More Harry Potter stuff here. If this doesn't interest you, then feel free to ignore this post. If this does interest you, rest assured that there are no spoilers.
I've been following the discussions of the Deathly Hallows leak on SomethingAwful over the past few days, and can now safely say that I have read so many spoilers at this point that none of them will stick in my mind while I'm reading the book come Saturday.
The thing that interests me the most about this whole thing isn't even the leak itself. It's the fact that I've seen at least two distinct sets of photographs of books that are supposed to be the real version of Deathly Hallows. I'm not just talking the US/UK editions where the pages appear different due to different typesetting/font sizes/etc, I'm talking differing chapter titles, the same illustration for two different chapters depending on which set of photographs you're looking at, different content on the same page, not to mention different surfaces the books are resting on. Obviously, something strange is going on here. Whether it's a real copy and one or more fakes, all fakes, clever photoshoppery, JK Rowling pulling one over on everybody to prevent a repeat of what happened with Half Blood Prince, or something else entirely, we won't know for certain until the book is officially released. But I think it's interesting that there's at least two (maybe more, since I haven't taken a detailed look at any of it) leaked copies of the book out there and can't wait until it's out and I can find out what's actually happened.
Some other random tidbits that add to the intrigue of this situation for me.
- The most recent entry in JK Rowling's diary on her website says the following (emphasis mine): "We are almost there! As launch night looms, let's all, please, ignore the misinformation popping up on the web and in the press on the plot of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I'd like to ask everyone who calls themselves a Potter fan to help preserve the secrecy of the plot for all those who are looking forward to reading the book at the same time on publication day. In a very short time you will know EVERYTHING!"
Like most public comments JKR makes about the books, it's just cryptic and vague enough that it's hard to tell what she really means. By calling it 'misinformation' is she saying that everything out there is fake, some is fake and some is not, or that it's real and she's just using doublespeak to dissuade people from reading it before it's released? And what does she mean by EVERYTHING? Obviously, everything about how the story ends is part of it. But could that also mean everything about the leaked content?
- The Baltimore Sun posted a review of the book to their website (no clue if it was also printed in the paper) this afternoon. The article starts off saying they're not going to reveal any plot twists from the book, but warns readers that if they continue they may find out more than they wanted to about the book. It then goes on to expose what the title of the book means, and what happens to Harry in the end. While not necessarily plot twists per se, I'd consider those to be pretty damn important parts of the book. And, according to folks who have read the full leaked book that's floating around, some things mentioned in the article contradict what's in the copy they read.
- DeepDiscount.com apparently goofed and shipped out some 1200 copies early. (Schoolastic has announced that they're persuing legal action against them, so I don't doubt the authenticity of this.) According to the Sun, one of these copies was delivered to a relative of a reporter, who in turn gave it to the reporter (after opening it, seeing what it was, and then notifying DeepDiscount), who read it and wrote the review. At least, this is what they're saying now; earlier this afternoon when I read the review it just said that they had acquired an 'advance copy of the book through legitimate and legal means'. Surely the editor who approved the review had to have known how they got a copy of the book, so why give a generic "we acquired this legally" statement and then turn around and give the full story? IIRC the original "we got this legally" statement was an editor's note just like the current explanation for how they got it is, so it doesn't make sense that the reporter did this on his/her own and then the editor said "okay, we'll leave it up there, but I'm going to add an editor's note to explain how we got it". And why post the review at all?
- The photographs I've seen, while readable, are low res and appear as though they were taken with a cameraphone or cheap digicam; the ones I've seen aren't too bad, but apparently some are badly out of focus and are almost unreadable. Yet the EXIF data on the files shows that one set (the complete book) was taken with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel, and another was taken with a Nikon D1X. Why would someone with quality cameras like that take such lousy photos of the book? I can understand decreasing the resolution so they don't take as long to save and so you can fit more on a smaller memory card, but unless the photographer was absolutely terrible what I've seen doesn't meet my expectations of what those camera would produce even at less than full resolution. And I've got to wonder how someone in a library (since that seems to be the leading theory on where the book originated from if the leak is real) was able to sneak off with a copy of the book and a SLR for that long without someone noticing. Additionally, the EXIF data for the Canon copy apparently shows that the entire process took about 5 hours. But I've read a few different places that the leaked Canon copy originated from someone on the luelinks.net forums (which, of course, are private and have been for years, so they can't post links to the thread as proof) and it took him about 12 hours to photograph the entire book.
- From what I've read, there seems to be some oddities about whether it could have come from a library. I read an article a few days ago saying that some libraries already have their copies and have received permission to open them early for cataloging/shelving purposes. But someone on SomethingAwful mentioned that his friend's mom works for the Toronto Public Library, and they're not getting their copies delivered until midnight Friday, and they're going to have people come in overnight to catalog them and then run special deliveries (i.e., couriers I'm guessing) out to the branches so that they can be shelved and ready for folks on the waiting list to pick them up by noon on Saturday. Given all the other security measures taken during the publication of this book, it seems odd to me that they wouldn't have a blanket policy/procedure in place for delivery to libraries.