As Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows rolls out of stores officially on July 21, 2007, I thought that it was inevitable that a copy will leak out in the week before that. After all, more than 20 million copies are shipped to some 60 countries, making it extremely likely that someone gets tempted and breaks the seal.
In late June, a "hacker" called Gabriel claimed that he had hacked into Bloomsbury, and gotten hold of the manuscript. But the spoilers he gave out were so far fetched that nobody believed him.
Around July 13, I came across a livejournal post which had photos of the book. The Table of Contents, the first page of the first chapter and the epilogue were posted. The photos looked exceedingly real, and the contents very believable. The TOC was very convincing, but the epilogue read like an amateur fanfic. I was initially skeptical, but when the whole book was photographed and uploaded, I was convinced that this was the real deal.
That was until I saw the second TOC.
Yes, another scan with the table of contents surfaced online. And it looked ... real. As real as the first one. With completely different chapters. The photoshop experts in the PortKey and SA forums analyzed this one( as they had analyzed the earlier one) and found no traces of photoshopping.
It is important to note that both these photographs were of legit looking books. If fake, the creator would have to actually print out the fake contents on the correct size paper, bind it into a book of appropriate thickness, cover it with a high-res color printout of the cover-jacket on glossy paper. The faker is no amateur. The artwork, page numbers, page layout style, font etc exactly match the actual books.
Today(July 16), it got worse: A video surfaced. Two guys, apparently working for Borders bookstore, go into a vault inside some store. There he takes a copy of the book, very authentic looking, and opens the page where they show the copyright etc. The contents of the page and the ISBN number all match with known information. Behind him are the boxes in which these books are shipped, together with a "DONOT OPEN TILL JULY 21" sticker. Then the person tells the major plot-points of the book. And .... these points have nothing to do with the two leaked versions of the book. The setting of this video is very believable. There is no doubt that they are in an actual bookstore surrounded by actual boxes of harry potter. So these guys at least had access to the book, if nothing else.
The word going around in the forums is ... all of them are fakes. Extremely good fakes , so good that its unlikely that some fan created them for fun. Is it too far fetched to think that the publishers of the book leaked these fakes to confuse those who are trying to spoil the show? Creating realistic-looking fakes would be very easy for the publishers.
So which one, if any, of the leaks is true? Is this the biggest and most elaborate hoax ever done in the history of publishing? Or is it just a big conspiracy theory with no basis?
You have undoubtedly clicked on this link by mistake. To preserve your sanity and general well-being, LEAVE THIS SITE AT ONCE! If you are still reading this, you either don't understand English very well, or you are so past the boundaries of sanity that any further insanification is of no concern.