Books one and two were both published in Britain before book one came out in the US. British fans got an eighteen month head start on American fans. When book three came out, the US edition came out “only” two months after the UK edition. This was the last time that the books came out at different times. Also, this was the last time that the books came out without major fanfare.
What were fans wondering about?
- What’s in all those “boxes and boxes of stuff on Harry — wizard laws, notebooks, bits of ideas”? (AP News Wire, November 23, 1998).
- Who was she referring to when she said in an interview “…there is a character who does manage in desperate circumstances to do magic quite late in life” (Barnes and Noble chat, March 1999)?
- The story still had a sense of innocence to it, so this statement generated a lot of discussion: “[The] … last chapter deals with what happens to the survivors afterward. Because there will be deaths.” Who dies? And what’s in that last chapter?
- Fans started forming very strong opinions about romantic pairings after Rowling said “I’m having so much fun writing Book 4 because for the first time Harry, Ron, and Hermione are starting to recognize boys and girls as boys and girls. Everyone is in love with the wrong people” (Barnes and Noble chat, September 8, 1999).
- What’s the deal with Snape? She talked a lot about him in an interview with The Connection, October 12, 1999, which set fans speculating.
- Which of Harry’s classmates will end up teaching at Hogwarts?
- When a rat turned into a wizard, fans went into overdrive trying to find hidden meanings in everything.
- What’s so important about Harry having his mother’s eyes?
- What does it mean that the last word in the story is “scar”?