Interview transcript (partial), Blue Peter (cBBC), 12 March, 2001
Transcribed by Heidi Tandy, courtesy of Harry Potter for Grownups.
Scene : BBC studio. Fairly well done mock-up of the Gryffindor common room (well it looked like I imagine it :). JKR is sat on a chair in front of the fire. Three Blue Peter presenters are also sat on chairs (BPP1-> BPP3, BPP3 seemed very enthusiastic about HP. All looked to be in their early twenties). Assorted young children (7, 8, 9, 10-years-old?) are sat on the floor. Some of the questions were asked by the children, others were postal-questions read out by the presenters.
[bit of chatter about Comic Relief - a children's charity that JKR is supporting with her two new books]
BPP1. After announcing that you were coming in we were literally swamped with thousands of questions. So let's crack on with the first one from X.
Child: My question is. What inspires you to write these great books?
JKR: (holding up the two new books). These particular great books were as I say inspired ... I had a lot of this material already and I'd never used it in a novel and didn't think I ever would be able to. Things like all the Quidditch teams in Britain and all the different magical beasts and creatures. And I just really wanted to use it. And this was just a great way of using the material.
BPP2: Super. That was a very popular question, as is this one that’s been sent in by X from Cardiff who would like to know, how you come up with all the fantastic names for the beasts and characters in HP.
JKR: Erm, I, I, kind of collect unusual names. You have to be very careful about telling me your name if you do have an unusual name because I'll probably put you in a book <laughter> ... and I make a lot of the names up. But mostly maps. Maps are a great source for names ...
JKR: Yeah. Dursley and Dudley and Snape are all, erm, places I can't visit anymore obviously.
BPP3: So we should look forward to Scunthorpe? And the like?
JKR: Scunthorpe would be good yes.
BPP3: <unclear> an unusual name now. Okay we've got a question here which has been sent in from X who's from Bournemouth. And he says that the beasts and monsters in your books are very real. Do they appear in your dreams and do they give you nightmares?
JKR: Erm, no I've, I've, never had a dream about any of the creatures in, in, my books but, erm, the thing I would be most frightened of is, erm, my worst fear is Ron's, spiders, so the Chamber of Secrets when they find the giant spiders, that would be my nightmare, definitely.
BPP3: And there's other people that have definitely had dreams about your books before.
BPP1: X from Brighton who's got another popular question.
Child: Is Quidditch based on a Muggle game or is it made up completely from new?
JKR: Completely new. In America they say it’s a game like soccer, and if you've ever seen a game of football anything like Quidditch then <shakes head>... erm ... no, I just made it up. I always want to see a game where there were four balls in play at once .. or more than one ball in play, I just thought it would be funny ... and violent and it is and so it just loads of fun to write and that’s probably the thing in the film I'm most looking forward to seeing, because I've been watching this inside my head for so long.
BBP2: Well continuing the Quidditch theme, we've got a question here that's come in from X from West Lothian in Scotland and her question is, if you could chose a Quidditch position, what would it be and what house would you play for?
JKR: Well I'd obviously want to play for Gryffindor ... as any sane person would ... but, erm, I'd want to be Seeker, but I would have no chance ... I'm completely uncoordinated ...
JKR: I'm very unsporting ... I'd ... there's no way I'd be allowed anywhere near a broomstick probably ...
BPP3: You'd be lethal. Okay. [child] have you got a question?
Child: As you've been writing about Harry for such a long time, does he now feel like a part of your family?
JKR: Er, yeah, he does in a way really. He's very very real to me ... and, erm, I'm actually dreading stopping writing about him, because it's been so long now ... but I know I am going to stop writing about him ... just to forestall the question <laughs> ... still only seven books ... but yes, he feels very real to me.
BPP1: [child] from London, you've got a probing query haven't you?
Child: What happened to Fluffy and is Arabella Figg the same Mrs Figg in book one?
JKR: I love an ... I love attentive readers, erm, you tend to find at Hogwarts that, erm, anything that's dangerous ends up in the forest ... so that's where Fluffy was released, so he's roaming round in the forest ... erm, and, er, yes, Arabella Figg is Mrs Figg ... but you'll have to wait 'til book 5 to find out exactly where she fits into things ...
JKR: But, I, you obviously read really carefully to know that, to have noticed that.
BPP2: Good question, good question. I've got another good question here ... what accent is Hagrid supposed to speak in?
JKR: West country ... where I come from, I come from the West country.
BPP3: So now we know. [child] has a question.
Child: If you saw a Boggart, what would it change into and how would you destroy it?
JKR: Erm ... either a spider, like Ron sees when his Boggart turns into a giant spider, possibly a Dementor, because I think they're the scariest things I've written.
BBP2: Okay, [child] from Sunderland ...
Child. If you were starting all over again to write Harry Potter is there anything you would change?
JKR: Loads of things. <smiles> You never reread your own books without thinking, oh, why did I say it like that. But, but, not big things they tend to be quite little things I would change.
BPP3: Yeah, because they're so good as they are. Okay X have you got a question?
Child: When Harry leaves Hogwarts will he return as a teacher?
JKR: How do know I'm not going to kill him off in book 7?
(Gasps and smiles from children and presenters)
JKR: <chuckling> Erm, I'm not telling you, I know, I know what's going to happen to all of them after Hogwarts ... <hurriedly> the people who survive ... what's coming. So, erm, but I'm not going to tell you <grinning now>
BPP2: More suspense!
BPP3: Okay x has a question ... what would a magic red-nose be like ...
[There was a short discussion of Comic Relief Red Nose Day, as JKR urged people to buy the red-noses and so benefit charity].
BPP3: Just a quickie - have you finished book 5?
JKR: No, I'm sorry. No. (laughs, and then looks a little apologetic as BPP3 groans and smites her brow). I'm trying.
BPP2: <rounds up>