Blood status and prejudice Dark Magic Magic and magical theory Potions

Interview with Steve Kloves and J.K. Rowling

Dumbledore often speaks for me.
-- J. K. Rowling (CS/SK)

Mzimba, Lizo, moderator. Chamber of Secrets DVD interview with Steve Kloves and J.K. Rowling, February 2003.

Memorable lines

JKR: I find that all the time in the book, if you need to tell your readers something just put it in (Hermione). There are only two characters that you can put it convincingly into their dialogue. One is Hermione, the other is Dumbledore. In both cases you accept, it's plausible that they have, well Dumbledore knows pretty much everything anyway, but that Hermione has read it somewhere. So, she's handy.

Kloves: Yeah, she's really handy. And she's also just, I think, just tremendously entertaining. There's something about her fierce intellect coupled with a complete lack of understanding of how she affects people sometimes that I just find charming and irresistible to write.

JKR: Well obviously in the wizard world passes for racism, and that's deeply entrenched in the whole plot, there's this issue going on about the bad side really advocating a kind of genocide, to exterminate what they see as these half-blood people. So that was obviously very conscious, but the other messages do grow organically. But I've never, no I've never set out to teach anyone anything. It's been more of an expression of my views and feelings than sitting down and deciding "What is today's message?" And I do think that, although I never, again, sat down consciously and thought about this, I do think judging, even for my own daughter, that children respond to that than to "thought for the day."

JKR: ...I would agree that there's always the pressure of time and space with the film, that is a stronger theme in the book and yet it is present in the film but for me I suppose when I look back in the book or I think about that book that is the time in the overall entire series where the issue of pure blood becomes very important, so yeah, maybe more weight to that.

JKR: I was most worried about the spiders. Because you see these old sci-fi movies where they have spiders and they're always hysterically funny, they're never, never scary. And it's easy to write a scene like that in a novel, and make it scary. But when I started thinking about how we were going to actually see that, in fact it was extremely frightening. They were the most frightening large spiders I've ever seen in my life.

Steve: I had the same concern, I just thought, as I was writing, I was thinking "How are we going to do this?" You've got Aragog saying "Who goes there?" basically, you know, this giant spider, and I was saying "This is just going to be hysterical," sorry, I'm laughing as I'm writing it! ...

Steve: Yeah, well one thing that you learn about movies is that the thing that you're more worried about often is the thing that's not a problem. And the thing that you don't worry about is a complete disaster. So I've found, it's funny because you're talking about the scares in the movie. I know the thing that terrified my son the most in the first movie was opening the book, and the book screaming. And I think it was because it was something he could identify with. Which is, he could take a book off the shelf, and open it, and there might be a face in there screaming. He wasn't scared by the other things at all.

JKR: But I think I wrote that, those are the sort of details that I write because, that would scare me. I read all the time and to have to just open something and have it shriek at me. And one thing that I thought that was well done in the film, Chamber of Secrets, was the diary. Now, the diary to me is a very scary object, a really, really frightening object. This manipulative little book, the temptation particularly for a young girl to pour out her heart to a diary, which is never something I was prone to, but my sister was. The power of something that answers you back, and at the time that I wrote that I'd never been in an Internet chat room. But I've since thought "Well it's very similar." Just typing your deepest thoughts into the ether and getting answers back, and you don't know who is answering you. And so that was always a very scary image to me, in the book, and I thought it worked very well in the film. You could understand when he started writing to see these things coming back to him, and the power of that, that secret friend in your pocket.


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