Books and Writing

"Launch Day interview aboard the Hogwarts Express," Bloomsbury Press, July 8, 2000

"'Don’t tickle a sleeping dragon'.... All the schools I’ve ever been to or taught in have mottos: 'Persevere', 'Onwards and Upwards'. I wanted good solid practical advice for Hogwarts."
-- J.K. Rowling, 8 July 2000


Stephen Fry interviewed J.K. Rowling on Saturday 8 July 2000, the publication day of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The interview took place aboard the Hogwart’s Express train while it was between King’s Cross & Didcot stations.


Interesting facts and notes

The interview was meant to have taken place with the background noise of the moving train. However, other than during the first section, the train was on a siding between Kings' Cross Station and Finsbury Park in North London, waiting for permission to cross over to the Didcot line which runs out of Paddington Station while the interview was being filmed.
-- information from private source

Memorable lines

"The funny thing is that I did always think that, if it ever did get published, it was a book for obsessives..... And I did think if people liked it they would probably like it obsessively.... but I thought that it would be an obsessive few – I never guessed it would be an obsessive many."

"The most important thing when you are creating a fantasy world is to set the rules.... Because without it – you have no conflict; you have no tension; you have no drama – if you have given your characters limitless powers and no barriers. You have to decide first of all most importantly what they can’t do, way before you decide what they can do."

"I was so grateful that they were publishing me, I would have called myself Enid Snodgrass had they so required."


Stephen Fry is a well known UK actor and writer. He is also the voice of the UK versions of the Harry Potter audiobooks (Wikipedia).

He and J.K. Rowling discuss the word “parselmouth” during the interview and Stephen Fry comments that the word has "great power" and feels like "an ancient myth". The discussions about words and meaning continued informally during lunch on the train.
-- information from private source

The steam train used was formed from "Taw Valley" engine 34027, with the carriages from the "Queen of Scots". It included luxury facilities and a dining car (Severn Valley RailwayNational Preservation and private source).

From the Web

Transcript: Accio Quote

The videos were originally posted on Bloomsbury's website:, q2.ram (etc), but are now unavailable. All but one are currently saved on YouTube:

Part 1 (1:49)
Part 2 (1:36)
Part 3 (1:47)
Part 4 (0:56)
Part 5 (1:18)
Part 6 (1:49)
Part 7 (0:56)
Part 8 (missing)
Part 9 (0:21)

In the missing Part 8, they talked about the first film and the casting of roles.

"Well, it looks as though we will get my dream, which was an all-British cast. So thus far I’m very happy. At one point it didn’t look as though that would be the case, so I’m very happy."

Article from The Beauty of Transport website, written in 2013: The Many Lives of the Hogwarts Express

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The Harry Potter Canon