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Harry Potter No. 5 preview is on the block

With the book still in the works, author J.K. Rowling has signed a 93-word outline that Sotheby's will auction off for charity.

November 22, 2002|Jane Wardell | Associated Press

LONDON — How much is someone willing to pay to find out what happens to boy wizard Harry Potter in the next installment of his adventures?

Sotheby's auction house figures about $9,400.

That is its estimated price for a 93-word handwritten document by author J.K. Rowling that reveals the outline of the plot of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."

Sotheby's has released a teaser of the highly prized document, which alludes to "Ron ... broom ... sacked ... house-elf ... new ... teacher ... dies ... sorry."

The autographed statement is titled "Edinburgh 2002 -- Things I can tell you about 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.' "

The other 69 words written by Rowling about the eagerly awaited fifth Harry Potter book will only be disclosed to the buyer, who must purchase the paper sight unseen at the Dec. 12 auction.

The publicity-shy Rowling agreed to the sale to raise money for Book Aid International, a charity that supplies books to the developing world.

Harry Potter fans have grown increasingly curious about the fate of their hero as the author has declined to publicly select a release date for "The Order of the Phoenix."

The first Harry Potter book, published in 1997, was "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" -- released in the United States as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." The second and third volumes followed over the next two years, and the fourth, the mammoth "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," appeared in July 2000.

This naturally raised hopes that the fifth would follow at the same rate. But two summers have passed without a sign of Harry and his magic pals reappearing.

Rowling has repeatedly denied she is suffering from writer's block and said there was never any intention of publishing the fifth book in 2001. The author, who married anesthetist Neil Murray, 31, last year, is expecting a baby; she has a 9-year-old daughter, Jessica, from her previous marriage.

In the meantime, fans will have to make do with revisiting earlier installments in print and on film.

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," the second movie in the series, opened a week ago.

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