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How did the idea come to you for Harry Potter?
I was taking a long train journey from Manchester to London in England
and the idea for Harry just came into my head. At that point it was
especially important for the idea for a boy who didn't know he was a
wizard, and the wizard school he ended up journeying to.
How long did it take to write the first book of the Harry Potter Books?
5 years, although during that time I was also planning and writing parts
for the next six sequels.
Did you plan to write Harry's story in more than one book? If so, how many
I always planned it as a seven book series because I predicted that it
would take seven years from the ages of 11-17, inclusive, to train as a
wizard, and each of the books would deal with a year of Harry's life at the
wizarding school of Hogwarts.
Harry Potter was first successful in England, and then in the United
States. Where else has Harry Potter been released? What things do they have
in common and/or differences have you found in the response to Harry Potter
in different countries? And, since each of the editions is packaged
differently, do you have a favorite book?
Harry is now published, in Britain, America, Brazil, Holland, France,
Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Norway,
Denmark, Finland, and Japan. My favorite cover is the American one. I am
very much hoping to meet the illustrator, Mary Grandpre, but I also love
the Dutch's edition cover.
Are you excited about the movie rights Warner Brothers have purchased for
Harry Potter? Where else might we see Harry Potter in the future (toys,
I am very excited and a little bit nervous about "Harry Potter the
Movie." Warner Brothers have merchandising rights, so it is possible that
we will be seeing Harry Potter toys soon.
Did you always want to be an author?
Yes, ever since the age of five or six, when I wrote my first book a
story about a rabbit which was called Rabbit.
Where, when, and how do you like to write?
Any time, any place, and longhand!
What books and authors did you read as a kid and teenager? Which are your
biggest influences on your books?
I admire E. Nesbit, Paul Gallico and C.S. Lewis the most. My favorite
book as a child was The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge.'
If you were not writing, what profession would you be in?
Well, as you can see by the answer from the previous question, I would
be at a dead loss. Profession wise, I would still be teaching, which I
enjoyed very much.
What did you have to do to make sure readers could start with "Harry Potter
and the Chamber of Secrets" and not be confused about what was happening?
It's becoming more of a challenge to keep new readers up to date with
every new Harry book (I'm currently writing the fourth). In the case of
Chamber of Secrets, matters were relatively easy and straightforward; I
tried to introduce information about Harry and his first year at Hogwarts
in as understandable way as possible. However, by the time I reach books
five or six, this is going to be much harder because of the years in
between. It makes me think of "previously on ER..." when you have to watch
thirty minutes of clips to be able to understand that week's episode. Maybe
I'll just write a preface: "previously in Harry Potter..." and tell readers
to go back and read books 1 - 4 if they have not already!
What does your daughter think of your work so far? What books do you and
like to read with her? And her to read on her own someday?
She is still too young for me to read the Harry Potter books to her,
but I am really looking forward to a time when I can read them with her.
She loves the Beatrix Potter books and I recently read her The Lion, the
Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis , which she greatly enjoyed.
HER FAVORITE AUTHOR IS RODDY DOYLE. Utter children's books. Her daughter
was an infant when she started POTTER, maybe she read him when she was
ROWLING INTERVIEW II
Q: Do you rewrite a lot?
A: A huge amount. Only once have I sat down, written something end to
end, and let it stand. That was the chapter in Philosopher's Stone when
Harry learns to fly. I remember vividly - the old story we've heard a
million times - my daughter fell asleep, it was a beautifully sunny day, I
sat in a café, and wrote that chapter from beginning to end. And I think I
changed two words. That's very unusual for me (Nr).
Q: Do you have a favorite passage from one of your books?
A: Hard to choose. I like chapter twelve of Sorcerer's Stone (The
Mirror of Erised), (her first book,) and I am proud of the ending of Goblet of Fire (Sch2).
Why is the name different in the U.S.?
Q: Does it bother you that in America they changed the names of your
A: They changed the first title, but with my consent to be honest. I
wish I hadn't agreed now but it was my first book, and I was so grateful
that anyone was publishing me I wanted to keep them happy (CR).
POSTER'S NOTE: I had to repeat this from writer Toby Young because its excellent. Harry Potter summed up in a paragraph. Wonderful; "Hogwarts is, in fact, a microcosm of exactly what old-fashioned Tories would like Britain to be. It's a rigidly hierarchical society, presided over by a benign, but stern patrician figure “ a sort of wizardly version of Harold Macmillan in which everybody knows their place. The educated middle class (Potter, Weasley, Grainger) forge an alliance with the ruling class (Dumbledore et al) to preserve order, while the aspirational lower middle class, as represented by the Dursleys, are comic grotesques. The working class (Muggles), by contrast, are a poor, ignorant multitude who must, by dint of their helplessness, entrust their best interests to the elite. Anyone who challenges this status quo is, quite literally, demonised and cast into the outer darkness. Honestly, Rowling. Evelyn Waugh couldn't have done a better job of conjuring up a romantic portrait of Tory Britain.
I don't understand. The rich kids at hogwarts are painted by Rowling as
assholes, right? The hopelessly bourgeois, middle class 'step parents'
to Harry are real sadistic shits, hypocritical and preferential to their
own piggy son, real mean to him. They're right out of Dickens, really.
and that's reinforcing the class system?'
YES! Right. HARRY POTTER has a subect... its a middle class aspirant
kind of text. its a PR ad for the boarding school system which is
incredibly strong in the uk. Its the class system at Hogwarts which help
Harry and give meaning to his wretched existence. The school makes it
all work for him.
Rowling is a massive supporter of the Labour Party. She has given them
millions. bankrolled their election campaigns and serves on their
committees. The school system here gives her speaking engagements. The
'system' has its favoured writers - what writers are allowed and who
arent. Its a control system.
That might sound OTT - but it is true and if if you lived in the UK you
could see 1st hand how it works.
People pay big time to maintain it. Nowadays it is less to do with the
old system of snobbery than it is with MONEY - so kids of celebs and
footballers and people who work in television get to educate their kids
privately - this then greenlights them for jobs in the media IN THE UK,
the class system is very bad.
It is not just that there is a rich overclass and a poor underclass -
though that is true - but it pervades the whole society.
It goes something like this;
The Windsors - the Royal family The aristocracy - many of the real posh
coots are dying out of the 'old' aristocracy hence Tony Blairs
'rebranding' of it as the meritocracy - still an elite-ocracy of
capitalists and business leaders-
Blair helped elevate these people (Alan Sugar, the X Factor with Simon
Cowell,) into control of the media. Previously the 'old guard' whatever
their faults had been educated privately on the 'Greek classics' - so
they were idealists - to an extent - the rise of the University system
in the 1950's and 1960's and the emergence of many working class writers
led to a kind of rennaissance in Britain in the 60's and early 70's of
many playwrights and writers
etc,etc - infact this era was perhaps the most positive and prolific
time for writers in British history - you will probably remember the
film 'Reds' with Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton - perhaps not my
favourit actors but nevrtheless they turned out some pretty good movies
- McCabe and Mrs Miller,Bonnie and Clyde - what was the name of that
excellent conspiracy film Beatty made? Anyway - 'Reds' was written by
British writer Trevor Griffiths - and its not a bad film)
This renaissance was actually helped by some of the public school people
funnily enough from the 1960's- so there was a meeting of working class
and the upper middle class (perhaps they went to the same parties
listened to Hendrix and passed around the old MJ ?) but they were
informed by an idealism - therefore we had more single plays than ever
These people were fired. The 1960's petrified the elite in the uk and
they moved in quick to close its advances down. That meant sacking both
the public school enlightened people who were allowing working class
writers to get through onto television and ignoring working class
This control economy/society is instigated from the top (ie the Royal
family) but it is supported by the middle class. The middle class are
important because they espouse a degree of liberality - but it is fake
and it fools people - because they are a censorious class.
Without enlightenment there is then a trench of poorly educated
underclass who can then serve in the army. The aristocracy have always
liked the peasant class because the aristocracy serve as the higher
escheleons of the military who command the lower order peasant troops.
The middle class University sons and daughter do not serve in the
military (too smart) but keep quiet about the war and wave their Union
Jack flags dutifully when the Queen appears - getting young kids at
school to do the same. The middle class who control the schools and the
media on behalf of the elite educate their own kids privately or else
bankroll themselves with massive wages to pay for their sons and
daughters University fees.
I (my poster friend,) live near Reading - a University town. Its always
interesting to observe the difference in the people.
The students - an ethnically diverse mix - are nonetheless the children
of the middle class - and you can see it - their nervousness on the
street, their look, their clothes, etc - they have money. The working
class are mainly chavs - hoodies - hip hop imitators, tatoos.
All this generation of 20/30 somethings REGARDLESS of class - buy into
and endorse the status quo/system. There is no dissent.
By the way - Rowling is a liar. Labour increased, not decreased child
poverty. We lived in Ireland - a less rich country than the uk but
children were looked after - child benefit for instance is twice in
Ireland what it is in the uk.
What Labour did was created more jobs for the middle class to lord it
over the working class. This middle class were what the the forman
is/was to the slave owner. There was a huge rise in enforced adoption
(for money quotas), social workers, the police state and the
surveillance society. The middle class controlled arts institutions so
they could monitor (and close down) dissent.
A good (and brief) deconstruction of Harry Potter 'sauce' here;
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