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'Harry Potter' Author J.K. Rowling Enchants Readers on Her U.S. Book Tour

Fred Topel
Special to Hollywood.com


The publication of the final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, has hardly been the end of the magical phenomenon surrounding the young wizard's adventures. With two movies still to come, author J.K. Rowling is touring the country signing books for children and answering their questions. Her Open Book Tour stopped in Los Angeles, New York and New Orleans from October 15 through 19.

Be sure to cast your spoiler protection spell, as the author is now openly talking about the plot of book seven.

Autographus Contanus: Keeping the most famous author in the world from getting crushed by a mob.

""The last time I was in the States was 2000, and it's been a little unmanageable timing-wise in terms of the numbers who were turning up, but I really miss being able to interact directly with the readers. So we had to think of a way that we could manage numbers of kids and ensure they were safe and so on. This seemed like the ideal way to do it, by ballot. It seemed fair. I'm really looking forward to signing. Everyone keeps saying, 'It must be so arduous. How's your hand?' Honestly, that's the bit that I really enjoy.""

Actorus Redherringus: Keeping the film actors from knowing incriminating spoilers.

""I went onto the set and Dan [Radcliffe] and I had a long chat and it was great. I was talking about the book and I said to him, ""Dumbledore's giving me a bit of trouble. I thought I'd take a break for a bit and come down and see you."" And he said, ""But Dumbledore's dead."" Then he immediately said, ""Don't tell me, don't tell me!"" Then after I said that, he went down a corridor to the other kids. He said, ""She told me. I know what happens."" Of course, then he was besieged and then started to panic. That's exactly like being me, so serves him right. I told all of them little bits. I told Emma [Watson] the most and she nearly fell off her chair laughing when I told her who she'd have to kiss. As you probably know if you finished the book, if they make it faithful to the story, she's going to kiss both of them [Ron and Neville], which I think is kind of fun.""

Franchisus Prolongus: Conjuring up one last Harry Potter product, an encyclopedia of the magical world.

""It's not coming along and I haven't started it yet. It's really not anywhere at the moment. I always said maybe I'll do the encyclopedia and that's still the case, but I never intended it to be the next thing I did. I want to take a break and step back and then in due course, I may go and do that. I've always said, and I stand by that, if I do that it will be for charity. That would be something. But it would be valuable, charity-wise.""

Genre Diversus: Trying new things after spending nearly two decades in fantasy-land.

""I think this may come back to bite me because I've said this before, every time I say 'I will never…' in my life, I do it within the next two weeks. But I think probably I've done my fantasy. I think because Harry's world was so large and detailed and I've known it so well and I've lived in it 17 years, it would be incredibly difficult to go out and create another world that didn't in some way overlap with Harry's or maybe borrow a little too much from Harry. So I think fantasy-wise, I'm probably not. I don't think 'What genre will I write in next?' It's really what idea comes to me and what I'd like to do I suppose.""

Spoilerus Explainus: Discussing the death of Dobbie the house elf.

""For me, Dobbie's death woke Harry up to what he was doing, someone that was very vulnerable, really entirely guiltless in anything concerned with this world. He wasn't even a wizard [and still] was murdered. It's another senseless murder, in the same way that Cedric Diggory's death was senseless, purely because they were there. There's something I think particularly chilling in entirely innocent victims of violence. So it woke Harry up. It focused him. I suppose you could say very prosaically, Dobbie had to die so he couldn't tell Harry who sent him, but that's not why. I always knew that Dobbie was going to die and how he was going to die.""

Dumbledorus Machiavellius: Showing Dumbledore's true colors.

""I love Dumbledore more for his frailties but it was important I think to show, and it was part of Harry becoming a man to realize that even this man he revered is alone, had his frailties, had made his mistakes. After all, Dumbledore is, although he seems to be so benign for six books, he's quite a Machiavellian figure really. He's pulling a lot of strings. Harry has been a puppet to an extent but I think, I hope I led the reader to a place in the seventh book where they could actually feel sympathy for Snape rather than Dumbledore. That was the trajectory of that story that I was aiming for.""

Timus Managementus: Dealing with real life while writing the Harry Potter series.

""Any hardships I remember were all external hardships. It was all about child care, people getting sick, the financial demands. I had to work. Harry wasn't bringing in any money, obviously, while I was writing the first book, or indeed I'd started writing the second book I had no income from the first. That wasn't my publisher's fault. That was really the situation. The things that got out of control, sometimes the British press were difficult--she says, immediately thinking how much more difficult she wanted it to get. It was a real shock. I'd never in a million years dreamed that I would have journalists banging on my front door and I never in a million years dreamed that I would have long lens photographs taken of me or my children. So these things were really sometimes a challenge, the sort of privacy of Harry's world that I was working so hard to maintain.""

Religious Diplomaticus: Dealing with the protests against witchcraft and wizardry in fiction.

""I go to church myself. I don't take any responsibility for the lunatic fringes of my own religion. The truth is that, like Graham Greene, my faith is sometimes that my faith will return. It's something I struggle with a lot. I was raised in a Christian tradition. To me, it's always been obvious but I never wanted to talk that openly about it because I thought it might show people just what is the story, where we were going. They're very British books, so on a very practical note, Harry was bound to find biblical quotations on tombstones. Those two particular quotations that he finds on the tombstones of Godric's Hollow, they almost epitomize the whole series. I think they sum up all the themes in the whole series. But of course, Hogwarts is a multi-faith school.""

Controversus Profitus: Ensuring healthy sales in the face of protest.

""I've always taken my annual inclusion on the most banned books list as a massive compliment. You look at the writers on that list, what can I say? There is a place for debate about issues and there's certainly a place for debate about what we show our children and what we read to our children, but attempts to ban things are always counterproductive. I met more than one child whose parents didn't want them to read Harry Potter and of course it became the one and only thing they wanted to read and they read it. In a way, it's great advertising.""

Motherus Attentus: Giving the author her free time back.

""I will always write, always. I wrote a lot of rubbish before Harry Potter and I will certainly keep writing. I do feel that I'm on vacation at the moment inasmuch as it's the first time in 10 years I don't have a deadline. So that's really enjoyable, to spend time with my kids and not feel guilty that I'm not on the book or whatever. But I'll always write.""

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