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Hint, Hint: Jo Rowling Speaks about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

A compilation and summary of 10 years of interviews (weighted for importance)

Commentary and rankings by Lisa Bunker; interview summaries by Deborah Skinner

Page One | Page Two | Page Three
Read the archived discussion of this essay here.

Important

What Harry’s parents did for a living is important.

Were they Aurors? Did they work in the Department of Mysteries? Collect relics from the founders of Hogwarts? What other possibilities can you think of?

Online chat transcript, Scholastic.com, February 3, 2000.

We will find out why Voldemort gave Lily so many chances to live.

He isn’t foolish enough to think that she would turn Death Eater, so why was her life important? Is this related to what she did for a living?

Anelli, Melissa and Emerson Spartz. “The Leaky Cauldron and MN interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part One,” The Leaky Cauldron, July 16, 2005.

Snape might have had a love life.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban had just been published when she was asked about this:

Lydon: One of our internet correspondents wondered if Snape is going to fall in love?

Rowling: Yeah? Who on earth would want Snape in love with them, that is a very horrible idea. Erm ...

Lydon: But you’d get an important kind of redemptive pattern to Snape.

Rowling: It is, isn’t it ... I got ... There’s so much I wish I could say to you, and I can’t because it’d ruin ... I promise you ... whoever asked that question, can I just say to you that I’m - I’m slightly stunned that you’ve said that - erm - and you’ll find out why I’m so stunned if you read book 7. And that’s all I’m going to say.

Was Jo stunned by the question because the idea was so far-fetched? Or because she thought she had kept this possibility well hidden? Was it the “love” or the “redemptive pattern” that threw her? If he did fall in love, was it reciprocated? Listen to the audio of this on Accio Quote! It is intriguing and a little funny to hear her reaction as she sputters out her answer.

Lydon, Christopher. J.K. Rowling interview, The Connection (WBUR Radio), October 12, 1999.

JKR: “Dumbledore’s family would be a profitable line of inquiry.”

Are there more living members of Dumbledore’s family than his brother? Did Albus ever marry? Or is it Dumbledore’s ancestry that is important?

Anelli, Melissa and Emerson Spartz. “The Leaky Cauldron and MN interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Three,” The Leaky Cauldron, July 16, 2005.

Could Be Huge, Could Just be an Interesting Plot Device

JKR: “The final chapter is hidden away, although it has now changed very slightly. One character got a reprieve, but I have to say two [main characters] die that I didn’t intend to die.”

Why? Why would she give a character a reprieve?

It is a confusing quote because on one hand she says that the final chapter has only changed slightly, but then she says that two main characters die. Is the “slightly” a bit of Jo’s dry humor? Watch the video and try to guess what she means for yourself.

Madeley, Richard and Judy Finnigan. “J.K. Rowling,” Richard and Judy Show, Channel Four Corporation (UK), June 26, 2006.

“There is more to the Sorting Hat than what you have read about in the first three books.”

However, the Sorting Hat is not a Horcrux. See “Denials” (below). Jo could be referring to Book 4 where we learned that the hat used to belong to Godric Gryffindor (Goblet of Fire, chapter 12) or Book 5 where the hat told us its opinion about the strife within Hogwarts (Order of the Phoenix, chapter 11).

Loer, Stephanie. “All about Harry Potter from Quidditch to the future of the Sorting Hat,” The Boston Globe, October 18, 1999.

As you can guess from the end of Book 6, the founders of Hogwarts will play “some” kind of role in Book 7.

Before he died, Dumbledore figured out the connection between the founders and the Horcruxes. Will Harry’s quest teach us more about the founders and history of Hogwarts? Jo changed the subject after her answer in a way that made it seem like the topic was unproductive.

Anelli, Melissa and Emerson Spartz. “The Leaky Cauldron and MN interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Two,” The Leaky Cauldron, July 16, 2005.

A few of the Hogwarts professors have spouses, but the information is restricted—we’ll find out why!

Could this be related to her statement about how we need to learn more about Dumbledore’s family?

Why was the information restricted? What possible harm could it cause?

Red Nose Day Chat, BBC Online, March 12, 2001.

Aunt Petunia is truly a Muggle, but there is “a little bit more to Aunt Petunia than meets the eye.” “She is not a squib, although that is a very good guess. Oh, I am giving a lot away here. I am being shockingly indiscreet.”

Petunia knows something important.

Rowling, Joanne. “J K Rowling at the Edinburgh Book Festival,” JKRowling.com (News section), August 15, 2004.

Petunia knows about dementors because she “overheard a conversation” between Lily and someone else. But there is more to it than that; we will learn more in Book 7.

Petunia knows something important.

Who was it that was speaking to Lily? Dumbledore? James? Sirius? Remus? Even Snape?

Edinburgh “cub reporter” press conference, ITV, July 16, 2005.

When asked about Aunt Petunia being “oddly flushed” (Half-Blood Prince, chapter 3) when she heard that Harry would only be returning to Privet Drive once more, Jo said that “There is a little more to Aunt Petunia than meets the eye and you will find out what that is in book seven.”

Jo has told us several times now that Petunia has a little surprise for us. Well, we know she isn’t a squib and that she won’t be performing magic for us. It could be something she did, something she is, or something she knows.

Perhaps she “flushed” when she heard that Harry would return because she knows something important and that she should have told it to Harry a long time ago. It could be what she overheard or perhaps something from her correspondence with Dumbledore.

An Evening with Harry, Carrie and Garp: Readings and questions #2, August 2, 2006.

What did Dumbledore’s Howler to Aunt Petunia mean? (“Remember my last?”).

Dumbledore’s “last” was the letter he left for Petunia upon the Dursley’s doorstep (along with Harry). According to Jo, it was his “last” because there were letters to Petunia before that. A day later, Jo clarified that Dumbledore was not thinking of school letters he sent to both the Dursleys.

So what do you make of this? Why on earth was Dumbledore corresponding with Petunia? Remember, Dumbledore didn’t decide to place Harry with Petunia until after James and Lily were killed and he realized he could extend Lily’s protective magic to her blood relatives.

Rowling, Joanne. “What did Dumbledore’s Howler to Aunt Petunia mean?JKRowling.com (F.A.Q. section), July 19, 2004.

 “There is plenty to guess at [in Book 6]... 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.”

Jo is possibly referring to the mysterious note signed “R.A.B.” Who is or was R.A.B.? What happened to the Horcrux locket that was supposed to be in the cave?

uncorroborated fan posting [interview by Owen Jones], O/T forum, 17 July 2005

Who is R.A.B.? JKR: Regulus Black is a “fine choice.”

If R.A.B. is indeed Regulus the locket found at Grimmauld Place will be of interest to Harry.

Anelli, Melissa and Emerson Spartz. “The Leaky Cauldron and MN interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Two,” The Leaky Cauldron, July 16, 2005.

We will learn why Sirius detested Snape.

Was it personal (a clash of personalities like when Harry & Draco met)? Or influenced by outside forces? Did it have something to do with influence on his younger brother Regulus? Were their families feuding? What happened between them to cause their mutual loathing?

JK Rowling’s World Book Day Chat, March 4, 2004.

We will see whether or not Wormtail pays his life-debt to Harry.

However, she won’t discuss it further, so it may have some importance in Book 7.

JK Rowling’s World Book Day Chat, March 4, 2004.

At least one of the remaining Horcruxes is pretty easy to guess at if you are a careful reader.

Have you guessed it?

Anelli, Melissa and Emerson Spartz. “The Leaky Cauldron and MN interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Three,” The Leaky Cauldron, July 16, 2005.

The magical protection Harry receives from staying at the Dursleys will not hold once he turns seventeen and becomes a man.

Jo hasn’t really explained how this protects him now that Voldemort shares Harry’s blood, so it is unclear what this will mean for Harry.

Edinburgh “cub reporter” press conference, ITV, July 16, 2005.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows we will become better acquainted with another member of the Order of the Phoenix. This is someone we know about but have not “met properly.”

Aberforth? Caradoc Dearborn? Someone thought to be dead? We’re not well acquainted with Doge or Shacklebolt, but they have more or less been “properly” introduced.

Edinburgh “cub reporter” press conference, ITV, July 16, 2005.

Harry believes that Draco would not have killed Dumbledore even if he had all the time in the world. Indeed he would not have; this will have implications for Draco’s future.

Four Death Eaters witnessed his failure to kill Dumbledore so Draco is a marked man. Will Snape continue to protect him? What will Harry do when they meet?

An Evening with Harry, Carrie and Garp: Readings and questions #1, August 1, 2006.

When asked about Draco, Jo said that all of her main characters except for Voldemort can be considered redeemable.

Oh, Draco. You finally seem human. Are you really a Death Eater? Where are you now? How will you stay alive? What will you say to your father?

Of course, Jo could have been talking about Snape. Oh Snape…

An Evening with Harry, Carrie and Garp: Readings and questions #1, August 1, 2006.

The two-way mirror Sirius gave Harry will be useful in some way.

Would a simple “Reparo” fix it? Or will it be useful even though it is shattered? Where is the matching mirror Sirius had?

JK Rowling’s World Book Day Chat, March 4, 2004.

JKR: “The mirror that Harry got from Sirius might not have helped as much as you think but, on the other hand, will help more than you think.”

A classic teaser from Jo.

Rowling, Joanne. “Why did Harry have to forget the mirror he had been given by Sirius in ‘Order of the Phoenix’?” JKRowling.com (F.A.Q. section), June 28, 2004.

JKR: Regulus is dead, “so he’s pretty quiet these days.”

Here Jo was asked “Will we be hearing anything from Sirius Black’s brother, Regulus, in future books?” referring to books 6 & 7. Compare this with her answer a year later (next in the list, below).

JK Rowling’s World Book Day Chat, March 4, 2004.

JKR will not comment on whether or not Sirius’s mirror will allow communication with Regulus or not.

Now, why do you think she didn’t remind us that Regulus is dead? Where is Sirius’s mirror anyway?

Anelli, Melissa and Emerson Spartz. “The Leaky Cauldron and MN interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Two,” The Leaky Cauldron, July 16, 2005.

JKR won’t tell us if there will be a scene in the locked room in the Department of Mysteries.

It may not be necessary; Harry may just need to know that it exists. He isn’t too friendly with the Ministry right now anyway. I wish someone had asked her about the room with the veil!

Anelli, Melissa and Emerson Spartz. “The Leaky Cauldron and MN interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Three,” The Leaky Cauldron, July 16, 2005.

Fawkes probably has a role to play in Book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

She wouldn’t discuss this topic, but said her silence was a clue. Jo has also said that Fawkes belonged to Dumbledore, so is he independent now, or will he “belong” to someone else?

Edinburgh “cub reporter” press conference, ITV, July 16, 2005.

World folklore about snakes holds clues to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

From the context, this clue could be something about Parselmouths or Slytherin House. Will Harry’s ability to communicate with snakes prove useful again? Is there more to the connections between Slytherin House (or its founder) and snakes? Or is this hint about Voldemort’s companion Nagini?

There is already quite a bit of snake folklore worked into the stories: Voldemort “milking” Nagini to keep alive, Slytherin House’s location partially submerged in the lake, and the whole structure of the Chamber of Secrets.

Fry, Stephen. “Launch Day interview aboard the Hogwarts Express,” Bloomsbury Press, July 8, 2000.

We will learn more about the relationship between wands and their wizards/witches in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

This probably refers to Harry’s and Voldemort’s wands being “brothers,” but it could also tie in to Ollivander’s disappearance and the mystery of what happened to James and Lily’s wands.

An Evening with Harry, Carrie and Garp: Readings and questions #1, August 1, 2006.

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Read the archived discussion of this essay in Unfogging Deathly Hallows!