The Leaky Cauldron (website)

The Leaky Cauldron, also called Leaky, TLC, or Leaky News, is a Harry Potter fansite and blog. The site features news, image and video galleries, downloadable widgets, a chat room and discussion forum, and an essay project called Scribbulus, among other offerings. Since 2005, The Leaky Cauldron has also hosted an official podcast titled "PotterCast."

The current webmaster of the Leaky Cauldron is Melissa Anelli, a former journalist for the Staten Island Advance. The site's creative director is John Noe; its senior news editor is Sue Upton.


The Leaky Cauldron website was started by Kevin C. Murphy on July 5, 2000, as a Geocities site managed through Blogger. It moved to its own domain on December 4, 2000.

B.K. DeLong took control of the site in 2001. Melissa Anelli joined the Leaky staff later that year as an editor, and became Managing Editor in 2002. Anelli took full editorial control of the site in 2004.

On January 28, 2005, Leaky debuted the Leaky Lounge, a forum for Harry Potter discussion. The forum currently has over 53,000 registered members.

April Fool's Day jokes

On April Fool's Day, 2003, Leaky posted a copy of 93 words allegedly e-mailed to the site, in reference to a 93-word card auctioned off the previous December with information about the plot of the upcoming fifth Potter book. As posted by Leaky, the fake card read: "Things I can tell you about book five: It's thirty-eight chapters but Harry might change his clothes again...if he does it will be the longest volume of the series...Ron dyes his hair blonde...Harry uses his broom to sweep the Chamber of Secrets...Petunia is sacked as Dudley's Mum�Draco becomes a house-elf...Voldemort becomes the new teacher by disguising his tattoo and unibrow - wait, wrong series...Harry dies of laughter when Trelawney belly-dances...and on 1 April Harry gets fooled by an April Fool's Day joke...sorry..."

The 2004 April Fool's Day joke featured actor Jim Tavaré, who would appear later that year in the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as Tom the Barman, who runs Leaky's namesake pub in the Potter books and films. Throughout the day, Tavaré attempted to oust the "muggles" from the site and take it over himself, while staff protested.

The site closed down on April Fool's Day 2005, posting a note about how tired the Webmasters were of handling the foolish questions sent to them by readers each day. As a replacement, the site opened "Ask Peeves," a spoof of the Ask Jeeves search engine. Each search resulted in answers jargonized to match the speech patterns of Peeves, a poltergeist character in the Potter books. The page also included a graphic of Peeves spouting rude sayings and limericks.

On April 1, 2006, both the Leaky Cauldron and fellow Potter fansite Mugglenet shut down and redirected visitors to a new site, The Leaky Mug The Leaky Mug's first announcement was the marriage of Leaky webmaster Melissa Anelli to Mugglenet webmaster Emerson Spartz. The two claimed to have merged their sites in the same way they had merged their lives. The next day, both sites were running normally; J. K. Rowling discussed the joke later on her official website. However, has remained a functional website that primarily serves to host The Leaky Mug, a joint podcast produced by members of both Leaky and Mugglenet. Anelli and Spartz have since refused to admit that the incident, or their marriage, was a joke.

On April Fool's Day 2007, Leaky posted a news item that it had reconsidered its decision to stay online after the upcoming publication of the final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and would in fact be closing its doors following the book's release. Minutes after midnight on April 2, Anelli made another post revealing that it had been a hoax and the site would not be closing. Anelli commented that the site had received many letters of thanks and support from readers, and that the alternate plan for that year's joke had been a fake news story about a delay in Deathly Hallows' release due to a recycling plant problem.

The Leaky Cauldron announced on April Fool's Day 2008 that Sybill Trelawney, a Hogwarts professor of divination in the Potter series, would be joining the site's staff as a news editor. Due to her special skills, Trelawney would be able to predict news items in advance. Leaky also announced that Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe would be eschewing his famous nude scenes in the upcoming Broadway debut of his play Equus; and that the wizard rock band (and regular Pottercast guests) Harry and the Potters was disbanding.


Awards received by the site include the 2005 Yahoo! Search Find of the Year People's Choice Award; a 2002 Bloggie award; Fan Favorite Awards in 2004 and 2005; a Fan Site Award from J. K. Rowling; and a 2006 Webby People's Voice Award.

Relationship with J. K. Rowling and Warner Bros.

Harry Potter creator J. K. Rowling has praised the Leaky Cauldron on several occasions. On her site, Rowling has said that she visits the Leaky Cauldron and sometimes reads the comments left by visitors, although Rowling does not leave comments there herself; she once wished a reader a happy birthday based upon their postings on Leaky 1 Rowling gave her approval and endorsement to the strong anti-spoiler campaign enforced on Leaky and its forum, the "Leaky Lounge," prior to the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet were granted an interview with Rowling at her home in Edinburgh, Scotland in mid-2005, immediately following the release of the sixth Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. In January 2008, Rowling appeared and was interviewed on Pottercast; during the interview, she called Leaky "[her] favorite fan site."

Rowling has written the introduction to Melissa Anelli's upcoming nonfiction book Harry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon, which will be released in November 2008.

The site also has a good relationship with Warner Bros., the studio producing the film adaptations of the Potter books. The studio regularly sends Leaky images from upcoming films before their official release, and gave Leaky a special preview of redesigns of the official Harry Potter website before the releases of the third and fourth films. Leaky was the sole fansite invited to the press junket for the second Potter film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; the junkets for later films were opened to additional sites.

The website has also received information from other sources in the Harry Potter world, including Arthur A. Levine Books and Bloomsbury Publishing.


PotterCast is the official podcast of the Leaky Cauldron. Launched on August 22, 2005, PotterCast is an hour-long podcast hosted by Anelli, Noe, Upton, and Frankie "Frak" Franco III. The podcast includes news updates, discussion of the Potter books and films, interviews with people associated with the Potter franchise (including J. K. Rowling) and other features.

For further information, see PotterCast.

Charitable initiatives

The Leaky Cauldron regularly raises funds to aid world literacy, an initiative begun in 2002 with the auction of a card, handwritten by Rowling, with 93 words regarding the plot of the upcoming fifth Harry Potter book. Leaky gathered funds from its readers to place a collective bid, but when their bid was unsuccessful, the money raised was donated to the charity benefiting from the auction. Leaky now holds a charity drive every holiday season and has raised more than $30,000 in donations to date.


In May 2009, Leaky will host LeakyCon, a Harry Potter fan convention to be held in Boston, Massachusetts. Proceeds from this event will go to Book Aid International and the HP Alliance.


External links

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