Sunday, July 29, 2007

On my way to Prophecy!

I'm flying to Buffalo on Monday to meet up with Belinda (LexiconBel) and her daughter Trish and then we will drive to Toronto together for Prophecy. Yeah! I'm looking forward to seeing friends old and new, the IMAX show, the Grand Ball, and these presentations...
  • Is it Canon, Fanon, or Alan? A Discussion on Where Our Love of Snape Comes From (panel)
  • Critiquing ‘Pottermania’ and the Claims to Canonicity by Yogesh Kumar Sinha, Manisha Rajhansh Sinha
  • The End of the Tale (a fan’s overview of the entire series) by Steve Vander Ark
  • The Science of Harry Potter by George Plitnik
  • Wizard Rock Phenomenon by Jolene M. Kernick, Ginger Alford, and Crystal Sullivan
  • Playing In Jo’s World by Steve Vander Ark
  • The Fountain Told a Lie: Dumbledore’s Deconstruction of the Wizarding World by Travis Prinzi
  • Welcome to the Wizarding World by Steve Vander Ark
  • Harry’s Victory over Death: The Christian Content of “Deathly Hallows” by John Granger
  • J.K. Rowling’s Library: Harry Potter in Context by Karin Westman
  • The Meaning of the Phoenix: Love’s Victory over Death in Harry Potter by Travis Prinzi
  • The Alchemical End-Game: The Rubedo in “Deathly Hallows” by John Granger

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Today Show Part Two: full transcript (SPOILERS)

We now have the transcript for the second part of the NBC Today Show interview, this one prepared by AQ staffer Meann. In this part of the interview Vieira and Rowling talk about the influence Jo's mother's death had on the books, the original last sentence of the series, Jo's relationship with Dan, Emma and Rupert, and the record-breaking book sales. The interview contains Deathly Hallows spoilers. Thanks Meann!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Today Show Part One: full transcript (SPOILERS)

AQ staffer Jules has finished a full transcript of yesterday's Today Show interview. This was trickier than usual because NBC released 2 videos with slightly different content. Our transcript contains everything. Thanks Jules!

Here are the canon summaries we will be adding to the themes pages:
  • JKR: "I am dealing with a level of obsession in some of my fans that will not rest until they know the middle names of Harry's great great grandparents."
  • Mr. Weasley was supposed to die in Book 5; but Jo gave him a reprieve. Lupin died in his place.
  • Chapter 34 was the most difficult and the most emotional for her to write; it is also her favorite.
  • In the future, Harry and Ron "revolutionize the Auror Department."
  • In the future, Hermione becomes "pretty high up in the Department for Magical Law Enforcement."
  • Although he was "immensely" brave, JKR doesn't see Snape as a hero due to his bullying and spitefulness.
  • If Snape had not loved Lily "he wouldn't have been remotely interested in what happened" to Harry.
  • Someone new is the Headmaster at Hogwarts; McGonagall was getting on in years.
  • Harry might return to Hogwarts "to give the odd talk on Defense against the Dark Arts."
  • The most satisfying part of the Potter phenomenon is talking with her fans about the books.
  • Jo doesn't think she will write fantasy again.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

NBC Today Show interview part one

The first part of the NBC Today interview of J.K. Rowling with Meredith Vieira and some fans is now online in video form at the MSNBC website, and a text report containing much of the same information is available here.

This part of the interview discusses what various characters are doing at the time of the epilogue, and has a bit to say about Snape. If you haven't read the book yet, this interview contains Deathly Hallows spoilers.

I will add my comments later. Thanks to roonwit for the report!

Unshelved comic strip pokes fun at Pottermania

Unshelved, the comic strip set in a library (and the creators of the "Pimp My Bookcart" contest), is doing a series of Potter strips this week. This one is my is my favorite.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Potter Pages is one year old!

Mild spoilers...

I was going back through old posts and realized that this blog turned one year old on Monday, July 23rd! My first post was a prediction about Book 7, so I thought to celebrate I would make a list of my posts that had predictions in them. I was usually waaaaay off, with the exception of the big question of whether Harry would live or not, and why.

Harry Potter and the HooHaa about Deaths in Book 7 (July 23, 2006)
I see Harry as a stand-in for Jo herself, written as she came to terms with her mother's early death: "The Mirror of Erised is absolutely entirely drawn from my own experience of losing a parent. 'Five more minutes, just, please, God, give me five more minutes.' It'll never be enough." (BBC "Harry Potter and Me," 2001) So for me it just doesn't work for Harry to die. He needs to finish his parents' battle, yes; but he won't really cancel out Voldemort's poison by dying with him. He won't truly overcome Voldemort until he is living his life fully. I don't see how Rowling would have found Harry's death emotionally satisfying knowing that she planned the books in the years immediately after losing her mother.

Researching "Deathly Hallows" (December 22, 2006)
[I really blew this one because I discounted the Arthurian connection and had become convinced that it was a place.]

What do I think about the new title? (December 23, 2006)
I am still struggling with what it may signify and I suspect that like 'Spinners End' it is unguessable. The words are somber, archaic, poetic, even melodramatic -- and incomprehensible to me, even after reading many excellent theories. My best guess is that the Deathly Hallows is both an ancient, powerful place and an object or objects. If you press me I will say that the Department of Mysteries or the Forbidden Forest may hold the key. And I really want to know what her other two titles were.

Deathly Hallows meme (January 19, 2007)
19. Which question from the books would it annoy you most not to have answered?
Hagrid's missing 24 hours on Nov. 1, 1981. [Actually, I am OK with this. I guess it just wasn't as important as we all thought it was.]

What would you ask? (March 22, 2007)
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.

Cover art! Wheeee! (March 30, 2007)
(On the Deathly Hallows emblem) 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?

(On the Scholastic cover) 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. [WRONG! But I don't think anyone guessed that it was Hogwarts, or that what we were looking was a moment just before Voldemort's defeat!]

So, what does JKR say about Book 7? Find out here (April 25)
Forget for a moment about fans not knowing – what she implies here that it is important for the story that Harry also not know the truth of Snape’s loyalties and motivations. What will Harry do when they meet next? Does Harry need to overcome his hatred and trust Snape against all appearances, or arm himself against Snape’s trickery and betrayal? We’ve heard Snape defend himself to Bellatrix; what will he tell Harry if given a chance? Should Harry listen? [On the other hand, I suggest that Regulus might not be dead, and lots of other clunkers]

Deathly Hallows = cemetery amphitheater? (April 19, 2007)
So now I am wondering: did Mary GrandPré search for examples of "hallowed ground" as she was designing the cover for Book 7 and hit upon Arlington? [No, but the resemblance is still eerie!]

Nothing earthshaking (May 27, 2007)
Regarding Harry's eyes, when the advanced guard sees Harry for the first time, someone says something to the effect that Harry's green eyes are what keeps him from looking entirely like James. This convinces me even more that what is important about his eyes is not magical, but the emotional effect that his gaze has on people who loved Lily.

Ten years since Book 1 (July 1, 2007)
Countless children love books because of you, Jo. Thank you.

Harry and the Veil (July 6, 2007)
I believe that a journey into death could be a very fruitful and interesting plot device.

Leaky reports off-camera questions

We can't corroborate any every single one of these quotes, but The Leaky Cauldron has printed an account of the Midnight Launch that features questions put to Jo after the cameras were turned off; the reader was placed near the VIP seats and talked with Jo's sister Di and Jessica!

Do you remember last December how AQ staffer Roonwit found the list of Deathly Hallows decoy titles? One of the ones that Jo considered was on that list, and many of then (in hindsight) appear to have been written by her.

Minnesota Public Radio interviews Mary GrandPre

Frontispiece, Deluxe edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Copyright 2007 Mary GrandPre.

I am listening to a nice long (spoiler-free) interview of Mary GrandPre, the illustrator of the American editions of the books. Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Crann asks a lot of questions about how the artwork comes about, how much artistic license she has, what she feels is so special about the books, and how she was chosen in the first place. Real Player is required; the show was broadcast July 23rd.

Hopefully GrandPre will be interviewed again when she can talk freely about why she chose the specific design elements for the Deathly Hallows covers.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Complete transcript for Blue Peter interview

Meann and Jules have finished the transcript for the BBC Blue Peter show broadcast on July 20th! I love what she says about Neville and Luna, and about her fondness for Daydream Charms.

New canon:
  • Trevor is just a toad.
  • Albus Dumbledore was probably in love at some point in his life, though we shouldn't read too much into it.
  • The time turners really were all smashed in the Ministry (she didn't want a Terminator like situation).

Today Show teasers

Word is leaking out on MSNBC about what is in store for us this Thursday and Friday morning when Jo is interviewed by Meredith Vieira and 14 fans on the Today Show. So far, here are some of the things they will talk about:

  • Rowling "probably will" publish a Potter encyclopedia, promising many more details about her beloved characters and the fate of the wizarding world beyond the few clues provided in the seventh book’s epilogue. The encyclopedia would include back stories of characters she has already written but had to cut for the sake of narrative arc [...] as well as details about the characters who survive “Deathly Hallows,” characters who continue to live on in Rowling’s mind in a clearly defined magical world.
  • The name of character Rowling couldn’t bear to kill.
  • The chapter she "howled" over.
Update: a partial transcript of the interview has been posted on the Time Magazine website!

Send your questions to Bloomsbury

What are your burning questions? Bloomsbury Publishing is now taking questions for the live chat scheduled for 2.00 - 3.00 pm BST on Monday 30 July, 2007.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Thank you Jo!

Thank you Jo, for a book that surpassed my hopes. I didn't expect the poignant parallels to earlier stories: dressing Dobby, "Look at me," and the train symbolism. I was thrilled by grown-up Neville, grinning through his bruises. And I thought the temptations of the Hallows were the perfect foil to the hunt for the Horcruxes. Yes, and Dumbledore's story. How he was an important bridge, psychologically between Riddle and Harry, but could never be the one to finish the job. I think people often look at those who seem to radiate goodness and assume that things were just easy for them, and most times it wasn't. I feel even more strongly now that Warner Brothers needs to find a new person to play our Albus.

As I posted a few weeks ago, I believe that the character of Harry "came" to Jo at a time when she was working through the impending loss of her mother who would very likely never see Jo grow up, never tell her that she was proud of the adult she came to be. I think that the book dealt perfectly with Harry's need for validation from his lost family and his longing to be whole again.

So no, I am not among the disappointed. OK, I know that Jo said this and that in her interviews over the years. Heh. I should know. But things change. I would like to remind people who seem to have read this book with a checklist that Jo told us that “I’ll probably leave some loose ends hanging.” And: “I've never, to my knowledge, lied when posed a question about the books. To my knowledge. You can imagine, I've now been asked hundreds of questions; it's perfectly possible at some point I misspoke or I gave a misleading answer unintentionally, or I may have answered truthfully at the time and then changed my mind in a subsequent book.”

Here are some of the commentaries that I have enjoyed reading this week:

Friday, July 20, 2007

Blue Peter videos!

Mugglenet has posted (spoiler-free) videos of Jo's appearance on Blue Peter today. Enjoy!

Given the timing, we'll very likely need a few days to prepare a transcript.

Video of Jo reading Chapter One

Bloomsbury Press has posted the video from London's Midnight Launch Party of Jo reading the entire first chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Previously Bloomsbury said that they would only make this available for two weeks.

Five-and-a-half more hours until I get my copy of the book!

Scholastic video of "Potter Place" and first signed copy of Deathly Hallows

Take a look at video of Scholastic's launch of "Potter Place" in New York. I wish I was there!

So that's how you pronounce Pensieve??? PON-siv, not PEN-seev.

Update: Bandersnatch has translated the Futhorc runes that run around the edge of the Pensieve in the video, and they say "Who will live and who will die?" and "There will soon be seven." We can't see the whole rim, but it seems that all seven of Scholastic's questions are represented in the design! Futhorc runes are the same ones that Tolkein used for the frontispieces and one of the maps he drew for The Hobbit and his Lord of the Rings books.

Update #2: I noticed in a video of Jo that she pronounced Pensieve PEN-siv. I have had the pleasure of hearing uber-Librarian Nancy Pearl talk several times, and one of the funny soliloquies she does is about how book readers often mis-pronounce things because we have only read them not heard them.

First clips from Blue Peter Interview

First highlights from Roonwit! The BBC has posted some clips from the Blue Peter interview later today on the Blue Peter website. Some highlights are

  • Dumbledore's death is important to the story.
  • If you cried when Dumbledore died you will cry in book 7.
  • Her favourite books to write were books 3, 6 and 7, with Deathly Hallows being the one she liked most.
  • Having denied the Neville/Luna romance on her website, she started to see how it might have worked while writing book 7.
  • Her favourite item from the magical world would be the pensieve, though there are one or two desirable objects coming up in book 7.
  • She said that Albus Dumbledore was probably in love at some point in his life, though we shouldn't read too much into it.
  • The time turners really were all smashed in the Ministry (she didn't want a Terminator like situation).
  • Her favourite Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes objects would be the Skiving Snackboxes and the Patented Daydream Charms.
  • Snape's boggart is probably related to what he would see in the Mirror of Erised, but she won't tell us what that would be.
  • Mr. Weasley's favourite item from the Muggle world, if he could get one, would probably be a computer.
  • If she needed happy memories for a Patronus charm, her happiest ones would probably be the birth of her three children, followed by when Philosopher's Stone was accepted for publication.
Also, the door on Jo's website is open with a list of acknowledgments to those who helped her while writing the books. I want to read them but my eyes keep tearing up.

Update: The BBC has posted a press release that includes part of the interview, and photos of the Blue Peter interview are up on Leaky galleries.

Launch day coming! AQ staff have their quills at the ready

Accio Quote staff (me, Jules, Michael, Meann, Kadi and Kimmers) are ready to spring into action tomorrow to give you the highlights of today's Blue Peter interview ("Harry Potter - A Blue Peter Special" Friday 20 July 4:30pm - 5:00pm on BBC1). Of course we have a certain book to read too, so please be patient.

And a reminder that later today international fans can listen to Jo's reading at the London midnight launch, as it will be streaming live from at the precise moment it is published (12:01am BST on Saturday the 21st, but you can log on at beginning ten minutes before the stream starts). If you're not sure when that is your time, I created a handy clock -- just look for a city in your time zone. If you miss it, the video will remain accessible for two weeks.

"Rowling bids her boy wizard goodbye"

In a new interview by the Associated Press, Rowling reflects on what it felt to finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and her plans post-Potter. Quotage:

But it's only now that she realizes just how intense the pressure has been at the center of the Harry Potter whirlwind.

"I was very lonely with it," she says. "It's not like being in a pop group, where at least there would be three or four other people who knew what it was like to be on the inside. Only I knew what it was like to be generating this world as it became bigger and bigger and bigger and more and more people were invested in it."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More Potter coolness in Tucson

Tucson's two newspapers recently published features on our Summer of Potter!

Arizona Daily Star reporter Levi Long scored interviews with American Library Association President Loriene Roy, Melissa Anelli and Emerson Spartz for his article "Local fans share their love for Harry Potter series" (don't miss the great photos!) while the Tucson Citizen created an awesome Marauder's Map of local events [exhaustive list of events here], and "Potterians wait for final book," an article written by Carrie Bui with interviews of several local fans (me included!). It was a real kick to be interviewed by reporters who were also Potter fans.

My plans on Friday? One more library party (Murphy-Wilmot at 2pm), Jo's reading (4pm), then two or three different parties; around 11:45 I will go to Kids' Center to pick my book up.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Jim Dale speaks (no spoilers)

Jim Dale, the voice of the American audio-books, has been interviewed by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

I especially enjoyed this story:
It's amazing that ... every time I open my mouth in public now, it seems that one or two of the children present are ardent listeners to the Harry Potter books. So much so that one of them, when I was in McDonald's, heard me talking to my grandson. A look of amazement came on his face and he and his friend came up to me and said, "Are you the guy who does the audio books?" and they were "gobsmacked," as they said. One of them said, "Could you order my hamburger as Dumbledore, please?" and the other one said, "And can you order my French fries as Dobby?" and so I did that, and they were absolutely thrilled.
What would you ask Dale to say for you?

By the way, did you know that you can get an alarm clock with Stephen Fry's "valet" voice? The design is cheesy, but there are nearly 50 different wake-up messages. Yes, they ship to America. I should know.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

New article in Time, and a rebuttal

Time Magazine continues its coverage of the Potter books and movies with an article entitled "Who Dies in Harry Potter? God," by Lev Grossman.

If you think Grossman's conclusions are way off, you are in good company. Fan blogger Travis Prinzi (Sword of Gryffindor) has posted a thoughtful rebuttal of Grossman's points.

Note: Comments are being moderated this week for obvious reasons.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Reading to be streamed; live chat also planned

From the Bloomsbury website:

J K ROWLING AND THE MIDNIGHT READING: Bloomsbury Publishing is delighted to announce that now everyone will be able to hear J K Rowling read from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in a live webstream from the Natural History Museum in London at the precise moment it is published - 12.01am bst on Saturday 21st July 2007. The Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows launch event is completely oversubscribed and no further tickets will be issued but Bloomsbury encourages fans to log on to the webstream to join in the experience. The streaming will be available for a further two weeks at

So what time and date is that where you live? Check out the customized World Clock I created and subtract 4 minutes from the time shown for your closest city.

Also posted on Bloomsbury’s site:

JK ROWLING AND THE LIVE CHAT: Harry Potter fans will be invited to put their questions to JK Rowling in a web chat 2.00-3.00pm (BST) on Monday, 30th July. Questions may be submitted one week in advance or live on 30th July at

So beginning sometime on 7/23 we can start sending them in!

Thanks for the links, roonwit!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

More on ITV documentary: tidbit of new canon!

The Scotsman is reporting today on the surprising access that ITV camera crews had to Rowling as she was writing book 7. Apparently they were actually in the hotel room as she finished the book this January! Some of the footage they filmed that day is quoted, most notably that Jo said to the camera crew:
"Thank you...yeah, you don't know, it might be rubbish. Some people will loathe it, they will absolutely loathe it. For some people to love it, other people must loathe it. That's just in the nature of the plot." She adds, "I'm actually really, really happy with it", before bowing her head on the keyboard to exclaim: "Oh my God!"
Some new canon too: Apparently "Castle Duart on Mull is one of the real-life locations that inspired parts of the Potter saga." Which do you think that is? Hogwarts? Azkaban?

We still have no firm date for this documentary.

Washington Post article on Arthur Levine

If I was putting together a dream dinner party, Arthur Levine would be one of the guests; he is always so articulate, book-focused, and informative.

Well lucky us, The Washington Post has published another interview of the man who brought Potter to America, "The Wizardly Editor Who Caught the Golden Snitch." It's a lovely read. No spoilers, of course!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Umbridge for a day (Tucson's Potter parties)

Oh why didn't we film this??? Our Potter parties this week were a blast and pretty freaking amazing!

Professors Hagrid, Sprout, Trelawney and Snape were joined by a representative from the Ministry's Wizarding Examination Authority and me, Dolores Jane Umbridge Hogwarts High Inquisitor for "An Evening at Hogwarts" with crafts, classes, and magic skills testing, with door prizes generously donated by Scholastic Bookfairs (thanks Lisa!). Whew. "Hem Hem"-ing is harder than it seems!

Thania planned tonight's party at the Valencia Branch Library, and she set up tables where everyone could decorate wizard hats with glitter glue and stick-on stars, and make wands by twisting glittery pipe cleaners and putting them in clear straws. This was a brilliant idea, because it ensured that even the kids who came without a costume had a cool hat and wand.

Then Madam Trelawney (Laurie in a memorable bright caftan, blonde wig and nerd glasses) kicked the performances off by telling fortunes, with nary a cheerful one in the bunch. Here's a sample: "You will forget to wash behind your ears and a healthy crop of rutabagas will grow there." Although maybe that one is cheerful if you like rutabagas. Umbridge of course, demanded a prediction and was given a rather gruesome one that involved getting her knickers in a twist. Heh. That one came true!

A surprise guest was in store for the Herbology lesson in greenhouse 13. Our lovely Professor Sprout (Thania) was joined by Gilderoy Lockhart (Steve), fresh from St. Mungo's, though when he wasn't engrossed in a copy of Magical Me he was tormenting Sprout's plants. Unfortunately for him, one was a Mimbulus mimbletonia (stinksap all over him and the audience), and the other was Devil's Snare (oh, the horror!). The most memorable demonstration, however, was the baby Mandrake. No one fainted, though we came close because its cries were so piercing. Unfortunately the lesson was interrupted when Sprout had to take Lockhart to Madam Pomfrey after the devil's snare incident.

Snape (Mike) followed, teaching a mixture of potions and DaDA with a large dollop of drollery. He says "People have been asking me 'How are you? What have you been doing, Severus.' As if they care." Well it turns out that Snape has been learning yoga -- and reading classics such as Charlotte's Web and Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret." His favorite book is apparently How the Grinch Stole Christmas, though he says the ending could be better. Questioning from Umbridge didn't keep him from instructing students in how to do a Patronus or from leading rousing choruses of "EXPECTO PATRONUM!" Fun stuff.

Hagrid came next. Our Hagrid (Fergus) is part Three Stooges slapstick, part rock-and-roll fireworks, and part wise old mountain man. Watching him handle the hecklers is half the fun. Hagrid's class in Care of Magical Creatures covered a monstrous South American bee (ouch!), fairy dancing with his assistant (too bad she had such explosive cooties), a cooties cure with a Tesla machine, an exploding frog, and the mixture of a mash for baby boggarts. The mash was an edifying concoction of flesh-eating slug slime, 4-year-old pumpkin juice, hippogriff mucus (yes, Buckbeak recently had a cold), graveyard dirt, chopped mandrake, Texas gillyweed, pudding, and evaporated milk. Everyone had a go at tasting it and said it was pretty good. Hagrid left them with advice on dealing with people and magical creatures: treat them with respect and all will be well. Magnificent.

Then came Simon Wanderman from the Ministry of Magic's Wizarding Examinations Authority, who tested the kids in the audience for their magical ability. The Wingardium Leviosa test was just awesome, as were the rope tricks. Simon closed with admonishments not to neglect their studies because the Wizarding World is in need of smart people.

After Simon the door prizes were handed out, the grand prize being a deluxe edition Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!

These are my last parties before Book 7 comes out.

Oh my.


Yes, perhaps I will join Severus in some yoga.

More photos available on my flickr account...

Thank you Beth, Thania, Gina, Fergus, Chris, Mike, Laurie, Steve, and the staffs & teen volunteers of Himmel and Valencia libraries! Books+creativity+love x kids=joy.

Cast list for Valencia Branch party:
Rubeus Hagrid: Curt "Fergus" Booth
Severus Snape: Michael Sterner
Sibyll Trelawney: Laurie Fleetham
Pomona Sprout: Thania Mayorga
Gilderoy Lockhart: Steve Shull
Simon Wanderman: Chris Lyon
Luna Lovegood: Beth Rubio
Minerva McGonagall: Michelle Martinez
Draco Malfoy: Wren Sterner
Hagrid's "fey" assistant: Cheyenne
Dolores Umbridge: Lisa Bunker

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Take a look! “Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter” A&E show

Here they are, recordings of the entire A&E show "Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter" have been posted to YouTube.

You ask, what am I talking about? The Harry Potter Lexicon’s Supreme Mugwump Steve Vander Ark was interviewed by the Arts and Entertainment Network along with John Granger (Who Killed Albus Dumbledore?, Looking for God in Harry Potter) and Janet Batchler (What Will Harry Do?) for a show that explores the plot and mysteries of the Potter stories. Fun stuff, I promise.

Originally broadcast July 8, 2007. Thanks to Snitchseeker for the links!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Ross transcript posted

We've posted the transcript of the Jonathan Ross interview! [adult humor warning]. Although our transcript is based in part on the one posted at Leaky, the Accio Quote version includes the green room chit chat before the main interview, as well as substantial corrections and clarifications. Thank you again Jules and roonwit! Transcription typing is numbing, painstaking work.

And here are the official summaries we came up with:

* The trio all have aspects of Jo in them.
* Harry's story comes to quite a clear end in book 7.
* She won't say that she will never write another book set in the Harry Potter world but thinks it unlikely.
* Jo clarified that while there are 2 unplanned deaths in Book 7, overall there will be many more than that.
* The last word in Deathly Hallows is not "scar;" She won't tell us what it is.
* Jo "howled" after writing a particular chapter toward the end.

In case you're wondering, summaries are different from highlights in that they are restricted to what we learned about the books from the interview.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Stephen King says goodbye to Harry

Horror author and Potter fan Stephen King has bid a moving farewell to Harry in his column for Entertainment Weekly. He puts it so well:
Think how it must be for all the kids who were 8 when Harry debuted in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, with its cartoon jacket and modest (500 copies) first edition. Those kids are now 18, and when they close the final book, they will be in some measure closing the book on their own childhoods — magic summers spent in the porch swing, or reading under the covers at camp with flashlights in hand, or listening to Jim Dale's recordings on long drives to see Grandma in Cincinnati or Uncle Bob in Wichita.
No ending can be right, because it shouldn't be over at all. The magic is not supposed to go away.

Rowling documentary this winter?

British tabloid The Sun is reporting that RDF Media has spent the last year filming Rowling with "unprecedented access" for an documentary to be aired this winter. No dates yet; we'll let you know.

Jonathan Ross interview!

The Jonathan Ross BBC1 interview has been broadcast, and roonwit has compiled the highlights:
  • She is more relaxed giving interviews now the books are finished.

  • When asked what she was writing next she said she was taking a break.

  • The trio all have aspects of Jo in them.

  • Her husband has read the book, her daughter is going to read Jo's first (printed?) copy.

  • The last three books have been stolen from the printers (I am not sure if she means 4-6, or 5-7).

  • Jo only agreed to the films being made on condition that only her stories were used (ie, no spin offs written by someone else).

  • Harry's story comes to quite a clear end in book 7. She won't say that she will never write another book set in the Harry Potter world but thinks it unlikely.

Please note that these are summaries not quotes.

Update! A video (quicktime mp4) now available on The Leaky Cauldron [adult humor] Thanks, roonwit!
More summaries, these from SnitchSeeker:
  • Bob Hoskins (also a guest on the show) was asked why he hasn't been in a Potter film yet. Jo implied there was a part in Deathly Hallows he could possibly play [so this must be a new character?].

  • Finishing book 7 was a release, as she's been writing for 17 years.

  • Will never see writing for children as second best.

  • She kept losing the epilogue. It has been changed - specifically 2 unplanned deaths but there will be many more than just those 2 (she used the word "bloodbath" then said that was an exaggeration).

  • She had to establish boundaries as to what magic can and can't do - specifically in relation to death.

  • The last word in Deathly Hallows is no longer "scar". She won't reveal the last word.

  • She was euphoric and devastated to finish. She howled after writing a particular chapter and downed half a bottle of champagne in a hotel, going home with mascara over her face.

Harry and the Veil

A few years ago before the publication of Book 6, I actually had the time to post my theories like everyone else. Over on the Leaky Lounge,the awesome Asphodel Wormwood made an offhand remark about Harry possibly being like Aeneas, and that sparked an idea that I posted that suggested that Harry would go beyond the veil to find out how Voldie had preserved himself. Now, in the wake of Ann Johnstone's revelations, I decided (at John Granger's urging) to update the theory with an eye to Book 7. Today, John published his own thoughts on Harry as Aeneas, a very enjoyable read. My revised theory is below, but do read John's too! It is much more developed than mine. I'd also love to hear your comments!

I am one of the people wondering if Harry will go past the veil; on the other hand, I believe that Harry will survive Book 7. Now, perhaps I have read Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series too many times, but I believe these two things can be reconciled.

I also believe that Jo’s vision of Harry on the train to Manchester cannot be separated from what she was going through in her life: her mother was ill with a painful, terminal illness at the same time that Jo was beginning to assert her independence (Jo’s mom died six months later). The train trip was probably prime time to wrestle with the dementors of pending death and loss.

If Voldemort is guided by an inability to accept mortality, Harry’s journey is guided by his need to come to terms with his “burden” and punctuated by the repeated loss of loved ones. How can Jo *not* use some sort of journey as a part of Harry’s path and allow him “Once more ‘t is giv’n me to behold your face!”

We already know that Jo was inspired by The Iliad (Patroclus/Hector/Achilles) when she wrote the scene where Harry rescues Cedric’s body. What if other tales also influenced Jo’s vision of the series? Gilgamesh, Orpheus, Aeneas and Dante? If one follows literary precedent, you need a couple things: protection, a guide or very good instructions, and you need to follow the directions. In exchange, one might gain hidden knowledge, conversation with dead loved ones, and perhaps even rescue them (we know that won’t happen).

Possible protection:
• His scar, shaped like the rune Eihwaz which symbolizes “All rites of passage, particularly those marking the transition into adulthood, contain the symbolism of death, the idea being that one’s former ’self’ has died and given birth to a new persona. Eihwaz is the passage through which we must enter the realm of Hel in order to gain the knowledge and acceptance of our own mortality, as well as those mysteries which can only be learned from the dark Lady of the dead. The process is a truly frightening one, but it is something we all must go through if we are to confront our deepest fears and emerge with the kind of wisdom that cannot be taught but must be experienced. Eihwaz is the gateway to this wisdom, and lies between life (jera) and rebirth (perþ). Caveat: Jo has said the shape of the scar isn’t the most significant thing about it. Phooey. [source:]
• His wand, made of two symbols of resurrection: holly (which may be used in spells having to do with sleep or rest, and to ease the passage of death) and phoenix feather
• Draught of the Living Death
• One or more Hallows
• His Patronus (Jo has called it a “spirit shield”)
• Another possible effect of Lily’s sacrifice?
• Is this the power that LV “knows not?”

Possible reasons for voyage:
1. To lure Voldemort beyond the veil
2. To speak to his dead family
3. To follow or speak to someone newly deceased
4. To find something

I think the pattern of the Aeneid is the most interesting in this context:
1. Commanded by Jupiter to seek his father
2. Tasks are the price of entrance
3. Guided by the sybil, crossover into death in all its awfulness
4. Revelations of how the underworld is structured
5. Communication with people he knew, including his lover and his father
6. Glimpses of past heroes, and of the future; understanding and acceptance of his role in history
7. Return to the living with the sybil

I hesitate to ascribe to deeper use of the story although some details are very suggestive (“pious” Aeneas, Sybill=Sybil, prophesy while possessed, travel via water to the underworld, Cerberus appeased, the river Lethe, etc.) because I believe that Jo never borrows the whole cloth of something.

A journey into death could give Harry several opportunities: communication with his parents, Sirius and Dumbledore, a way to come to terms with death, information on the Horcruxes, and possibly even knowledge that allows him to know how to finally vanquish Voldemort.

Over and over we have seen Harry overcome Voldemort not by attacking, but by allowing him to touch him/enter his mind/trick him. If Harry has a unique ability to withstand or understand death might he use this to trick Voldemort? And if he meets his family and Dumbledore on the way… I believe that a journey into death could be a very fruitful and interesting plot device.

Support quotage:
• “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.” (J.K. Rowling to Anne Johnstone, July 8, 2000)

• JKR: “I gave him a scar and in a prominent place so other people would recognize him. It is almost like being the chosen one, or the cursed one […] As you know, the scar has certain powers, and it gives Harry warnings. I can’t say more than that, but there is more to say.” (Houston Chronicle, 2001)

• Q: Don’t want to rune the ending, but will we be finding out more about the significance of the shape of Harry’s scar in future books?
JKR: “The shape is not the most significant aspect of that scar, and that’s all I’m going to say!” (World Book Day Chat, 2004)

• JKR: “The other question that I am surprised no one has asked me since Phoenix came out—I thought that people would—is why Dumbledore did not kill or try to kill Voldemort in the scene in the ministry. […] Although Dumbledore gives a kind of reason to Voldemort, it is not the real reason.” (Edinburgh Book Fair, 2004)

• The prophecy: “The one with the power to vanquish the dark lord approaches … Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies … And the dark lord will mark him as equal, but he will have power the dark lord knows not … And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives.” (Sybill Trelawney, OotP ch37)

'Scar' no longer the last word in Book 7

The BBC reports today that the word 'scar' is no longer the last word in Book 7. The source for this statement is tonight's interview of Rowling by Jonathan Ross.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Jonathan Ross interview preview

The Telegraph has posted a preview of tomorrow's Jonathan Ross interview where Jo reportedly says "[I felt] euphoria, devastated, when I finished one chapter near the end I absolutely howled, it had been planned for so long."

AQ staffers Jules and Michael will be working together to get you the scoop as quickly as possible!

"Harry Potter death makes mythological sense" -- or does it?

There's an interesting Associated Press article today on MSNBC where university profs have a go at the question of whether Harry will die or not.

I'm with Philip Ray of Connecticut College who says "For Rowling to have put Harry Potter through all seven volumes just to kill him off, the point of all development would be wasted. Death strikes me as being the strangest ending of all."

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Heartfelt Rowling book foreword from 2002 now available

AQ reader Sharon Johnson reminded us of the foreword that Jo wrote for a 2002 collection of short stories entitled Magic: New Stories. The book was a fundraiser for one-parent families, so Rowling's beautifully written foreword focuses on her experiences as an impoverished single mother. This book is still available for purchase from!

Compilation of all Rowling quotes at film premiere

Unknown interviewer for unknown network (HPANA video)

Q: ...the lady who makes it all come to life is J.K. Rowling. (To JKR) How are yeh?
JKR: I'm fine, thank you.

Q: Have you seen the film yet?
JKR: I have. I saw it a couple weeks ago, yeah.

Q: I have to ask how involved you get in the films. Are you there for a lot of the process? or do you pretty much leave them to it?
JKR: I pretty much leave them to it -- they know what they're doing. But when they need to ask questions then I will give them the answers and make sure we're on track. Yeah.

Q: Are the characters as you see them on the screen now as you wrote them, as you envisioned them?
JKR: Imelda particularly is the most perfect -- which isn't very complementary -- no, she's absolutely brilliant. Very creepy. And I must also say Evanna Lynch who plays Luna. She IS Luna. She's magnificent. I don't think anyone will be disappointed in Luna.

Q: I am assuming then that you had a teacher a little like Umbridge.
JKR: Actually she wasn't a teacher, but did once know someone a little bit like Umbridge, yes.

Q: Obviously we've seen the characters on the screen. Do you then have them in your head when you're writing the stories. Have they almost created and taken the characters further for you?
JKR: I don't. To be honest, I still see what I always wrote. I don't see Dan when I'm writing Harry. No, [distracted by Death Eaters coming out of fireplace] I still see my characters, to answer your question.

Q: It's kind of over for you now, though, isn't it? -- you've just finished the last book.
JKR: Almost ... almost over. Just over 2 weeks time.

Q: Is that sad for you?
JKR: It is sad. It's half and half. Because I really like book 7. Its my favorite, so that's a great way to finish.

Q: Do you have a clear idea in your head or do you just start writing and it develops that way?
JKR: No, I plan. Seven was largely planned for a long time, so I knew exactly where I was going to finish.

Q: What will you do when the books are all out? Have you got plans? Maybe go on holiday?
JKR: Exactly. Holiday. Yeah. We're going on a holiday.

Q: There's so many people here at Leicester Square, and the cinema, and watching online as well -- and we probably want to say a massive 'thank you,' because you've kind brought this to them.
JKR: Don't make me cry this early in the evening. That will happen at midnight when I've had a drink.

Q: Congratulations! Another great film, JK. Thank you.

Daily Mail

But surrounded by fans and stars, J.K.Rowling said she like the movie.

"It's the darkest film but in many ways it's the darkest book so it's
faithful," she said.

The latest premiere comes just weeks ahead of the final book in the
series - which the author said was her favourite.

"It's exactly how I always planned it to be. Half of me feels proud I
stayed on track but I do feel a little bit bereft."

CBBC Newsround

JK Rowling was also there, and talked about the final book in the
series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
"Finishing it was very, very emotional. It was a combination of relief
and sadness really," she said.

Reuters: "Rowling joins stars of ‘Harry Potter’ film"

Rowling said she shared the view of many critics that "Phoenix" is the
darkest of the Potter films so far.

Rowling indicated that the final book would indeed be the last Harry
Potter, and, when asked if she had been tempted to change her mind,
she said: "No, it is really what it was always planned to be."

AP: Fans camp for hours to cheer actors, author at Harry Potter movie premiere

Lindsay Toler reporting

LONDON (AP) - Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling said Tuesday she was
sad but relieved to have completed the final book in her young wizard
saga as she greeted excited fans at the European premiere of the
latest movie in the series.

"Finishing it was very, very emotional. It was a combination of relief
and sadness really," Rowling said at the European premiere of the
fifth movie, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."

Details of her latest book are secret guarded from even her own
family, Rowling said. Fans pleaded for clues, seeking to learn the
answer to the most hotly anticipated plot twist: Will Harry die?

"It's been a hell of a month. I'll want to know what the people in my
house think of it," she said.

London's Leicester Square was transformed for the film premiere,
draped in green and gold to imitate the film's Ministry of Magic.

Asked what plans she had for the near future Rowling said: "I'm
looking forward to going on holiday."

BBC News 24, Razia Iqbal reporting [mp4]

JKR: "It;s really only at the film premieres and the launches of the books that the full impact of it hits you."

JKR: Screaming kids with books in their hands -- what's better than that? It's wonderful!

Sky News Online

JKR on hackers: "Believe nothing. If I start confirming and denying it gets complicated but no-one should be too worried about secrets being given away."

Daily Mail

Rowling was shocked to hear that some fans had camped overnight to catch a glimpse of their favourite magical characters.

"No. They haven't?' she asked. "Poor, poor things."

But she was evidently pleased at their enthusiasm. "It's fantastic and they're holding books and that's the best thing."

Asked what the crowd had to say, she noted: "They're asking all the obscure questions and I can't say yes or no. But they've only got two weeks to wait now so I'm not being too mean."

BBC Newsround, Lizo Mzimba reporting

LM: Now of course you know what I am going to ask you now don't you.
JKR: Probably, but go on. (Laughs)
LM: Is there anything, even the smallest thing imaginable that you can tell us about Deathly Hallows?
JKR: No. It's actually two weeks Lizo, come on now ...


Without a doubt, the highlight of my night was meeting JK Rowling for the first time on the red carpet. Here's what she had to say to me:

"I think in this film, they were brave enough to show Harry as angry as he was in the book, which was a great thing, because I think on the journey that Harry goes on throughout the seven books, there had to be a point where he got angry about the job that he was being asked to do, and so it is a dark book, largely because of Harry's state of mind, and they preserve that in the film, and I liked that. I was glad. And also, Dan does that superbly well."

She also mentioned that Evanna Lynch is "amazing" and that her favorite scenes in this movie are those with the dementors and the Dursleys.

For a full list of Premiere articles, audio and video, see the awesome list at HPANA.

Later edit: Another video has surfaced over on Digital Spy, but it very difficult to understand.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ten years since Book 1

How can that be?

I'd like to wish a belated Happy 10th birthday to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the book that started it all. I first read about it as a Library Assistant working at Sunrise Drive Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona. I was hired to catalog, but when my boss found out how much book acquisitions experience I had, she asked me to do the book ordering too, a job I loved. Shortly after school started in 1998, a book review caught my eye. It was probably this one, though I would swear it mentioned the Smarties Prize and the book auction Scholastic won.

Anyway, I read the book the day it came in and immediately wanted to tell the world how wonderful it was. The equipment list for school! Chocolate frogs! Talking portraits! The creepy, glorious scene in Ollivander's shop! Messages by owl! Mountain trolls and friendship, and the heartbreaking scene with the Mirror of Erised. Odd how things happen: the next day, fourth-grade teacher Gretchen Westhoff sailed into the library. Her class really liked the last book I recommended for class read-aloud (Throw Stone, since she was doing a Stone Age unit), and did I know of something else? Uh, yeah. And since she took the only copy, I ordered one more for the library (my book budget for the whole year was only $1500.00).

By March of 1998 when the kids decorated their classrooms for "Love of Reading Month," every classroom had flying snitches, pictures of Harry, Nimbus 2000s, and lightning bolts. I had bought a precious 2 more copies with Scholastic Bookfair money, and it still wasn't enough.

Now, our library was open during lunchtime and I was the monitor, so my desk was a busy place. After Pottermania hit, it was often 3-deep with boys and girls who wanted to talk about the book, and Ms. Westhoff's class had dubbed me "Queen of Literature." I had been working in libraries and bookstores for 10 years, and had NEVER had that happen. Even more exciting, children who had been poor readers before this caught fire and went from reading Garfield comics to literally anything I could tie-in to Potter -- even the massive Redwall books. When one child ordered Book 2 from, I was touched that he let me be the second reader. Thank you again, Elias.

So to celebrate, I will be seeking out and adding some of the better articles that sum up the Potter phenomenon, beginning with this one written for the San Jose Mercury News. I especially enjoyed ALSC President Kathleen Horner's comment: "It's been very exciting as a librarian -- it's encouraged family reading together, discussion among children about the book across boundaries, it has just been very exciting to watch."

Countless children love books because of you, Jo. Thank you.