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Published: Monday, November 12, 2001

Harry Potter is a hot topic online

So you can't quite get to the village of Hogsmeade, but you can chill with Harry Potter and his crew in some magical places online.

Like Harry's, your first stop at a wizard hang-out should be the-leaky-cauldron.org. There you'll find news about the movie opening Friday.

This Leaky Cauldron site provides links to http://www.hpgalleries.com/, which leads to a number of interesting places. Some might call it a virtual Platform 93/4.

Click to www.hpgalleries.com/hol, for a Hogwarts-like wizard school. Virtual students try to collect points individually and for their house. The winning house gets the House Cup.

If you're the sporting type, check out wql.50g.com. Grab your broomstick. The World Quidditch League offers a chance at the Golden Snitch. (Translation for non-wizards or muggles: Quidditch, a wizard pastime, is basically baseball, basketball and soccer rolled into one.) For a more cerebral challenge, try www.scholastic.com/ harrypotter/challenge. The questions range from the obvious to the obscure, and you're out after the first wrong answer. The Scholastic site overall is rather tame, offering screen savers, book details and a discussion forum.

For a graphics-pumped site, try the movie site at harrypotter.warnerbros.com. It does have the requisite promos, but there's enough cool stuff to balance it all out for fans. (Broadband users should have the most success seeing the intro.) You can enroll at Hogwarts and be placed in a house by the Sorting Hat. Then pick up your student wizard items.

Drop by Diagon Alley, where you'll find the Owl Post to e-mail a postcard or a howler. The howlers will send a slam of your choice, such as "A disgrace to Wizards and Witches everywhere!!!" The Daily Prophet gives you news of Harry Potter -- and the movie.

Harry Potter fans are salivating for the next installment. Get the scoop on what's said to be in store in books at http://www.harrypotterrealm.com/.

The site harrypotterfansonline.com explains lists what various incantations do. For example, the target of a Rictusempra curse will be tickled. Uninitiated muggles, take note: If you don't understand all this terminology, stop by www.i2k.com/~svderark/lexicon for translations.

Teachers can get in on the magic at www.angelfire.com/co3/teachhpotter. Lessons at www.connectingstudents.com/lessonplans/potter make it more fun, too.

-- From wire reports

Quick hits

What's up? Sky watchers, rejoice. Once you register at http://www.heavens-above.com/ and identify your location, the site will tell you when and where to look in the night sky to see passing satellites, a Space Shuttle fly-by and the International Space Station.

Foul ball. Major League Baseball owners have decided to get rid of two teams, expected to be the Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos. Some of the understandably saddened Twins and Expos fans have taken to the Web. It's a sad story: You'd better have your Homer Hanky ready when you visit http://www.savetheminnesotatwins.com/ or saveourexpos.tripod.com.

-- From wire reports


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