Friday, March 30, 2007
Transcript: Arthur A. Levine on the Today Show, 28th March 2007
Meredith Vieira: All of you Harry Potter fans, hold on to your Hogwarts Hats. If you've enjoyed reading the first 6 Harry Potter books from bestselling author J.K. Rowling, I'm betting you're counting down the days to the July 21st release of the 7th and final book in the series. It's called "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", and it will have a record-breaking first printing of 12 million copies here in the US. This morning, Arthur A. Levine, vice-president of Arthur A. Levine Books and the co-editor of the Harry Potter series is here to unveil the cover. Arthur, good morning to you.
Matt Lauer: Hey, Arthur!
Arthur Levine: Good morning. Nice to be here.
Lauer: You've brought these books over here so this is gonna be very exciting for you.
Levine: It is... you know it's exciting because I've been holding this secret now for months, and I'm looking forward to sharing it with other people and actually being able to talk about it
Vieira: I can't stand it. Can I just do this?
Levine: Yeah, sure
(Meredith reaches for the cloth covering the mock-up)
Lauer: Be careful cause she has a knack... she's a little... Meredith is accident-prone.
Lauer: So tell us about the artwork. What are we seeing here?
Vieira: It does not look good for him... for Harry.
Levine: We're seeing Harry in a very interesting situation, and readers will find out exactly what that situation is.
Vieira: We know somebody's gonna die, right?
Levine: We do know, we do know somebody's gonna die.
Lauer: On what page?
Lauer: Let me show... that's the front cover, obviously, here's the entire jacket the way it plays out, it wraps around the whole book.
Vieira: It wraps around the book.
Lauer: What's happening here?
Levine: Well, I can't tell you exactly what's happening here. BUt that is He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and it's the first time he's been shown on the jacket. And actually, it's interesting, cause we've made these extra long... the flaps, the part that's wrapped around the book are a little bit longer than usual, so you have more artwork than usual. It's very beautiful.
Lauer: Do you have... As the guy who brought it here, do you have mixed emotions about this series coming to an end?
Levine: Oh yeah, sure. I mean, when I was reading it, you know I had both the excitement and the power of the book, and the plot driving me forward. But I also was feeling a little sad. It's the last time...
Vieira: Did you cry?
Levine: I did. Sobbing... sobbing.
Vieira: That means that someone we like dies, doesn't it.
Levine: Well, it means that it's a very very emotional book.
Lauer: Just trivia-wise, how long does it take to print 12 million copies of the book?
Levine: It takes several weeks.
Lauer: Congratulations in advance, and thank you. We can't wait to see it in July.
Levine: Thank you very much.
Vieira: Arthur Levine, thank you very much. Just a reminder, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" will arrive at bookstores on July 21st.
Treasure! Patronus! Locket! Silver Hogwarts? Strange triangle/circle emblem! Veils? Hallows? We're trying not to hyperventilate.
We've included some AQ staffer commentary. You can see there is no one right answer!Fanged snake in what appears to be a crystal ball or orb. Reflections in the glass appear to be either open doors or windows.
Lisa: I think this is a vision in a crystal ball of Nagini. Who is looking into it? Whose ball is it?
Julia: Is it a hint that Nagini is indeed a Horcrux? Has Nagini been trapped in glass for some reason? By Harry, his friends or the Order? Is Harry having more visions? Does this lead into the Harry= Horcrux idea? Another prophesy? Does the zoo Boa make another appearance?2) Nighttime scene (full moon!) with a storm of some sort rolling in from the left. There is a castle with tree consistent with depictions of Hogwarts and the Whomping Willow, however the castle is either icy or silver, and the tree has no leaves. This is odd because the grass in front of the castle is green. All the windows are lit and a large doorway is open with warm yellow light shining through.
Lisa: I think Hogwarts is being attacked by Dementors and -- are those giants in the clouds? The full moon may mean that werewolves are about also.
Julia: Yet more proof that Hogwarts will feature in the final volume.3) Equilateral triangle that appears to be carved into marble. The triangle contains a circle; both are bisected vertically.
Lisa: This looks to me like an alchemical symbol, though I can't find any that are perfect matches. I think it is something Jo made up for some purpose. Is it a monogram? A symbol for a secret society? The entrance to the treasure room?4) Stone arch the frames the trio and quite a lot of treasure. Harry, Ron and Hermione seem to be either jumping through the arch or being sucked into it; Harry is almost completely horizontal. Harry has wounds showing through his torn clothing; Hermione also has wounds on her arms. On Harry's back is a small, pale creature with long fingernails and pointed ears holding a dagger with a ruby pommel.
Julia: "In essence divided"? Whatever it is, it is important just as the ring on the spine of HBP was important.
The trio all seem to be having different reactions. Ron (wearing embroidered green robes) is focused off to the left and has his mouth open as if surprised or frightened. Hermione (wearing purple embroidered robes) is focused off to the right and seems to be screaming or shouting. Harry (wearing a plain black t-shirt or sweater) appears to be speaking, his hands are in a warding or conjuring gesture. His eyes are focused straight ahead and something bright is reflected in his glasses. Golden treasure is all around: coins, gemstones (all rubies), silvery armor (snake on front? gryphon?), glass flagons or vials, plates, goblets, a ewer, a helmet with a dragon and rubies on it, and possibly a Celtic torc. No one is holding a wand.
Lisa: Due to all the rubies, I think this is mostly a Gryffindor treasure vault. I also think that Harry looks like he's seen something important and is casting a spell. Why the rich robes for Hermione and Ron? Has there been some sort of ceremony? Did they come here from a place that had cool robes they were trying on? And if that is Dobby on Harry's back, where are his clothes?5) Silvery stag consistent with descriptions of Harry's Patronus. It is lifting its head up and almost looks like it is smiling.
Julia: The location could be in a number of places: Gringotts, the Room of Requirement, at the house of some collector like Hepzibah Smith, the ministry (they must have a treasury), Mundungus's lair, a goblin armoury/workshop, trophy room in Hogwarts or Borgin and Burke's.
The red light in the arch may be fire, an explosion or curse, so it makes sense that the figures are diving away from it. Harry is definitely diving. Ron is also jumping away, somewhat awkwardly and Hermione is also diving a bit awkwardly. They don't have Harry's Quidditch reflexes, you see.
Dobby is clutching tightly to Harry, but the way he is holding the sword is like a call to arms, even though his eyes are squeezed tightly shut.
Clothing: Ron and Hermione have just been at some kind of party or formal occasion as the clothes they are wearing are rich in detail and like dress robes. This scene looks kinda climactic so I don't think is is immediately after Bill and Fleur's wedding. Harry is wearing plainer clothes but the right arm of his clothes looks a bit ornate or else badly worn. It's kinda blurred. They have just been in a fight.
Lisa: for me, this is a symbol of hope that Harry will survive.Bloomsbury adult edition
An oval gold locket laying on a background of dark stone. The locket has an engraved "S" that is studded with small cabochon green stones.
Julia: Last time (HBP) it was perplexing, but this time it is a real no-brainer. It shows Slytherin’s locket against a stone backdrop. The most perplexing thing about this is the backdrop as it may hint the location of the locket. I like the detail on the locket also. The emeralds make you think of the emeralds that were on the columns in the chamber of secrets, so it is definitely THE locket. What does the Adult UK cover tell us? The locket may mot be in any of the places that we have being speculating about
Lisa: Yes, I agree that it is definitely the Slytherin locket, although the stones look like turquoises to me. Something that seems odd to me is that if the Slytherin locket is the same locket found at 12 Grimmauld Place, why didn't Harry notice the big "S?" All we know about the Grimmauld locket is that it is heavy gold and that no one could open it.Scholastic edition
Harry and Voldemort are in a ruined arena (colosseum? amphitheater?) open to a fiery sunset sky, wearing brown robes with their hands outstretched. Tattered rust-colored curtains frame the picture on both sides, and quite a few people appear to be watching. Both Voldemort and Harry are gazing up at the same point off to the upper right. Their hands are outstretched; Voldemort looks like he is warding something off and Harry looks like he is calling it to him. Neither one has a wand. Broken and possibly burned wooden beams are in the foreground. Harry is wearing something around his neck (detail below).
Description from David Saylor, Scholastic's art director: “The front cover of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows features a dramatic sky of oranges and golds. It depicts 17-year-old Harry with arm outstretched, reaching upward. The structures around Harry show evident destruction and in the shadows behind him, we see outlines of other people. For the first time the cover is a wrap-around. On the back cover spidery hands are outstretched towards Harry. Only when the book is opened does one see a powerful image of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, his glowing red eyes peering out from his hood.” (Scholastic press release)
Lisa: I think that the "Deathly Hallows" is a place and that this is what it looks like. Harry and Voldemort are being tested and are not fighting each other. I would really love to know how Grindelwald died. The shadows watching are shadows of the dead, like a ghostly Wizengamot. The rubble is there simply because it is an ancient building.
Julia: I like the way Mary GranPré has depicted Harry. It’s a vast improvement on her earlier covers, bar OOTP, which is my now my second favorite of the US editions. He looks more manly than he did on the HBP cover.
The curtains: Although Mary GranPré has used curtains as a motif on earlier covers (PS/SS, fittingly enough!), I think it means more here. This is the last book, so it is figuratively and literally showing the final curtain or close of the series. It may show beyond the veil (see explanation below). This impression is heightened by the colour scheme which is like a sunset but also like some representations of the afterlife.
The rubble: An indication that a battle has just taken place. The final battle? Or it may refer to the wreckage of some familiar building such as Godric’s Hollow or Hogwarts, which would bring the story full circle.
The structure in the background: It looks like the railway bridge that is often shown in the films but it also looks like an arena of the Colosseum in Rome. Its classical looking anyway - and old - there is a large fissure running down it on one side.
The two main figures: What is interesting, considering that it is Voldemort & Harry, is that it is not very confrontational. Neither is holding a wand and they are both facing towards something outside of the scene and not each other.
Harry: Harry is half facing Voldemort, but it is evident that he is showing Voldemort something. Harry has a very focused look, like he is concentrating a bit, but it is evident from his face and his gesture that he welcomes whatever it is that he is showing Voldemort.
Voldemort: Voldemort is almost exactly the reverse. He has his arms and hands outstretched too, but he seems to be almost backing away from whatever it is and he seems to be fending it from himself = logical conclusion, it is either love or death, or something associated with an afterlife such as the departed. After all, you only have to look at LV’s reaction to priori incantatem to know that he would not welcome the reappearance of those he has killed.
More light on the title?: If I am right, the Scholastic cover shows the Deathly Hallows = the afterlife. The vague other figures in the background could therefore be those that have already died. Or they could be a collective crowd of whatever remains of the Death Eaters and the Order – but that is a more prosaic idea.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
- JKR: "Ravenclaw will have its day!" Jo makes this seem like it will be important.
- Wormtail won't kill Lupin.
- Jo is implying that Dumbledore had a hand in ending WWII when he defeated the dark wizard Grindelwald.
- She gave Harry a fortune as she was poor at the time and wanted him to have a lot. It was wishful thinking.
- Loves fan-theories. People have been very close to figuring out things.
- JKR: "Bits of the final book have been guessed."
- Ron is a character who would swear, but her editor won't let her use swear words.
- A Hogwarts graveyard will not play a role in the last book; it is something fans made up. [Ed: the source was actually Alfonso Cuarón]
- JKR: "When people have finished reading this book, they will really know what to expect in book seven. I think I give very clear pointers to what Harry will do next."
- JKR: "The final chapter, as I've always said, really relates to what happens to the people who survive the story, after the end of the story. And I have made small tweaks to it over the intervening years. And I'll have to rewrite it when I get there."
Note: I have also removed something that Jo was reported to have said because it was *not* in the interview. Although it really sounds like her, she apparently did NOT say: "There is plenty to guess at... at least one thing I think people will probably deduce, there is a mystery left at the end, but I think they might already know the answer if they think about it."
Thank you for the transcript Joanne, you have advanced our knowledge of canon! And thanks too to Owen. You asked some really great questions.Do you have an interview treasure hidden in a box? Check out our "fan challenge" list of interviews we're still searching for.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Perhaps because I am the veteran of many author visits; perhaps because one of my biggest regrets is that I didn't chuck my graduate school work in 1999 and fly to San Marino Toy and Book Shoppe (where I used to work) and stand in line to meet Jo. You see, I was confident that she'd tour again.
Anyway, Ted Brock's November 1999 article for the Modesto Bee is a delightful read -- it captures perfectly those early days of fandom.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Hmmm. Would I try to wheedle something out of them?
I decided I would ask what they loved about it and did they find the ending satisfying. That's what's important to me.
It surprised me to discover this. I used to theorize a lot over on HPANA, but I have realized that I don't want to figure it out, I just want it to be enjoyable and feel "right." I want to have moments again where I ask myself "how did she think of that?" and times when I get that shock of recognition of something she is lampooning or just the funny details she adds. In Book 1 it was the list of things Harry needed for Hogwarts that hooked me. And in Book 3 the smart-aleck mirror. I want more moments like those before the series ends. Lots more moments like those.
What would you ask?
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Our new Accio Quote! staffer Jules dug up this quote from Jo's website which is quite apropos of the moment:
FEBRUARY 28th 2006Jules and I say "Thanks for the extra chapters Jo!"
'This always happens. I make a plan, it looks nice and neat, then I get to actually write the book and realise that Harry can't possibly do all that in just one chapter. So what I thought were going to be two chapters have now become four. I still don't think the book [Book 7] will be as long as 'Phoenix', but if that keeps happening... no, it won't. I'm looking at the plan, and it can't. Surely. Please.
Nothing else I can tell you at the moment. Well, there's LOADS I could tell you at the moment, but I can't. Sorry'.
Friday, March 16, 2007
- Mosag (Aragog's wife) is a Gaelic epithet meaning "dirty female or filthy."
- Jo shows two of the books she used for research: Fortune Telling By Cards, and Culpeper's Complete Herbal.
Can you identify the fortune telling book? The title, Fortune Telling by Cards, has many different editions and authors. It appears to me to date to the late 19th or early 20th century, so I think it is this book:
Prangley, Ida B. Fortune Telling by Cards, Describing How Card Are "Read" by Persons Professing to Tell Fortunes by Their Aid. London: L.U. Gill, 1900.Unfortunately rare book websites like alibris don't show the cover for this 1900 edition.
Culpeper's Herbal is readable/searchable online via Bibliomania.
P.S. I have links to the video here: Accio Quote!
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Later edit: I forgot to mention that you can also read a transcript of the video excerpt.
1999: Time | Time | NYT | NYT
2000: Time | Time
2001: Time | Dish
Monday, March 12, 2007
On one hand, adding Madam Scoop's summaries to the list of citations made it easy to see what articles had canon-level information; but on the other hand, the pages were harder to use because they were so cluttered. Well, I think I found something I'm happy with -- the "by year" pages are now in chart form (samples 1997 - 2001 - 2005). Well most of them! The really big ones (1999 and 2000) aren't converted yet. Let me know what you think.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
- "Boy wizard frees trapped mother," Sunday Times (London), December 6, 1998
[Excerpt] Potter was drawn as a bespectacled hero because Rowling had worn thick glasses as a child and had been frustrated that spectacle-wearers were always the swots but never the heroes. The qualities that Rowling admires in Harry are also the ones that she has probably had to develop herself.
- "Wizard with Words," Telegraph Magazine (London), July 3, 1999
[Excerpt] She has a large working occult library and it's hard to catch her out on her magic. She was pleased to be quizzed by a boy on the difference between charms and transfiguration.
- "Just Wild About Harry," The Scotsman (Edinburgh), July 8, 1999
[Excerpt] Adele Geras: ... when you embark on a saga like this you commit yourself, and that's part of the fun. You're one of the ones in the know: a Harry Potter fan. You can swap words and catchphrases which mere mortals won't recognise. You can make allusions that go over the heads of the ignorant.
- "HP's novel encounter," The Times (London), June 27, 2000
[Excerpt] "To Bryony - who is the most important person I've ever met in a signing queue & the first person ever to see merit in Harry Potter. With huge thanks. J.K.Rowling." The "huge" has been underlined four times, signifying the contribution that Evens has made to this particular phenomenon. For it is she who, while working at the Christopher Little Literary Agency as office manager, opened the post one morning in 1996 to find her attention drawn to a black folder.
- "Mother of all Muggles," The Irish Times, July 13, 2000
[Excerpt] No one would ever pick Rowling out as the creator of these books. She is not sufficiently weird or offbeat. She doesn't even have bright purple socks.
- "Media: Harry Potter and the Horrible Hackette; Which Interviewer Inspired the Venomous Portrait in J.K. Rowling's Latest Bestseller? Severin Carrell Rounds up the Likely Suspects," The Independent (London), September 5, 2000
Jo has said that the character Rita Skeeter was written long before she had to deal with unscrupulous reporters, but this writer tries to guess anyway.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
The most interesting comment refers to Voldemort. Rowling says that in book 7 Voldemort will finally get the "legroom" he has been "aching" for. Thank you to Julia Crimmins for the reminder.