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.

Intriguing! I’m liking the sound of these currentgifts and their influence on this science fiction world.

Previous reports have described Carve the Mark as the first part in a duology, with part 2 getting a release in 2018.

This will be the first book published since Roth wrapped up the Divergent Series. Although Allegiant was released in 2013, a book with short stories about Four arrived the following summer.

You can pre-order Carve the Mark here. Do you think you’ll be reading it?

Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle may have only just crash-landed in a dumpster near you, but we’ve already got information on the second book!

According to his newly upgraded website (hey! us too!), the second book in Rick Riordan’s latest Greek mythology series will be released on May 2, 2017 and is titled The Dark Prophecy. That doesn’t sound ominous at all.

The synopsis reads, “Zeus has punished his son Apollo–god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more–by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered 16-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo/Lester do anything about them without his powers? After experiencing a series of dangerous–and frankly, humiliating–trials at Camp Half-Blood, Lester must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he’s gaining in new friendships–with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride.”

Riordan’s fancy new website has a cool feature where, as you scroll the page, the dotted yellow line is replaced by a solid red one, like you’re really seeing yourself exploring the world as you venture through his books. (Accurate.) The Hidden Oracle took place in New York City, but our map tells us Apollo will be venturing into the unknown for the second book. Or has that bit of information just not been set in stone yet? There was something about Indiana…and bananas.

The Trials of Apollo is already off to a fantastic start. Check back later for our review of The Hidden Oracle and other in-depth coverage.

What did you think of ‘The Hidden Oracle’?

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ originally opened with Luke Skywalker’s hand

The space ship giving the finger to the audience wasn't how The Force Awakens was meant to open at all.

8:53 am EDT, May 5, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens made us wait until the very end before they revealed Luke Skywalker. But that wasn’t always the plan, according to Mark Hamill.

The opening shot of The Force Awakens is pretty iconic, and (unintentionally?) hilarious: A giant space ship blocks out our view of a planet, and for a second, J.J. Abrams is almost definitely giving the audience the finger.

Star Wars opening

Perhaps that finger says, “Suck it nerdz, I’m gonna make you sit through this whole film before revealing Luke Skywalker!” Because, as it turns out, we almost saw a bit of him right at the very start of the film.

Mark Hamill, speaking to The Sun (via Collider), has revealed that the original opening shot was a teaser of sorts to the scene at Maz Kanata’s castle, in which Rey finds the lightsaber:

“I can tell you now that in the original opening shot of 7, the first thing that came into frame was a hand with a lightsaber, a severed hand that enters the atmosphere, and then the hand and bone burns away and goes sticking into the surface of Jakku, and this alien hand comes in, don’t know if it was Maz but it was an alien hand who takes the lightsaber way, and then the movie proceeds as you see it.”

So basically we were meant to believe that Luke’s hand fell from the Cloud City tower on Bespin in the Outer Rim Territories (where he battled Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back), into space, and somehow found its way to Jakku?

Gotta say, as cool of an image that would have been, it wouldn’t have made a lot of sense.

It does help to fill in some of the gaps about just how Luke’s original lightsaber came into Maz’s possession, however. How do you think she got her hands (too soon?) on it?

Would you have preferred ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ opening with Luke’s hand and the lightsaber?