Saturday, October 20, 2007

J.K. Rowling Gives Details, and Lots of Them

J.K. Rowling's U.S. book tour ended with a bang in New York last night. As I hoped, she revealed all kinds of juicy information and gave great answers. The preliminary transcript is here at the Leaky Cauldron... more to come. There are a huge number of spoilers, so only click on it if you solemnly swear that you've finished the 7th book.

The revelation about Dumbledore (which I suspected after reading the 7th book- but hadn't thought a lot about) is all over the news today, so it might be hard to miss. But even if you've heard it, I highly recommend clicking on the post so you can see the full context of her answer. I also added a new poll on the subject, see the sidebar to vote.

There's more discussion about Dumbledore on Worth the Trip, A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy, and Confessions of A Bibliovore. Also, Dumbledore's Wikipedia entry has already been updated.

Monica from Educating Alice, Betsy from Fuse #8 and GraceAnne (whose thoughts were included in a Leaky Cauldron post) were lucky enough to see J.K. Rowling live on Friday morning. Lisa Yee wrote about seeing J.K. Rowling at her L.A. tour stop and also posted her reaction to the news about Dumbledore.

Update: The Leaky Cauldron preliminary transcript mentioned above is now complete.
Also, there's a great additional post at Worth the Trip with links to worldwide news coverage on the subject.


  1. I actually wouldn't say I was surprised *or* that I suspected it, simply because I didn't think about it. We've read a lot of talk (child_lit, anyone?) about whether it's silly or "right" for J.K. Rowling to propogate aspects of her characters' lives that didn't make it to the page, and I fall into the "silly" camp. Nonetheless, Grindelwald's beautiful looks and Dumbledore's infatuation with him were definitely there in Book 7, which invited some reading between the lines. This announcement doesn't come as a total surprise!

  2. Lisa- you make great points... and yes, I read the child_lit listserv too. =) I fall into the camp that finds Rowling's remarks fascinating, but I know that many people feel that everything should have in the text.
    I agree Dumbledore's infatuation with Grindelwald was pretty detailed in the 7th book... enough for me to suspect it, but it wasn't a subject I had thought a lot about.

  3. Well I was surprised, but it just wasn't something I had thought about before.

    I also find Rowling's extensive post-book 7 comments a bit silly (yet I read them all anyway!). But I did enjoy her answer to a question from an 8-year-old who asked about the inappropriate charms Abeforth performed on a goat.

  4. Liz- well said. I agree, it wasn't something I had given a lot of thought. And yes, wasn't that goat comment great?

  5. Okay, I need a link to the discussion of Aberforth and the goat! :-)

  6. The discussion of Aberforth and the goat is in the Leaky Cauldron transcript linked to above in this post. The question was asked by an eight year old, and the answer was very funny.

  7. Oops, I totally blew by it! Thanks.

  8. I think the revelation that J.K. Rowling thinks of Dumbledore as gay is cool . . . but sort of unnecessary. To me, it was the sort of thing that was better relegated to subtext. Now, granted, a writer notorius for conveying character through name (Xenophilius Lovegood? Scorpius Malfoy?) isn't always great at trusting to subtext. But I find myself wishing sometimes that she could step back from her creations and allow people's own interpretations of them to blossom, rather than continuing to give definitive answers. Now that Book 7 is out, she no longer feels the need to be coy, but I sometimes feel she's reducing her work rather than expanding it.

    My favorite part of the answer, incidentally, was her nod to fan fiction (implicitly, slash fiction) sites. I get a real kick out of these, because I've always had my own private theories about the characters' sex lives, and I've been quite relieved to learn that I am FAR from the only pervert out there. There have been hundreds of stories written that literalize the sexual tension between Harry and Draco . . . and I can pretty much guarantee that Jo Rowling won't go there in an interview!

    For this reason, I was also disappointed to learn that Neville married Hannah Abbott, as I had recently been holding out for a Neville/Luna pairing (or confirmation of the suspicion, held since Book 1, that he was gay).

  9. Branden-
    I liked that she mentioned fan fiction too- I thought it was funny.
    It doesn't bother me that J.K. Rowling is talking about information not in the book. My feeling is that she's only answering questions that people have asked her directly.
    My biggest question about Neville from the Carnegie Hall event, was that if he lived at the Leaky Cauldron and worked at Hogwarts, isn't it a bit of a commute to work? Although, if the Floo Network was safe to use again, that would be a pretty direct route.

  10. I am falling into the camp that wishes JKR would leave SOMETHING for the reader to speculate about, imagine, hope for. My family's ideas about the character's futures were much richer and interesting than the ordinary jobs JKR revealed.

    Is her word canon? I appreciate that she has so much of this world's story still percolating in her mind but her pronouncements are like a mother ending an argument or discussion with "because I said so." I've been enjoying the discussion and conjecture.

    I haven't had time to follow the child_lit discussion yet. So much to catch up with this week.

  11. Camille-
    I love the conjecture and theory too. (And I think that so does J.K. Rowling). Now you've got me curious- what were your family's ideas about the characters futures?

    The Harry Potter Lexicon does consider the interviews canon... but I feel this was probably more relevant before all seven books were published.

  12. I fall into the camp that thinks it wasn't necessary to mention Dumbledore's sexuality at all. The books stood perfectly well as they were; this little bit of information didn't really add anything important. It just seems very silly to talk about it at this point.

  13. Pirate Ninja Mommy- an awful lot of people are in your camp. You're definitely not alone!