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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

This is just like magic!

We’re Getting New Harry Potter Movies!… Kind Of


You thought it was over, Harry Potter fans. You thought you’d have nothing new to work with, just the same eight movies and seven books you’ve been gif-ing and writing meta for for years. But you were wrong. There are going to be more Harry Potter movies. Well. Harry Potter-ish.

Warner Bros. is teaming with J.K. Rowling for a new series based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a required Hogwarts textbook that Newt Scamander Rowling wrote back in 2001. Rowling herself will write the first movie, which will serve as her screenwriting debut. Says the author (bolded for emphasis):

“It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them into a film. I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of Fantastic Beasts, realized by another writer was difficult. Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt. As hard-core Harry Potter fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favourite characters from the Harry Potter series, Luna Lovegood.

Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.

In addition to the movies, however many there are, Fantastic Beasts will also spawn a “video game, consumer products and digital initiatives, including enhanced links with Pottermore.com,” reads Warner Bros.’ official press release.

I imagine their decision to make the series went something like this:

INT. WARNER BROS. HEADQUARTERS – DAY

An assortment of middle-aged, grey-haired studio executives sit around a table, twiddling their thumbs, occasionally sighing heavily.

EXECUTIVE ONE
Look, fellas, what we’re doing here, it just won’t work.
EXECUTIVE TWO
Huh?
EXECUTIVE ONE
Aside from the Man of Steel sequel, DC movies aren’t really a high priority for us—
EXECUTIVE TWO
Obviously, who wants to see a Wonder Woman movie, amirite?
[pause for raucous laughter]
EXECUTIVE ONE
And anyway, it’s great that we’re distributing The Hobbit, but in less than a year and a half that’ll be over! What then? What do we have that’s absolutely guaranteed to make money?
[After a few awkward moments…]
EXECUTIVE THREE
Well, there’s… there’s Harry Potter.
EXECUTIVE ONE
But we adapted all seven books!
EXECUTIVE TWO
Waitaminute… didn’t J.K. Rowling write some fictional textbooks a few years back?
[Pause for that bombshell to make its way through the room. A single tear slides down EXECUTIVE ONE's cheek]
EXECUTIVE ONE
We’re saved!

Aaaaand scene.

I make light, but I really can’t complain. Because new Harry Potter-(inspired) movies!

(via: Deadline)

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  • Gerald Kirby

    It will take place in New York? Thank you! That is the one thing I have wanted more of from Ms. Rowling: What is the wizarding world like OUTSIDE of England? Are there Hogwarts-like schools in North America? How much of a problem are oni for Japanese wizards and witches? With parts of Africa still believing in witchcraft, does that mean that wizards & witches practised magic openly until recently in the Potter universe? I want to know these things!!!

  • Dan Wohl

    Licensed content taking place in the HP universe but having nothing to do with Harry or any of the events in the books is something I’ve wanted for a long time. Hopefully this opens the door to more, including one of my longtime personal video game dreams: an open-world game set at Hogwarts where you create a student and progress throughout your academic career there (doing other magical quests along the way), but set long after the events of the HP books have been resolved.

  • Ellie

    I’ve been reading this story on All The Sites this morning, and each time I go into spasms of joy. I’m just so excited about this. It sounds like it’s going to be interesting and tell a new story but still expand the Wizarding World as presented in the HP books. I can’t wait!
    (Also new opportunities to wear wizard robes. Yes please)

  • DarthRachel

    i’m just .. totally stoked we get to see the wizarding world in NYC. sign me up for extras casting and stupid photo shoots with random monuments/locations that made the film!

    i feel like walking around NYC yelling “Harry Potter!” and giving strangers hifives.

  • Anonymous

    May I say that Voldemort gif is the bestest gif in the whole wide world.
    Will the film feature snarks?

  • blissfulslavery

    7 movies and 8 books? o.O

  • http://anna.balasi.com/ AnnaB

    OMG JKR HERE SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY

  • Irina Ryabchuk

    It looks like Cumbercreature to me.

  • Thomas Hayes

    At least it’s not a reboot. Also nice to see JK broadening her horizons and writing a film, because I can think of very few films I’ve seen written by a woman.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Woops. Fixed!

  • Anonymous

    There’s just not enough mainstream fiction that focuses on America.

    (In all seriousness, it might be interesting to see a wider world of wizardry extrapolated from the Potter books. I’m not much of a Potter fan, and I’ve only read the books and not the supporting ephemera like Fantastic Beasts… but it seems like a sub-universe created with such a nostalgic, whimsical English sensibility that it;s hard to imagine how that expresses itself outside of a British context.)

  • Floweramon

    Intriguing. It’s weird to think that they’re making a movie based off of what is essentially a textbook, but I suppose I could see it being about Newt Scalamander’s journey to document all these fantastic creatures.

  • Nicole Elizabeth Currie

    You’re not alone! If, by some miracle, I ever got to ask Rowling a question, it would be along the lines of the ones you just asked!

  • Gerald Kirby

    Notice I said North America. ;) I’m a Canadian, so for me, a school here or in Mexico would be just as interesting to explore as one in the US. If not more so.

  • Madeleine Odowichuk

    At the World Cup in Goblet of Fire you get a glimpse of witches and wizards from around the world, and iirc some of them use magic differently. I’d love to see how a school of witchcraft and wizardry would be different in, say, China or New Orleans.

  • Flitzy

    Just cast Evanna Lynch in this. I don’t care how you do it but just do it.

    Also, in 1920, Dumbledore could make an appearance too! :D

  • Madeleine Odowichuk

    Also I’d love to see someone write a story set in Canada about First Nations witches and wizards. Maybe it was originally taught within the family, but due to colonialism schools more similar to European academies are more common.

  • Flitzy

    omg, yes. I wish that Pottermore was more like that, actually. I mean I like the artwork but I wish it was more like BEING a wizard rather than a virtual storybook.

  • Flitzy

    I believe the referee at the QWC was from Egypt, as well.

  • http://thecraftyangel.blogspot.com/ The Crafty Angel

    YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Laura Truxillo

    This…seems…odd?

    Like, it would make a very interesting *series* but as a movie it just seems strange. Oh, yeah, and also desperate cash-grab.

  • Laura Truxillo

    *WITH* his boyfriend.

  • http://adventureinepisode.tumblr.com/ DarthBetty

    I just cried a little because that could happen.
    *to tumblr!*

  • http://adventureinepisode.tumblr.com/ DarthBetty

    More possibilities for
    Harry Potter RPG which they should know by now would make ALL DA MONIES.

  • Heather Lynn

    I feel Canada makes more sense, environmentally wise, and that’s from an American.

  • Anonymous

    That WOULD be interesting in theory but I fear HP doesn’t have the best track record with representation or sensitive portrayals of non-white, non-European characters.

    It has a very old-fashioned, sometimes almost Enid Blytonish world-view to my mind (obviously not as bad as Blyton – I’m not saying Rowling is actually racist or anything). The series focuses very much on Britain and white British characters. It’s been pointed out that Hogwarts isn’t very representative of actual
    British ethnic demographics – but that’s kind of fine, because Harry
    Potter doesn’t play in a modern Britain in any meaningful way. It plays in an invented fantasy version of Britain – fantastical obviously in the extreme sense of being full of wizards and dragons and werewolves , but also in the sense that this is a world of picture book villages and quaint little pubs for all the dark magic flashing around.

    Without wishing to detract from the series’ merits (I don’t like them terribly much but I respect the intelligent appreciation of fans of the books and don;t seek to belittle their fandom) I think part of the appeal of the world Rowling creates is its old fashioned, never-really-existed version of Englishness. For all the dark magic and death, the world itself is basically cosy, charming and old fashioned. (maybe one could argue that the series subverts that as it goes through but I don’t buy it – the antagonists represent a temporary interruption to the comfortable status quo of the wizarding world rather than effecting a change in it. Harry’s victory restores the established world order rather than forging anything new. The good wizards triumph to send a new generation off on the magical steam train to toast crumpets in the House common rooms and drink butterbear in ye olde local pubbe).

    That’s fine in the series as it is – I enjoy descriptions of boarding-school japes as much as the next reader.

    But I worry about what this kind of thing starts to look like when the view is widened from its narrow focus on one British school to actually focus on non-European characters.

    Yes, there ARE occasionally non-British, or non-white characters in the series (again, far more occasionally than current British demographics would suggest), but they’re not always without problems and it’s a different thing in any case to have the occasional cameo to actually opening up the story to a wider world.

  • Anonymous

    YESS MORE HARRY POTTER STUFF. We’re gonna get to see the wizarding world outside of England! It’s gonna be in the 20s! Expanded universe! NEWT SCAMANDER PROBABLY GOING AROUND EXPLORING AND STUFF WOOO!!

    …ahem. Sorry. Excited.

  • Spiny Creature

    Agree that HP never tackles (real-world) identity politics, but I definitely wouldn’t criticize its demographics. Considering it takes place in 1991 and Harry’s class is about 8-10% non-white, I’d say she’s being accurate-to-overrepresentative. It’s not taking place in 2012 London.

  • http://thescienceofobsession.tumblr.com/ R.O.U.S.

    Never thought this day would come! How freaking amazing is this?

  • http://thescienceofobsession.tumblr.com/ R.O.U.S.

    I would fall over in disbelief. But YES PLS.

  • Rose

    In my mind this idea works much better as a tv series or mini-series, than as a movie. Not that I’m complaining about new HP content, but I just kind of assumed that with a character like Newt Scamander, and a source material like Fantastic Beasts, it would work better as a sort of monster-of-the-week serial, with each new episode having Newt encounter a new creature or two and learning about them (and I’m sure sometimes fighting them).

    Though, again, I certainly have nothing against more Harry Potter content, whatever form it may come to us in.

  • Alisa Ann Kreuzer

    Eeeeek!!!

  • http://www.according2robyn.blogspot.com/ According2Robyn

    I dunno. I like this, but I prefer my own idea for a Harry Potter continuation, The Crimefighting Adventures of Zombie Dumbledore.

  • WellYesYouMay

    YES.
    Please Ms Rowling, for the love of all things holy, write A Wizarding Travel Guide: Magical Tips for Witches Abroad.
    I WANT TO READ THE HECK OUT OF IT.

  • Charlie

    The videogames better be wizarding world rpg where you get to make your own character or I’m going to be very sad.

  • Kamil Kukowski

    we’ll get “harry potter and the stinky diappers”

  • Emily Hill

    I can die happy now

  • Anonymous

    I liked and unliked this comment like ten times just so I could get the illusion of liking it the most I possibly could. YES.

  • Anonymous

    That’s what I thought too! My first instict was OMG WHAT IF WE SEE DUMBLEDORE AND GRINDELWALD OH MY GLOB

  • Anonymous

    That’s a good point – the statistics I’ve seen relate to the 2001 British census (I guess it’s pretty common to forget Harry Potter is a slight period piece, I usually do). The number of non-white citizens in Britain in ’91 was about 7% against 2011′s 14%. JKR says there are about 1000 students at Hogwarts (about 70 of them non-white students) but she’s… not the best at maths, and some fans have worked out a student body of about 280 seems closer to the mark. That’s about 20 non-white students in the whole school… you’re right, I stand corrected on the demographics point :)

    (The films aren’t period pieces and they’ve got problems, but that’s a different thing).

  • Flitzy

    And Tom Riddle was born in 1926 so we could see him and his mother, too! :D

  • javakoala

    1920s New York means Prohibition. Prohibition means gangsters, flappers, and speakeasies. Holy Mother of Batman. Dumbledore in a speakeasy drinking a gin & tonic while doing the Charleston.

    Edit: Also, maybe Tom Hiddleston and Amanda Pill will make a cameo appearance as the Fitzgeralds.

  • javakoala

    Shut up and take my money.

  • Mina

    That sounds like a wonderful show!

  • Dessa Brewington

    Ah, good to see today’s quota of Wonder Woman’s tragic non-movie status has been fulfilled.

  • Seth Brodbeck

    This reminds me of an article I read for Star Trek: TNG’s 25th anniversary, which compared TNG and Harry Potter’s mutual attempts at having your cake and eating it too:

    “[Rowling] took the aesthetic of old-fashioned English boarding-school life and placed it at the center of a narrative about political inclusiveness. You get to keep the scarves, the medieval dining hall, the verdant lawns, the sense of privilege (you’re a wizard, Harry), while not only losing the snobbery and racism but actually casting them as the villains of the series.”

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8435126/next-generation-turns-25

  • WellYesYouMay

    The more I think about it, the better the idea seems. If she’s worried that she might make mistakes talking about a country she’s never lived in, she can always build a certain amount of that into the book. Travel guides are notorious for carrying the author’s cultural bias, and it would be humorous if “Wanderleigh Waywright” or “Glady Goforth” didn’t know quite as much about some countries as she thinks she does.

  • Anonymous

    I read an interesting point recently that the books being from Harry’s point of view, they necessarily take on Harry’s perspective of other people. Harry is not a people oriented person, he’s an orphan whisked away from an abusive home with a rose-tinted view of the wizarding world, and I think is the source of all the olde-worlde Blytonesque nostalgia. Anything the books say about the demographics of the school and universe in general are skewed by the fact that our hero simply doesn’t notice people unless they are in direct contact with him.

    And yeah that’s the fault of the writer, but its in keeping with Harry’s general character, and it wouldn’t really work if he was more aware of the people around him. One of Hermione and Ron’s functions in the story is to continuously remind Harry that there are other people besides their immediate circle. I think that if we get out of Harry’s head and into someone more observant’s then a lot of the boarding-school myopia would disappear.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve always been curious about how smaller countries deal with their wizarding populations. Would they be scattered or all in a few inbred families? Would they even have any?. Like in New Zealand, we have a population of just over 4 million. Taking the ratio of wizards to muggles in Britain as a global average, that would give us 200 wizards and witches in the whole country. That’s not enough to support a society, not enough to fund schooling, not enough even for a town. Would they just have to go to Australia? Live in a tiny little hamlet in the Ureweras or something? What about the Pacific Islands? I think Fiji is the most populated Polynesian country, but thats only 800,000 people, which is only 40 wizards! Samoa would only have 10! WHERE DO THEY GO?

  • Anonymous

    That’s brilliant, that exactly articulates what I’m struggling to say. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that Rowling kept the nice bits about mid-centy Britain and deleted the bad, but I just think it’s difficult to ever completely delete the bad -what your left with can be the more insidious subtle porblems inherent in the raw materials you’ve built your world out of. For me, there is still some sense of creeping conservatism at the heart of any such setting which can taint things in unintended ways. Like you touch on in your comment, I always found the devotion to this kind of nostalgic Britain undermined a lot of the points the series purported to make. The established, complacent wizard world was right and victory meant returning to that unchanging world. That didn’t tally with any WW2 or Hitler analogy Rowling was trying to make.

    Thanks for the link, I’ll read that right now.

    It also reminds me of a discussion on the Film Talk blog about the Captain America movie. One of the critics found the movie to be practicing an erasure of non-white history: by having Cap operate in a multi-racial, race-issue-free unit, it was telling a pretty lie about American history. The truth was, of course, that there was still segregation and very overt racism in the American armed forces in WW2, but the film wanted to present an unproblematically heroic America. It was worse (the point was made) than just whitewashing and ignoring the issue of race altogether. It actively told a lie about what race relations at that time. I think that’s similar point you yours/the Star Trek one? Sometimes ‘politically correcting’ history (or the future in the case of Trek) can be as bad as whitewashing it.

  • Anonymous

    That’s an interesting point, and it’s true that though the HP books aren’t actually first-person, their POV is so tight to Harry that they might as well be. Though the ‘I’ pronoun isn’t being used it doesn’t mean our view is any less biased towards Harry’s view. True.

    I suppose here, for me, the series is let down by something else, and that it Harry’s character itself. I recently read a great book-length look at the problems of character and storytelling one fan found with the book (Destiny Unfulfilled by Jim Adam – I believe its floating around free online; it’s well-written, thoughtful and worth a read), which made me understand the problems I had with the Potter character better. To quickly summarise in a way that relates to the above: Harry doesn’t really mature or grow in the series. While I can see the 11-year-old-Philosopher’s-Stone-Harry is entirely charmed by this world he finds himself in (especially in contrast to his life previously) he never really seems to move beyond that point. His world remains very clearly demarked into the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ camps, and he retains a slightly childish devotion to the world order that so delighted him at age 11. (I’m overstating the case a little; we do see, though Harry’s eyes, problems at the Ministry etc. Just not enough to really sell the idea that there are any real problems in this magical world except a few bad apples).

  • Anonymous

    I understand not jamming with Harry’s character, and I get the problems with the story that would result from not jamming with Harry. I’m biased, of course, I dont know what your experience with the series is, but I grew up with Harry Potter. I started them at 7 and I turned 18 the day the 7th book came out, Harry was a huge part of growing up for me, though I tended to relate to the peripheral characters best.
    The thing is, I dont think 17/18 year olds are socially or politically much more aware than 11 year olds, especially coming from a place of privilege and power which Harry very much does. I mean you definitely grow up between 11 and 18, physically, emotionally, sexually etc, but I don’t know that you’re significantly more aware of the world around you. I certainly wasn’t… but then maybe I was just a shitty teenager.

    This is possibly getting way off the original topic but shoot I just love talking HP. Thanks for your opinions!

  • Anonymous

    Hey well with Pacific migrants and maybe wizard immigrants from the rest of the world (wizards must want to move to warmer climes too?) you could get a sizable group. Waiheke Island Wizarding Village. I like it, headcanon accepted!

  • Anonymous

    lol I know what you mean – what was this article about again? :D

    You’re probably right about Harry’s lack of mature awareness being fairly realistic, I just thought the lack of it somewhat weakened some of the points Rowling was trying to make. There was some nice stuff in the text about the apparent equilibrium of the magical races being a mask of wizardly complacence (for instance, I enjoyed the nauseating sculpted fountain in the Ministry foyer, it spoke volumes).

    But I thought Harry’s character itself hampered these themes from being developed. Rowling seemed unwilling to ever much develop him beyond being a normal, lazy, low-to-average-ability schoolboy with a child’s view of the world. Meanwhile Hermione was developing and changing – not always getting it right, but growing into a more mature version of herself in response to what the world was throwing at her. Harry (and Ron, always too close to being basically the same character as Harry to my mind) just went on being basically thoughtless and unquestioning of anything beyond the plot mechanics (i.e. he’ll wonder what the answer to a mystery is, but he won’t think about the right and wrongs of the House Elf situation). He can engage with people emotionally, including non-human races, and ave empathy but only as a child might. He never develops that line of thinking to examine his wizardly conscience.

    Since he is our main character, via whose bias we see the world and the story, I feel that meant Rowling’s attempt at themes about prejudice and equality and hate and all that didn’t really work out. Harry didn’t much care so the reader didn’t either.

    (I know I’m being very critical of HP and that’s something I generally avoid: like you say, this is a vitally important series to a whole generation. This isn’t like critisising, say, Divergent by Veronica Roth, which is popular but insignificant culturally. This is Harry Potter, it’s the Star Wars of its generation. I was probably too old by about 3 years when the first book came out to really be part of that. I was 12, maybe 13 by the time I actually heard of it, and by that time I was too old and had already read far too much of the existing pantheon of children’s literature to really be swept away by Harry Potter. I was already obsessed with Philip Pullman by then. It’s not fair to say Rowling is derivative, but when you’ve already read Ursula Le Guin, Jan Marsh, Tamora Pierce etc, writers who cover the same territory, Harry Potter just doesn’t come as such a revelation. I enjoyed the books, enjoyed most of the films except Half Blood Prince – what a yawn – and would have thought no more about them except that they’re such a phenomonen. So I respect what Harry Potter means to a generation and generally don’t critisise it much, which is why I’m probably going on so much now that I’ve started :))

    (Thanks back at ya)

  • Anonymous

    P.S. I read that article and it was absolutely fascinating. I never thought of Harry Potter and Star Trek being cultural equivalents before but I think the idea has a lot of merit (this isn’t quite the point Brian Philips makes, but is kind of implicit there). Thanks again for the link!

  • Anonymous

    I think maybe that is why Harry is almost nobody’s favorite character. It’s the Frodo effect, the main character with the most responsibility in the story also seems to have the least interesting personal character arc (I find Harry and Frodo to have similar character development anyway, especially in the lotr book, apologies to Tolkein enthusiasts offended by this comparison). So while I retroactively love Harry, a big part of it is the nostalgia factor when I read the books now. When I read them the first time I thought Harry was a narcissistic jerk with really poor social skills 80% of the time. My friends and I have been calling yelling by typing in capital letters HARRYCAPS since Order of the Phoenix (actually every time someone goes a bit off the rails for no particular reason Order of the Phoenix is usually brought up)

    And I kind of enjoyed that, it felt real (or as real as something with wizards in it can be). Like being a teenager at the same time as the characters it made sense to me for Harry to be that way. And I get that having a more observant person centre stage like Hermione, it would have probably advanced the social ideas a bit more explicitly, but I thought Harry’s periodic ooohhhh…..shit moments were pretty effective. You know bad things are happening when they get through Harry’s thick skull. And Rowling did a good job of showing us the problems. By Prisoner of Azkaban it was pretty clear (to me anyway) that the wizarding world is not the cheerful egalitarian place that it was in book one. Even among those supposedly on the ‘good’ side at that point.

    And I have to respectfully but firmly disagree with you about Ron. I love Ron. And I think in the books he matures right alongside Hermione (I get angry at his portrayal in the movies). Maybe you see him as an extension of Harry because he’s consistently Harry’s right hand man (except when they’re having a spat), so Harry again doesn’t notice how Ron changes? Ultimately the reason I love the books is the characters. It’s not groundbreaking literature, it’s not even a super interesting fantasy world, and I was reading Tolkein and Phillip Pullman and Diana Wynn Jones right along side HP. It’s the fact that the series was so long that makes it a phenomenon, that a whole bunch of us literally grew into adulthood at the same time as these characters.

    Anyhoo, don’t feel bad for criticising HP. One of the things I hate about a minor but vocal section of the fans is the tendency to leap down people’s throats when they dare to say a word against it. It’s good to have a friendly debate every now and then.

    And man I was going to make this a short post. Sorry for going on at you!

  • Anonymous

    Yup, those are all valid points, I guess and it’s one of those things where one person sees subtlety and nuance, another sees vagueness and undeveloped-ness. It comes down to personal interpretation and response.

    I didn’t mean to imply if you like Harry Pottter it’s because you hadn’t read other books, I just meant that because I was that couple of years older HP came out I’d already gone through the pre-teen/early teenage thing of being absolutely obsessed with a book and particular fantasy worlds. Both Northern Lights by Pullman and Tamora Pierce’s world, and the Discworld took me that way (and I’m still absolutely obsessed with all of them). So by the time HP came along for me it was too late to feel new and exciting to me.

    And it’s not that I’m afraid to criticise the books exactly, just that I think it’s one of those texts where lit crit is not always relevant, it depends on the discussion. HP is way bigger than the books that embody it, it’s a cultural phenomenon and it’s been formative to millions of people (e.g. my ex-flatmate and one of my best mates – we worked in a bookshop together for a while and would debate books a lot but one area where I’d bite my tongue a bit was in disagreeing about Harry Potter. It was something that made her who she was and it would be like insulting a parent or something!).

  • Bad Form

    ….and so Harry Potter gets Americanized…. cheapened and ruined!!
    Damn shame really.

  • Bad Form

    ….and like so many
    good British things, the magical world of Harry Potter get all
    americanized…. cheapened and ruined!! ……Damn shame really.

    Whats magical about the USA????? … NOTHING!! – it just doesn’t have
    the myth, legend and folklore ..and history that Britain does.