The Leaky Cauldron and MN Interview J.K. Rowling
July 16, 2005: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince publication day
WARNING: The entirety of this interview is colored by book six – which means if you don’t yet want to be spoiled or haven’t yet read Half-Blood Prince, reading this interview will not be good for your health. Be warned!
ES: When Sirius was framed for the death of Pettigrew and the Muggles, did he actually laugh or was that something made up to make him look even more insane?
JKR: Did he actually laugh? Yes, I would say he did. Well, he did, because I’ve created him. Sirius, to me, he’s kind of on the edge, do you not get that feeling from Sirius? He’s a little bit of a loose cannon. I really like him as a character and a lot of people really liked him as a character and are still asking me when he’s going to come back. [Laughter.] But Sirius had his flaws – I’ve sort of discussed that before – some quite glaring flaws. I see Sirius as someone who was a case of arrested development. I think you see that from his relationship with Harry in “Phoenix.” He kind of wants a mate from Harry, and what Harry craves is a father. Harry’s kind of outgrowing that now. Sirius wasn’t equipped to give him that.
The laughter – he was absolutely unhinged by James’s death. Harry and Sirius were very similar in the way that both of them were craving family connections with friends. So, Sirius with James wanted a brother, and Harry has nominated Ron and Hermione as his family. This is the thing I found interesting — it might have been on MuggleNet’s comments, this is a while back when I was actually looking for fan sites of the month (or whatever arbitrary time period I do) — it was around the time I was reading comments for the first time and there was something in there where kids were saying, “I don’t understand why he’s shouting at Ron and Hermione, I mean, I’d shout at my parents, I would never shout at my best friends.” But, he has no one else to shout at. That was interesting from young kids, because I just don’t think they could make that leap of imagination. He’s very alone. Anyway I’ve wandered miles away from Sirius.
He was unhinged. Yes, he laughed. He knew what he’d lost. It was a humorless laugh. Pettigrew, who they, in a slightly patronizing way, James and Sirius at least, who they allowed to hang round with them, it turned out that he was a better wizard than they knew. Turned out he was better at hiding secrets than they knew.
MA: You said that during the writing of book six something caused you fiendish glee. Do you remember what that was?
JKR: Oh, god. [Long silence as Jo thinks.] What was it? It wasn’t really vindictive [laughter] – that was more of a figure of speech. I know what I’ve enjoyed writing – you know Luna’s commentary during the Quidditch match? [Laughter.] It was that. I really enjoyed doing that. Actually I really enjoyed doing that.
You know, that was the last Quidditch match. I knew as I wrote it that it was the last time I was going to be doing a Quidditch match. To be honest with you, Quidditch matches have been the bane of my life in the Harry Potter books. They are necessary in that people expect Harry to play Quidditch, but there is a limit to how many ways you can have them play Quidditch together and for something new to happen. And then I had this moment of blinding inspiration. I thought, Luna’s going to commentate, and that was just a gift. It’s the kind of commentary I’d do on a sports match because I’m — [laughs]. Anyway yeah, it was that.
MA: That was a lot of fun. She’s fun.
JKR: I love Luna, I really love Luna.
ES: Why does Dumbledore allow Peeves to stay in the castle?
JKR: Can’t get him out.
ES: He’s Dumbledore, he can do anything!
JKR: No, no no no no. Peeves is like dry rot. You can try and eradicate it. It comes with the building. You’re stuck. If you’ve got Peeves you’re stuck.
ES: But Peeves answers to Dumbledore –
JKR: Yeah. I see Peeves as like a severe plumbing problem in a very old building, and Dumbledore is slightly better with the spanner than most people, so he can maybe make it function better for a few weeks. Then it’s going to start leaking again. Would you want Peeves gone, honestly?
MA: If I was Harry I might, but as a reader I enjoy him. I enjoyed him most when he started obeying Fred and George at the end of book five.
JKR: Yeah, that was fun. I enjoyed that. That was satisfying. [Laughter.]
ES: When I signed onto MSN messenger after the book came out, there were at least four or five people whose IMs said, "Give her hell from us, Peeves."
JKR: [Laughter] Awww. Well, Umbridge, she’s a pretty evil character.
MA: She’s still out and about in the world?
JKR: She’s still at the Ministry.
MA: Are we going to see more of her? [Jo nods.] You say that with an evil nod.
JKR: Yeah, it’s too much fun to torture her not to have another little bit more before I finish.
ES: MuggleNet “Ask Jo” contest winner Asrial, who’s 22, asks, “If Voldemort saw a boggart, what would it be?”
JKR: Voldemort’s fear is death, ignominious death. I mean, he regards death itself as ignominious. He thinks that it’s a shameful human weakness, as you know. His worst fear is death, but how would a boggart show that? I’m not too sure. I did think about that because I knew you were going to ask me that.
ES: A corpse?
JKR: That was my conclusion, that he would see himself dead.
ES:As soon as it became clear this question was going to win, I started getting dozens of email from people telling me I shouldn’t ask it because the answer was too obvious – except, they all disagreed on what the obvious answer was. Some were sure it would be Dumbledore, some were sure it would be Harry, and some were sure it would be death.
ES: A couple of follow-ups on that, then — what would he see if he were in front of the mirror of Erised?
JKR: Himself, all-powerful and eternal. That’s what he wants.
ES: What would Dumbledore see?
JKR: I can’t answer that.
ES: What would Dumbledore’s boggart be?
JKR: I can’t answer that either, but for theories you should read six again. There you go.
MA: If Harry was to look in the Mirror of Erised at the end of book six, what would he see?
JKR: He would have to see Voldemort finished, dead, gone, wouldn’t he? Because he knows now that he will have no peace and no rest until this is accomplished.
ES: Is the last word of book seven still scar?
JKR: At the moment. I wonder if it will remain that way.
MA: Have you fiddled with it?
JKR: I haven’t actually physically fiddled with it. There are definitely a couple of things that will need changing. They’re not big deals but I always knew I would have to rewrite it.
MA: But it’s definitely still on that track?
JKR: Oh definitely. Yeah, yeah
MA: How do you feel that you’re starting the last book?
JKR: It feels scary, actually. It’s been 15 years. Can you imagine? One of the longest adult relationships of my life.
MA: Have you started?
JKR: Yeah. Realistically, I don’t think I’m going to be able to do real work on it until next year. I see next year as the time that I’m really going to write seven. But I’ve started and I am doing little bits and pieces here and there when I can. But you’ve seen how young Mackenzie still is, and you can bear actual witness to the fact that I do have a very small, real baby, so I’m going to try and give Mackenzie what I gave David, which is pretty much a year of uninterrupted “me time,” and then I’ll start writing seriously again.
ES: What prompted people to start referring to Voldemort as You-Know-Who and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?
JKR: It happens many times in history — well, you’ll know this because you’re that kind of people, but for those who don’t, having a taboo on a name is quite common in certain civilizations. In Africa there are tribes where the name is never used. Your name is a sacred part of yourself and you are referred to as the son of so-and-so, the brother of so-and-so, and you’re given these pseudonyms, because your name is something that can be used magically against you if it’s known. It’s like a part of your soul. That’s a powerful taboo in many cultures and across many folklores. On a more prosaic note, in the 1950s in London there were a pair of gangsters called the Kray Twins. The story goes that people didn’t speak the name Kray. You just didn’t mention it. You didn’t talk about them, because retribution was so brutal and bloody. I think this is an impressive demonstration of strength, that you can convince someone not to use your name. Impressive in the sense that demonstrates how deep the level of fear is that you can inspire. It’s not something to be admired.
ES: I meant, was there a specific event?
JKR: With Voldemort? It was gradual. He was killing and doing some pretty evil things. In the chapter “Lord Voldemort’s Request,” when he comes back to request that teaching post in book six, you get a real sense that he’s already gone quite a long way into the dark arts. By that time a lot of people would be choosing not to use his name. During that time his name was never used except by Dumbledore and people who were above the superstition.
MA: Speaking of world events –
JKR: Chapter one?
MA: Yeah, chapter one, and current world events, specifically in the last four years. Terrorism and the like; has it factored into your writing, has it shaped your writing?
JKR: No, never consciously, in the sense that I’ve never thought, "It’s time for a post-9/11 Harry Potter book," no. But what Voldemort does, in many senses, is terrorism, and that was quite clear in my mind before 9/11 happened. I was going to read last night [ie, do the midnight reading at the castle] from chapter one. That was the reading until the 7th of July [bombings in London]. It then became quite clear to me that it was going to be grossly inappropriate for me to read a passage in which the Muggle prime minister is discussing a mass Muggle killing. It just wasn’t appropriate, as there are touches of levity in there. It was totally inappropriate, so that’s when I had to change, and I decided to go for the joke shop, which is all very symbolic because, of course, Harry said to Fred and George, “I’ve got a feeling we’ll all be needing a few laughs before long.” It all ties together nicely. So no, not consciously, but there are parallels, obviously. I think one of the times I felt the parallels was when I was writing about the arrest of Stan Shunpike, you know? I always planned that these kinds of things would happen, but these have very powerful resonances, given that I believe, and many people believe, that there have been instances of persecution of people who did not deserve to be persecuted, even while we’re attempting to find the people who have committed utter atrocities. These things just happen, it’s human nature. There were some very startling parallels at the time I was writing it.
ES: Has the sorting hat ever been wrong?
JKR: Mm-mm. Do you have a theory?
ES: I have heard a lot of theories.
JKR: [laugh] I bet you have. No. [laugh] Sorry.
MA: That’s interesting, because that would suggest that the voice comes more from a person’s own head than the hat itself -
JKR: [makes mysterious noise]
MA: And that maybe when it talks on its own it comes from -
JKR: The founders themselves.
MA: Yeah. Interesting. How much of a role are the founders going to play in book seven?
JKR: Some, as you probably have guessed from the end of six. There’s so much that I want to ask you, but you’re supposed to interview me, so come on. [Laughter.]
ES: I know you get asked this in every interview, but the length of the book, has it changed at all?
JKR: Seven? Shorter than “Phoenix,” you mean, “Phoenix” always being our benchmark of a book that’s really, really nudging the outer limits? I still think it will be shorter than “Phoenix.”
JKR: I don’t know. That is the honest truth, I don’t know. I have a plan for seven that’s not yet so detailed that I could honestly gauge the length. I know what’s going to happen, I know the story, but I haven’t sat down and plotted it to the point where you think, “We’re really looking at 42 chapters,” or, “We’re looking at 31 chapters.” I don’t know yet.
JKR: Ohhh, good.
JKR: No, I’m glad! Yes?
MA: Can we figure out who he is, from what we know so far?
[Note: JKR has adopted slightly evil look here]
JKR: Do you have a theory?
MA: We’ve come up with Regulus Black.
JKR: Have you now?
JKR: Well, I think that would be, um, a fine guess.
MA: And perhaps, being Sirius’s brother, he had another mirror –
JKR: [drums fingers on soda can]
MA: Does he have the other mirror, or Sirius’s mirror —
JKR: I have no comment at all on that mirror. That mirror is not on the table. [Laughter from all; Jo’s is maniacal.]
MA: Let the record note that she has drummed her fingers on her Coke can in a very Mr. Burns-like way.
JKR: Oh, I love Mr. Burns.
ES: If you had the opportunity to rewrite any part of the series so far, what would it be and why?
JKR: There are bits of all six books that I would go back and tighten up. My feeling is that Phoenix is overlong, but I challenge anyone to find the obvious place to cut. There are places that I would prune, now, looking back, but they wouldn’t add up to a hugely reduced book, because my feeling is you need what’s in there. You need what’s in there if I’m going to play fair for the reader in the resolution in book seven. One of the reasons “Phoenix” is so long is that I had to move Harry around a lot, physically. There were places he had to go he had never been before, and that took time — to get him there, to get him away. That was the longest non-Hogwarts stretch in any of the books, and that’s really what bumps up the length. I’m trying to think of specifics, it’s hard.
ES: Any subplots that you think could have been left out, in hindsight?
JKR: I find it very hard to pinpoint any because I feel that they were necessary. How can any of us judge? Even I, until seven’s finished, will not be able to look back really accurately and say, “That was discursive.” And maybe at the end of seven I’ll look back and say, thinking about it, “I didn’t really need to be quite so elaborate in that place there.” Until it’s written it’s a hard thing to be accurate about. But certainly there are turns of expressions that irritate me in hindsight. There are repetitions that drive me crazy in hindsight.
MA: Now that Dumbledore is gone, will we ever know the spell that he was trying to cast on Voldemort in the Ministry?
JKR: Uuuummmm…[makes clucking noise with tongue ]
ES: Let the record show she made a funny sound with her mouth.
[All laugh, Jo maniacally.]
JKR: It’s possible, it’s possible that you will know that. You will — [pause] — you will know more about Dumbledore. I have to be sooo careful on this.
MA: Can we have a book just on Dumbledore? Like a life story?
JKR: Oh, all right then.
ES & MA, hi-fiving: YES!
JKR: That’s not a binding contract! [Laughter.]
MA: No, it’s an oral agreement – where’s Neil [her lawyer, not her husband]?
ES: How many wizards are there?
JKR: In the world? Oh, Emerson, my maths is so bad.
ES: Is there a ratio of Muggles to wizards -
MA: Or in Hogwarts.
JKR: Well, Hogwarts. All right. Here is the thing with Hogwarts. Way before I finished “Philosopher’s Stone,” when I was just amassing stuff for seven years, between having the idea and publishing the book, I sat down and I created 40 kids who enter Harry’s year. I’m delighted I did it, [because] it was so useful. I got 40 pretty fleshed out characters. I never have to stop and invent someone. I know who’s in the year, I know who’s in which house, I know what their parentage is, and I have a few personal details on all of them. So there were 40. I never consciously thought, “That’s it, that’ s all the people in his year,” but that’s kind of how it’s worked out. Then I’ve been asked a few times how many people and because numbers are not my strong point, one part of my brain knew 40, and another part of my brain said, “Oh, about 600 sounds right.” Then people started working it out and saying, "Where are the other kids sleeping?" [Laughter.] We have a little bit of a dilemma there. I mean, obviously magic is very rare. I wouldn’t want to say a precise ratio. But if you assume that all of the wizarding children are being sent to Hogwarts, then that’s very few wizard-to-Muggle population, isn’t it? There will be the odd kid whose parents don’t want them to go to Hogwarts, but 600 out of the whole of Britain is tiny.
Let’s say three thousand [in Britain], actually, thinking about it, and then think of all the magical creatures, some of which appear human. So then you’ve got things like hags, trolls, ogres and so on, so that’s really bumping up your numbers. And then you’ve got the world of sad people like Filch and Figg who are kind of part of the world but are hangers on. That’s going to bump you up a bit as well, so it’s a more sizable, total magical community that needs hiding, concealing, but don’t hold me to these figures, because that’s not how I think.
MA: How much fun did you have with the romance in this book?
JKR: Oh, loads. Doesn’t it show?
JKR: There’s a theory – this applies to detective novels, and then Harry, which is not really a detective novel, but it feels like one sometimes – that you should not have romantic intrigue in a detective book. Dorothy L. Sayers, who is queen of the genre said — and then broke her own rule, but said — that there is no place for romance in a detective story except that it can be useful to camouflage other people’s motives. That’s true; it is a very useful trick. I’ve used that on Percy and I’ve used that to a degree on Tonks in this book, as a red herring. But having said that, I disagree inasmuch as mine are very character-driven books, and it’s so important, therefore, that we see these characters fall in love, which is a necessary part of life. How did you feel about the romance?
[Melissa puts her thumbs up and grins widely while…]
ES: We were hi-fiving the whole time.
JKR: [laughs] Yes! Good. I’m so glad.
MA: We were running back and forth between rooms yelling at each other.
ES: We thought it was clearer than ever that Harry and Ginny are an item and Ron and Hermione — although we think you made it painfully obvious in the first five books —
JKR: [points to herself and whispers] So do I!
ES: What was that?
JKR: [More loudly] Well so do I! So do I!
[All laugh; Melissa doubles over, hysterical, and may have died.]
ES: Harry/Hermione shippers – they’re delusional!
JKR: Well no, I’m not going to – Emerson, I am not going to say they’re delusional! They are still valued members of my readership! I am not going to use the word delusional. I am however, going to say — now I am trusting both of you to do the spoiler thing when you write this up —
JKR: I will say, that yes, I personally feel – well it’s going to be clear once people have read book six. I mean, that’s it. It’s done, isn’t it? We know. Yes, we do now know that it’s Ron and Hermione. I do feel that I have dropped heavy -
[All crack up]
JKR: – hints. ANVIL-sized, actually, hints, prior to this point. I certainly think even if subtle clues hadn’t been picked up by the end of “Azkaban,” that by the time we hit Krum in Goblet…
But Ron — I had a lot of fun with that in this book. I really enjoyed writing the Ron/Lavender business, and the reason that was enjoyable was Ron up to this point has been quite immature compared to the other two and he kind of needed to make himself worthy of Hermione. Now, that didn’t mean necessarily physical experience but he had to grow up emotionally and now he’s taken a big step up. Because he’s had the meaningless physical experience – let’s face it, his emotions were never deeply engaged with Lavender -
[Much laughter in which Melissa emits a "Won-Won"]
JKR: – and he’s realized that that is ultimately not what he wants, which takes him a huge emotional step forward.
ES: So he’s got a little bit more than a teaspoon, now there’s a tablespoon?
JKR: Yeah, I think. [Laughter]
MA: Watching all this, were you surprised when you first logged on and found this intense devotion to this thing that you knew was not going to happen?
JKR: Yes. Well, you see, I’m a relative newcomer to the world of shipping, because for a long time, I didn’t go on the net and look up Harry Potter. A long time. Occasionally I had to, because there were weird news stories or something that I would have to go and check, because I was supposed to have said something I hadn’t said. I had never gone and looked at fan sites, and then one day I did and oh – my – god. Five hours later or something, I get up from the computer shaking slightly [all laugh]. ‘What is going on?’ And it was during that first mammoth session that I met the shippers, and it was a most extraordinary thing. I had no idea there was this huge underworld seething beneath me.
ES: She’s putting it into a positive light!
JKR: Well I am, I am, but you know. I want to make it clear that delusional is your word and not mine! [Much laughter.]
MA: You’re making our lives a lot easier by laying it on the table -
JKR: Well I think anyone who is still shipping Harry/Hermione after this book -
ES: [whispered] Delusional!
JKR: Uh – no! But they need to go back and reread, I think.
ES: Thank you.
MA: That is going to -
JKR: Will it make your lives slightly easier?
[All three]: Yeah, yeah.
JKR: I think so.
MA: I have to tell you, I’m looking forward to [this coming out], because, you know, a lot of this is predicated upon a necessary hate for another character. Ron has suffered horribly at the hands of Harry/Hermione shippers.
JKR: That bit makes me very uncomfortable, actually. Yeah, that bit does make me uncomfortable.
ES: Honestly, I think the Harry/Hermione shippers are a very small percentage of the population anyway.
MA: Yeah, if you do a general poll -
ES: They seem more prominent online, but that’s just because the online fandom is very -
MA: Militant was the best word I heard -
JKR: Militant is a beautifully chosen word. Energetic. Feisty.
MA: What does it do to you to see a character that you love, for people to express sheer hate -
ES: Or vice versa.
JKR: It amuses me. It honestly amuses me. People have been waxing lyrical [in letters] about Draco Malfoy, and I think that’s the only time when it stopped amusing me and started almost worrying me. I’m trying to clearly distinguish between Tom Felton, who is a good looking young boy, and Draco, who, whatever he looks like, is not a nice man. It’s a romantic, but unhealthy, and unfortunately all too common delusion of — delusion, there you go — of girls, and you [nods to Melissa] will know this, that they are going to change someone. And that persists through many women’s lives, till their death bed, and it is uncomfortable and unhealthy and it actually worried me a little bit, to see young girls swearing undying devotion to this really imperfect character, because there must be an element in there, that "I’d be the one who [changes him]." I mean, I understand the psychology of it, but it is pretty unhealthy. So, a couple of times I have written back, possibly quite sharply, saying [Laughter], "You want to rethink your priorities here."
JKR: Again, your word!
ES: On our Web sites we have a tendency to have very different stances on shipping. On The Leaky Cauldron tow this fine political line —
MA: Down the line. We say, "If that’s your thing, that’s your thing."
ES: And on MuggleNet, we say -
JKR: [Laughing] You say you’re delusional lunatics?
MA: He basically says, “If you don’t think this, just get off my site.”
[JKR cracks up]
ES: We say, “You’re clearly delusional!”
JKR: What’s that section on your site again, when you post the absolute absurdities that you’ve received?
ES: The Wall of Shame?
JKR: The Wall of Shame. We could have a Wall of Shame. We could have them pasted up here, some of the ludicrous things I receive.
MA: What kind of things?
JKR: Very similar stuff. Very similar. From pure abuse, to just ramblings — we could say of an existential nature. Not from kids, from older people. What made me laugh out loud, I think, was your [Emerson’s] comment on there saying, “Please don’t try and send me a stupid email so you end up on the Wall of Shame.” Isn’t that human nature? It starts off as let’s expose these [laughter], and people are competing to be on there?
ES: Delusional, like I said. It’s my word of the day.
JKR: Sorry, I just snorted my drink. Sorry, go on.
MA: I wanted to go back to Draco.
JKR: OK, yeah, let’s talk about Draco.
MA: He was utterly fascinating in this book.
JKR: Well, I’m glad you think so, because I enjoyed this one. Draco did a lot of growing up in this book as well. I had an interesting discussion, I thought, with my editor Emma, about Draco. She said to me, "So, Malfoy can do Occlumency," which obviously Harry never mastered and has now pretty much given up on doing, or attempting. And she was querying this and wondering whether he should be as good as it, but I think Draco would be very gifted in Occlumency, unlike Harry. Harry’s problem with it was always that his emotions were too near the surface and that he is in some ways too damaged. But he’s also very in touch with his feelings about what’s happened to him. He’s not repressed, he’s quite honest about facing them, and he couldn’t suppress them, he couldn’t suppress these memories. But I thought of Draco as someone who is very capable of compartmentalizing his life and his emotions, and always has done. So he’s shut down his pity, enabling him to bully effectively. He’s shut down compassion — how else would you become a Death Eater? So he suppresses virtually all of the good side of himself. But then he’s playing with the big boys, as the phrase has it, and suddenly, having talked the talk he’s asked to walk it for the first time and it is absolutely terrifying. And I think that that is an accurate depiction of how some people fall into that kind of way of life and they realize what they’re in for. I felt sorry for Draco. Well, I’ve always known this was coming for Draco, obviously, however nasty he was.
Harry is correct in believing that Draco would not have killed Dumbledore, which I think is clear when he starts to lower his wand, when the matter is taken out of his hands.
ES: Was Dumbledore planning to die?
JKR: [Pause.] Do you think that’s going to be the big theory?
MA & ES: Yes. It’ll be a big theory.
JKR: [Pause.] Well, I don’t want to shoot that one down. [A little laughter.] I have to give people hope.
MA: It goes back to the question of whether Snape is a double-double-double-triple-
JKR: [Laughs] Double-double-quadruple-to-the-power-of – yeah.
MA: …whether this had been planned, and since Dumbledore had this knowledge of Draco the whole year, had they had a discussion that said, "Should this happen, you have to act as if it is entirely your intention to just walk forward and kill me, because if you don’t, Draco will die, the Unbreakable Vow, you’ll die," and so on —
JKR: No, I see that, and yeah, I follow your line there. I can’t — I mean, obviously, there are lines of speculation I don’t want to shut down. Generally speaking, I shut down those lines of speculation that are plain unprofitable. Even with the shippers. God bless them, but they had a lot of fun with it. It’s when people get really off the wall — it’s when people devote hours of their time to proving that Snape is a vampire that I feel it’s time to step in, because there’s really nothing in the canon that supports that.
ES: It’s when you look for those things —
JKR: Yeah, it’s after the 15th rereading when you have spots in front of your eyes that you start seeing clues about Snape being the Lord of Darkness. So, there are things I shut down just because I think, well, don’t waste your time, there’s better stuff to be debating, and even if it’s wrong, it will probably lead you somewhere interesting. That’s my rough theory anyway.
ES: What’s one question you wished to be asked and what would be the answer to that question?
JKR: Um — [long pause] — such a good question. What do I wish I could be asked? [Pause.] Today, just today, July the 16th, I was really hoping someone would ask me about R.A.B., and you did it. Just today, because I think that is — well, I hoped that people would.
MA: Is there more we should ask about him?
JKR: There are things you will deduce on further readings, I think — well you two definitely will, for sure — that, yeah, I was really hoping that R.A.B. would come out.
MA: Forgive me if I’m remembering incorrectly, but was Regulus the one who was murdered by Voldemort —
JKR: Well Sirius said he wouldn’t have been because he wasn’t important enough, remember?
MA: But that doesn’t have to be true, if [R.A.B.] is writing Voldemort a personal note.
JKR: That doesn’t necessarily show that Voldemort killed him, personally, but Sirius himself suspected that Regulus got in a little too deep. Like Draco. He was attracted to it, but the reality of what it meant was way too much to handle.
Oh, how did you feel about Lupin/Tonks?
ES: That was -
MA: I was surprised!
ES: I was surprised, but I wasn’t shocked.
MA: I think I was a little shocked.
JKR: Someone out there, and I don’t know if it was on either of your sites — I nearly fell off my chair. Someone, this is when I do my trawls — I mean, I sound like I spend my life on the Internet and that’s why I don’t get my novels finished more quickly. I swear that’s not true, and I’d like to make that clear for all the recording devices on the table. Because I’ve now got my site, I go looking for the FAQs and for fan sites that I like to put up, so that’s how I find out comments and things. And someone out there, I could not believe it, had said it. Had said, “Oh no, Tonks can’t marry so-and-so, (God knows who it was) because Tonks is going to end up with Lupin, and they’re going to have lots of little multicolored werewolf cubs together,” or something. [NOTE: Comments like this have been made around the Net; the most prominent example we can find is Martje’s comment when she won our PoA sweepstakes, at the bottom of this post.]
MA: I’ve seen that!
JKR: Did you see that? Was that on Leaky, then?
MA: Maybe — no offense [to Emerson] but I don’t usually have time to read the MuggleNet comments —
JKR: I suppose, so many people are posting, that you would expect them to come up with virtually every possibility.
ES: Oh, yeah, they have come up with everything.
[All crack up.]
JKR: Ain’t it the truth. I know! I suppose if I did spend all my time on there, pretty much my whole future plot would be on there somewhere.
ES: How much time do you go on the fan sites?
JKR: It really varies. When my site is quiet, it is genuinely because I’m working really hard or I’m busy with the kids or something. When I update a few times in a row, I’ve obviously been on the net. So the FAQs and that kind of stuff is just compiled by hard copy post that I get here and fan sites. I go looking to see what people want answered. It’s fantastic, it’s sometimes frustrating, but I do want to make clear, I do not post in comments, because I know that’s been cropping up. You’ve both been really responsible about that, but that slightly worries me. I did go in the MuggleNet chatroom, it was hysterical. That was the first time I ever Googled Harry Potter. I was just falling into these things and Leaky — actually Leaky I already knew about, but I discovered MuggleNet that first-ever afternoon and I went in the chatroom, and it was so funny. I was treated with outright contempt. [Laughter.] It was funny, I can’t tell you.
ES: I’d like to apologize for, uh -
JKR: No, no no no, not in a horrible way, but, "Yeah, yeah, shut up, you’re not a regular, you don’t know a thing." You can imagine!