Saturday, June 30, 2007

New Canon! Johnstone article from 2000 now available in full

I was chagrined that we didn't have the "June" 2000 article that Herald writer Anne Johnstone cites in yesterday's piece; however I have located it and added it to the archive. The actual date of the article is July 8, 2000, even though the interview actually took place in June.

What is interesting is that the original version of the "death cannot be reversed" quote is different -- and more interesting -- than we were told yesterday. Can you spot the difference?

New Canon!
One of her fundamentals is that you can't reverse death: "That's a given. Without it the plot would fall apart, though in Book Seven you'll see just how close you can get to the dead. You can be brought back from being petrified and from injuries that in the real world are mortal, depending on the degree of skill that a particular wizard possesses. You can't go to any wizard and say 'Will you cure my terminally ill relative?' It's a mirror image of the real world in that sense."
Snape is a compendium of all the bullying teachers she ever encountered [actually a variation on similar comments on Snape].
In Philosopher's Stone I had a game of chess between Harry and Ron which Ron won by using a particularly violent bishop. My editor made me take it out. He didn't want me to have a bad bishop. Well, he's back, I have a different editor now." [This refers to GoF23, where Ron beats Harry at chess with the bishop.]

In the AQ "themes" area, this will be summarized as:
--Death is not reversible, even in the Wizarding World, though in Book 7 "you'll see just how close you can get to the dead."
--Snape is a compendium of all the bullying teachers she ever encountered.
--Jo had to remove a chess scene from Book 1 that featured Ron winning by using "a particularly violent bishop."

Later edit: Here is the chess passage from Goblet of Fire: Hermione "sat down to watch their chess match, which culminated in an exciting checkmate of Ron's, involving a couple of recklessly brave pawns and a very violent bishop." (GoF23) Context: Christmas holiday, before the Yule Ball.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Ten years on, Reminiscences of Herald reporter Anne Johnstone

Anne Johnstone of The Herald (Glasgow) was the first newspaper reporter to interview J.K. Rowling, and today she has published her memories of how the June 1997 interview came about, as well as her thoughts on how Rowling's relationship with the press inevitably changed.

To give you an idea of how very early Johnstone met Rowling, in June of 1997, the first book wasn't published yet, much less won the Smarties Prize and become a bestseller. Scholastic had won the auction for the U.S. rights a few months earlier, but the (seemingly) enormous amount they paid hadn't been announced yet.

P.S. Reading this made me realize that I needed to re-work my 1997 listing and timeline. The dates are, to the best of my knowledge, correct.

P.P.S. Several readers wrote me to question my date of July 1st for the U.K. publication of book 1. The Bloomsbury site lists "June 1997" in their timeline and lists June 26th. I believe my source for July 1st was one of the articles in the archive. Regardless, I have changed the date in the 1997 listing to June 26, 1997. Of course, this means the Anniversary notice I was going to post today is 4 days late. Pooh.

Must watch: Great Snape Debate

I just finished watching the Borders-sponsored "Great Snape Debate" film from the Phoenix Rising conference in New Orleans this May. It's brilliant; I can't recommend it more highly. Wow.


Here are the topics the panel considered:
Chapter 1: Panel Introductions
Chapter 2: Harry as a Witness
Chapter 3: Snape: More Interesting as Friend or Foe?
Chapter 4: Snape: Black, White, or Morally Gray?
Chapter 5: Snape and the Unbreakable Vow
Chapter 6: Snape and the Unbreakable Vow II
Chapter 7: The Motivations of Snape
Chapter 8: Lucky Potion/Greasy Kid Syndrome
Chapter 9: Snape Loving Lily?
Chapter 10: A Mother's Love
Chapter 11: The Unbreakable Vow Theory

Thursday, June 28, 2007

New article on unprecedented security for Book 7

Time Magazine writers Lev Grossman and Andrea Sachs have posted a very interesting piece today entitled "Harry Potter and the Sinister Spoilers" about the security for Book 7. Have you ever wondered how exactly the manuscript for Deathly Hallows was sent from Jo to her editors? Who has read the book and what keeping the secret is like? Grossman closes with something to chew on:
But even if the spoilers were genuine, it wouldn't matter.

On this point, both hacker [Gabriel] and publisher share a key misunderstanding of what reading is all about. People read books for any number of reasons; finding out how the story ends is one among many and not even the most important. If it were otherwise, nobody would ever bother to read a book twice. Reading is about spending time with characters and entering a fictional world and playing with words and living through a story page by page. The idea that someone could ruin a novel by revealing its ending is like saying you could ruin the Mona Lisa by revealing that it's a picture of a woman with a center part. Spoilers are a myth: they don't spoil. No elaborate secrecy campaign is going to make Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows any better than it already is, and no website could possibly make it useless and boring.
Hmmm. On that note, I will say that this article contains no details about spoilers, alleged or otherwise. =) Thanks to Meann for the tip!

Time magazine republishes entire archive of Potter articles

Do you need some enjoyable, spoiler-free reading? Time Magazine has quietly been republishing their entire archive of Potter articles, and there are some real gems. In all, eight that are not archived here on Accio Quote! I will be adding them, but in the meanwhile, check this 2-page list out.

Highlights (so far -- I'm still reading them):
---Richard Corliss's scathing July 2000 editorial on the New York Times Book Review's decision to remove all children's books from their official list of bestsellers.
---Jennifer Hunt's early paeon (2000) to the adult Potter fan, and the letters readers wrote her in response.

A new fan challenge: Durmstrang in Scandinavia?

According to AQ reader Constance Vigilance and HP4GU member Pam Scruton, a transcript exists somewhere of a reading Rowling did at "Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre" in Glasgow, December 9, 2000. According to Pam, Jo told the audience (roughly) where Durmstrang and Beauxbatons are. We'd LOVE to confirm this! Here is an alleged snippet...

"Durmstrang is in northern Scandinavia - the very north of Sweden or Norway and that is somewhere near Cannes in the south of France. She says she doesn't know for certain because, of course, the exact whereabouts of these schools is a closely-guarded secret to which she is not privy!"

I have added this to our "Fan Challenge" list of lost interviews. E-mail me, please, if you have preserved this transcript somewhere. Thanks for tip Constance!

Later edit: Meann has confirmed that the reading took place: BBC News

Edit #2: More digging! I have found a fan report of the reading from the archives of Harry Potter for Grown Ups, and written to the woman who posted the report. Jules found a Mugglenet editorial that comes to the same conclusions but doesn't cite the Glasgow reading, and roonwit found another confirmation [pdf] that the reading really took place.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Harry Potter Family Craft Night at the library

The Potter fun continued in Tucson today as nearly 50 children, teens and parents came to Columbus Branch Library to make "magic quills." OK, they're not really quills, they're feather pens.

I *did* bring a real feather quill and a modern calligrapher's pen and a bottle of ink so kids could try them out. The feather quill was a big hit because of the scratchy noise it made.

I also bought novelty paper that looked like a scroll, printed J.K.'s address at the top and encouraged the kids (and parents) to use their new pens to write a note to J.K. Rowling.

Feathers, the sparklier the better (I used trimmed peacock feathers)
Pilot (TM) pens, caps and casings removed
Wide straws, preferably clear
Glittery yarn or iridescent detailing tape
Optional: 4" pieces of wire and iridescent beads

1) Stick the feather down the top of the straw until it comes out the other end.
2) Insert the pen innards into the bottom until the end of the feather rests on the flaired ledge of the bottom of the pen.
3) Slide the straw down until it meets the flaired ledge of the pen. It should be snug so that the feather doesn't slip out.
4) Take the detailing tape and use it to cover the straw from one end to the other. Spiral up it like a candy cane. Or, if you are using the yarn, anchor it with a knot at one end and either spiral up the straw or make half-hitch knots. Anchor it on the other end with half-hitch knots or glue.

You're done! If you want to have a jewelled quill, make a loop at one end of a 4" piece of wire, string beads on it, bend the wire after the last bead, and stick the free end of the wire down into the straw.

Big thanks to Shannon and Jen, who were a huge help!

I was able to find all of the supplies at a large craft store here in town. The only thing that was a little pricy was the detailing tape. The trimmed peacock feathers (no eye, but still lovely) came in a 10-pack.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Beware NYT article on spoilers

In writing about fandom and spoilers, I believe that today's article on the New York Times "Defenders of Secrets, Unite!" is too explicit, and may detail a spoiler itself. The writer basically interviews the heads of the major news fansites and authors of commentary books about how they feel about spoilers and how Book 7 might end, so if you keep up on the news at The Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet there is nothing new here.

Later edit: If you are trying to stay spoiler-free (even the hoax ones), skip the Keith Olbermann video on MSNBC too.

Maybe I could replace Pince...

I got my W.O.M.B.A.T. test results, and the Wizarding Examination Authority wants to know if I have "ever considered a teaching post at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I think they need a REAL librarian!

Jules got an "O" too.

What would you want to teach?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Four articles added

No new canon, but we have added an essay written by Rowling about caged beds, articles about the coming movie and computer game that might indicate points of canon, and an article that provides some interesting statistics on the Potter phenomenon. Thanks to Jules and everyone who sent them in!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Awesome Potter party in Tucson!

Well. What fun! We had about 400 people come to our Harry and the Potters concert tonight. People came from Tucson, Nogales, Green Valley, Sahuarita, Safford, and Phoenix.

Earlier today I joined Sue, Melissa and John for lunch and then they did the PotterCast at the Borders bookstore. I tried to stay in the back of the crowd but they asked if I'd do a face off with John. It's sort of like volleyball where you keep trying to best each other naming stuff in a list. Then Melissa said the category was POTIONS! Ack! Panic! Total mind wipe! I completely bombed and we never made it past naming even 2! Well the PotterCast was good fun and they had a hip, very sharp audience.

Then I headed over to the library where everyone had been decorating and the band was setting up. I have amassed such a collection of things that they were able to decorate the whole room with my stuff, and dress 5 of the staffers and one child in my robes. What? Doesn't everyone have a birdcage with Hedwig in it?

We tried to keep the party simple: get fortunes from Trelawney, photos with Hagrid, and yummy food. We also had a costume contest. And then the Potters took the stage. They are really tight these days! Of course their act has always been great -- we ate up all the earnest dorkiness. What tickled me the most was their explanation of how the Harrys got started as a band. Nope, I won't spoil it for you. It isn't canon, but it should be!

Favorite moments: During the costume contest a precocious 9-year-old Harry entered one round with a 16-year-old Cho. "We're together" he said. Another pair (this time sister and brother) was 5-year-old Harry and a 7-year-old dementor. Totally cool! Or when people were taking photographs together afterwards and someone shouted "Slytherin Stinks" instead of "cheese," then I heard one of the band members say behind me "no, they're just complex." Or the look on Hagrid's face when I pulled my treo out to text someone. Incongruous, apparently, since I was dressed as Molly Weasley.

The Arizona Daily Star will be doing a big article on the party for one of the weekend editions; they even sent a photographer to the party who set up a mini-photo studio to take pictures of everyone's costumes. So there are definitely photos coming!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Lexicon's W.O.M.B.A.T. commentary posted!

Well, most of it. Steve is the director of a cool community theater and they have a huge rehearsal today for Beauty and the Beast; he will post his comments later.

You will see from my comments that there will be no "O" for me this time! Pooh.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Jo to tour the U.S. in October

I hope our readers are right and Jo will tour other countries as well, but for now American Potter fans are dreaming of meeting their favorite author. Jo updated her website with the news that she will be touring the U.S. where she will "read from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series, answer questions about the entire series, and sign copies of the latest book."

I missed her in 1999 because I had just started graduate school. I will do what I can to see her in NYC!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Diane Rehm Show audio available again!

AQ reader Terrah has written to tell us that the awesome interview of Rowling by Diane Rehm is available for listening again!

In this interview, Rowling speaks of Harry's "burden," how she came up with the word "Quidditch" and what Harry's seventh year at Hogwarts might be like. And if that isn't all, Rowling reads the passage from Book 1 where Harry's wand chooses him. You can't listen to it and not get goosebumps.

Transcript here, courtesy of Jimmi Th√łgersen.

Many thanks, Terrah! We are very pleased that this is available again.

Locked door opens, W.O.M.B.A.T. test inside

J.K. Rowling's official website has posted the third and final WOMBAT test!

Here are the access instructions from the Harry Potter Lexicon:
1)Click on the pink eraser to get to the room with the locked door.
To open the Door and activate the WOMBAT:
2) Click on the fly that lands on the window, it will turn into a key,
3) Drag it to the lock and let go, the key will turn and the door will open.
4) Drag the ring onto the rod, it will sparkle if placed correctly.
5) Drag the triangle onto the rod and ring, it will sparkle and move to the desk.
6) Click on the WOMBAT paper to open the test.

Good luck to everyone!

Three interview dates announced!

Here they are, the dates for three Rowling interviews! Thanks to The Leaky Cauldron for the update!

July 6: Jonathan Ross (BBC One) [press release]
July 20: Blue Peter (BBC) [press release & contest info]
July 26, 27, 29: Today Show (NBC)[press release]

So the Ross interview will be pre-movie and book, Blue Peter will be the day before the book comes out, and the three-part Today Show interview will wrap it all up.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Two interviews with artist Mary GrandPre

Of course GrandPre is not doing to tell us what happens (you wouldn’t want that anyway!), but she does talk about how she creates the covers, and provides clues to those of us who are trying to figure out what they might mean.

Potter artist Mary GrandPre makes magic” by Janis Campbell, from the Detroit Free Press, dated June 5, 2007

This article is mostly autobiographical and doesn’t really discuss her artwork. However, she does say something interesting about the details she works into her paintings:

And speaking of the final cover, does she get a kick out of all the excitement created by the early release of the cover? “I think it’s fun to see the reaction from people. The fans that are really diehard fans look very closely at the artwork,” Mary says.And they should. “I try to make everything have a meaning. … There is a reason why something is in the illustration. I don’t just put it in because it looks better. It really does have to have a meaning or part of the story has to support it.”

Harry Potter illustrator says goodbye” by Molly Millett, from the Pioneer Press, dated June 7, 2007

This is an interesting one if you are curious about her technique and how the design of the images has changed over the years. Do you have a veil=curtains theory? Read what she says (snippet below) about the curtains on Book 1 and 7! I’m not sure she has closed those ideas down — she doesn’t say it isn’t *also* the veil. Indeed, if the curtains are there solely for compositional/symbolic reasons, it would seem to contradict her statement in the earlier article.

When asked to specifically critique her work, GrandPre says: “The first couple, three covers, definitely, they were smaller figures; it was more about a big scene happening in the book. And then we started to close in on Harry and started to deal more with mood or atmosphere. For the last one, I took the curtains from the first cover and put them on the last one. I brought back some of the jeweled tones but kept the more strongly rendered Harry.”

What do you think?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Deluxe edition cover art!

Oh my goodness, we finally have Deluxe edition (U.S.) cover art!

Later edit:
I have been reading some wonderfully creative theories! My own contribution to the nuttiness is in the comments.

From the Scholastic Press Release: David Saylor, Vice President, Creative Director, Scholastic described the art as:

Set during a highly dramatic sunset, Harry, Hermione, and Ron–clothes in tatters–cling atop a flying dragon in this astonishing artwork created by Mary GrandPre for the deluxe edition. As mist creeps down towering hillsides to a village below, questions arise about where the trio is headed and what has led them to this spellbinding moment.

The covers were revealed this morning by Arthur A. Levine on the Today Show (NBC). According to their webpage, "Arthur said the image on the cover is one of his favorite scenes in the book and he specifically asked that it be the image of the deluxe cover."

Usually there is also bonus art inside the deluxe edition. According to the press release, Here’s what we still haven’t seen yet:

* never-before-seen full color frontispiece art on special paper.
* "Illustration Showcase" insert that features near scale reproductions of Mary GrandPre's chapter openers
* bonus black-and-white illustration that appears at the end of the "Illustration Showcase"

The deluxe edition will be a total of 816 pages; the suggested retail price is $65.00 and the print run will be 100,000 copies.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

My library gets dotty for Potter

My library just launched its Potter webpage, and it is simple, but really nicely done: Pima County Public Library.

P.S. The downloadables are mostly ones I made. The "Fiendishly Difficult" one was created by the whole Lexicon staff for the 2005 showdown between PotterCast and MuggleCast.

Rowling essay from 2005

A few weeks ago AQ Reader Sharon Johnson reminded us that Jo wrote the introduction to a 2005 book entitled "One City" about her attachment to the city of Edinburgh. Thanks to Meann, it is now available for your reading pleasure. The book is still in print and available at

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Luna's Patronus? Possible spoiler

Harry Potter Latino is reporting that Evanna Lynch told them that according to Jo, her Patronus is a hare. She also said that the horse shown in the trailer belongs to someone else. This confirms a tentative report by "Carlos" to the Leaky Cauldron.

I asked Pablo for an English translation...

El Cronista: And what what about the earrings you are using? Did you make them yourself, like in the movie?
Evanna Lynch: Oh, yes. But J.K.Rowling gave me this one herself [pointing at her silvery necklace with a hare and a moon ("Luna" in Spanish means moon)]

El Cronista: Oh, it's your Patronus!
Evanna Lynch: Yes, the hare!

El Cronista: Because in the trailer it seems more like a horse.
Evanna Lynch: But that's not mine. I don't know who the horse belongs to, but mine is the hare, I've seen it.

The hare is associated with the moon in the folklore of several different cultures.

Transcript of 1999 Donny and Marie interview

Laurel Carmer has sent another of her transcripts! This one is from the November of 1999 "Donny and Marie Show" when Rowling was touring the U.S. promoting Harry Potter and the Prince of OZ. Oh, darn I can't read the cuecard!

Thanks, Laurel!