Student

22-year-old adult James Ashford recently visited Harry Potter World on his own. This is his sorry tale

Laurie Penny: Elitism, Hogwarts-style

Young people who grew up with the Harry Potter books and films are beginning to tire of waiting to be chosen

Matilda Battersby: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – an obsession

Embarrassed though I am to say it: I really, really like Harry Potter.

Percy Jackson: Gods and monsters

Chris Columbus had huge hits with Harry Potter and Home Alone. Will lightning strike again with his new boy hero, Percy Jackson? Nev Pierce reports

The ten best Harry Potter landmarks

As film-goers psyche themselves up for the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth film in the series, the flight search engine Skyscanner picks the best spots to experience some of that wizard magic.

Sarah Sands: Passion, drama, agony: a British institution in the making

On Friday evening, even as Scotland's latest most famous son saw his dreams dissolve at Wimbledon, the country's adopted daughter played out hers at Leicester Square.

The Return of a Man Called Horse

Directed by Irvin Kershner

Miles Kington: Tall tomes everyone should read on holiday

Sven Goran Eriksson has made all England football fans miserable and many women happy

Revealed: the eight-year-old girl who saved Harry Potter

J K Rowling's new adventure is sure to be another mammoth bestseller. But, reports John Lawless, the first Potter manuscript was destined for oblivion - until the publisher's young daughter read it

Game setbacks push Warthog into red

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there