16 July 2005 Edinburgh “cub reporter” press conference. This press conference featured “cub” reporters — fans between the ages of 8 and 16 selected from around the world.
Interesting facts and notes
If Voldemort ever encountered a boggart what would he see?
JK Rowling: The thing that Voldemort fears more than anything else is his own death. It its the quest of his life to cheat death, so we would have to see himself lying dead on the floor.
In the second book, if you see a basilisk and you are wearing glasses, will they protect you? And if they do, why did Moaning Myrtle die, and if they don't, why not?
JK Rowling: That is a really good question. And I have been asked that before. I had to decide the glasses couldn't protect you. I just had to, because obviously there would be quite a few people at Hogwarts who were wearing glasses and I thought that might cause me plot difficulties, so I decided that glasses alone wouldn't protect you.
But as you know, I had Justin protected by the camera lens, so I think I am open for criticism there, but the way I explained to myself he was looking through several lenses and wasn't actually seeing the thing directly, it wasn't through his eyeline, when you look through a camera you are looking through the lens, it is a little distorted. You can argue with me on that and I wouldn't blame you but that is how I explained it to my self at the time.
Wondering if you have ever written anything before that has complicated something you wrote afterwards? Like A tells B something and B is not meant to know that until later, how did you get around this problem?
JK Rowling: That is a very good question, it shows a lot of insight into the problems of having a very long plot.
I have normally caught things in time. During the writing of Chamber of Secrets, the story line of the Half-Blood Prince in this book was initially incorporated into the second book and I obviously do not want an elaborate on that in case people haven't finished the book and that is why the working title of Chamber of Secrets was the Half-Blood Prince, it became clear to me during the writing of that book that I had two major plots here that really did not work too well together side by side, so one had to be pulled out, it became clear immediately that.
I could have soldiered on, included that information there and that would have been messed up the later plot, as you know if you have. I will be very careful, the revelations about the half-blood, for instance, would have blown a lot of things open...
I was wondering why Harry had glasses?
JK Rowling: Because I had glasses all through my childhood and I was sick and tired of the person in the books who wore the glasses was always the brainy one and it really irritated me and I wanted to read about a hero wearing glasses.
It also has a symbolic function, Harry is the eyes on to the books in the sense that it is always Harry's point of view, so there was also that, you know, facet of him wearing glasses.
If you were an animagus, what would you like to be?
JK Rowling: This always amuses me this idea. You see, you do not know what you are going to be until you have done it, so you might spend half a decade trying to turn into an animal and then find out you were a slug or something, which would be most unpleasant.
I gave Hermione my favourite animal, which is an otter. If you wanted to be something impressive, you would probably be something like a stag or a tiger, would you not, I just suspect I might be a guinea pig or something which would be so embarrassing.
How did you think up the motto "Never tickle sleeping dragons", which appears under the crest? Is there a story about it?
JK Rowling: You know the way that most school slogans are thing like persevere and nobility, charity and fidelity or something, it just amused me to give an entirely practical piece of advice for the Hogwarts school motto.
Then a friend of mine who is a professor of classics - my Latin was not up to the job, I did not think it should be cod Latin, it is good enough for cod Latin spells, that is they used to be a mixture of Latin and other things. When it came to a proper Latin slogan for the school I wanted it to be right, I went to him and asked him to translate. I think he really enjoyed it, he rang me up and said, "I think I found the exactly right word, 'Titillandus'", that was how that was dreamt up.
When you start, do you do a complete plan before you start writing, or do you just have an idea from the start and then just keep writing.
JK Rowling: I do a plan. I plan, I really plan quite meticulously. I know it is sometimes quite boring because when people say to me, "I write stories at school and what advice would you give me to make my stories better?" And I always say ¬¬ and people's face often fall when I say ¬¬ "You have to plan," and they say "Oh, I prefer just writing and seeing where it takes me". Sometimes writing and seeing where it takes you will lead you to some really good ideas but I would say nearly always it won't be as good as if you sat down first and thought: Where do I want to go, what end am I working towards, what would be good, a good start? Sorry, very dull.
Edinburgh “cub reporter” press conference on ITV