JK Rowling's World Book Day Chat,
March 4, 2004

Video of BBC post-chat interview available at offsiteThe Leaky Cauldron

JK Rowling says: Hi everyone, I'm here LIVE and ready to answer your questions!

Bobby: Any thoughts about a prequel series?
JK Rowling replies -> No, no prequels here. You won't need them by the time I've finished, you'll have all the back story you'll need!

miggs: Is there going to be a new minister of magic in the next books?
JK Rowling replies -> Yes. Ha! Finally, a concrete bit of information, I hear you cry!

Kaidi MacKay: Dumbledore is getting older, will it be a lot harder for him to fight Lord Voldermort this time around?
JK Rowling replies -> He is getting older, but he didn't do badly at the end of 'Phoenix', so there's life in him yet!

Kings Park primery school: what will happen to hagrids half brother?
JK Rowling replies -> You'll find out in book six. Luckily he's become a little more controllable.

AjXTee: How long does it take you to plan a book before you even start writing? Or do you just plan as you go along?
JK Rowling replies -> It's hard to say; book six has been planned for years, but before I started writing seriously I spend two months re-visting the plan and making absolutely sure I knew what I was doing (learning from my mistakes - I didn't check the plan for 'Goblet of Fire' and had to re-write a third of the book.

Damaged: Will Winky ever recover?
JK Rowling replies -> Poor Winky... she'll never be entirely cured of her Butterbeer addiction, I'm afraid.

HarriFreak: Who is the 'one that never will return' deatheater?
JK Rowling replies -> You have to work it out, but a lot of fansites have got it right.

Vicky from Bishop Walsh RC Comprehensive - Sutton Coldfield: How do you react when your books/movies are criticized by critics?
JK Rowling replies -> It depends what they say. Sometimes I agree with the criticism, though I can't say that's fun. It also depends who it is. There's a vast difference between being criticized by someone you really admire (which has happened) and someone who you don't admire at all (which doesn't hurt!)

Catheldral school: Will wormtail ever pay Harry back?
JK Rowling replies -> You'll see... keep reading!

SnapesForte: Is Mad Eye Moody the real Moody this time? And if he is, is he up to something fishy? Because he's acting too muhc like Crouch jr - sniffing food etc
JK Rowling replies -> It's the other way around - Crouch Jnr. acted just like the real Moody.

Tanya J Potter: If you could change anything about Harry Potter what would it be?
JK Rowling replies -> There are loads of things I would change. I don't think any writer is ever completely happy with what they've written. One of these days - once seven is finished - I'll revise all seven books.

pablo: If Harry dies in the ending of the books, will Voldemort be invincible?
JK Rowling replies -> Pablo, I can't possibly answer. You'll have to read book seven!

eastbrook4: why did Harry have to split up with Cho Chang?
JK Rowling replies -> That's life, I'm afraid. They were never going to be happy, it was better that it ended early!

Joshua from Navigation Primary School: How were you involved in making the Harry Potter films and did Hogwarts look like you had imagined it?
JK Rowling replies -> Hogwarts looked just as I imagined it. It was the most bizarre experience when I walked onto the set of the Great Hall; it really was like walking into my own brain.

Harry: Has Voldermort any children?
JK Rowling replies -> No. Voldemort as a father... now that's not a nice thought.

Megan: Is there a link between Snape and vampires?
JK Rowling replies -> Erm... I don't think so.

Cookie246122: Why did you kill Sirius? It made me very sad :(
JK Rowling replies -> I'm really, really sorry. I didn't want to do it, but there was a reason. If you think you can forgive me, keep reading, you'll find out. [I feel really guilty now].

book: Why did Voldemort pick Harry and not Neville?
JK Rowling replies -> Dumbledore explains this in 'Order of the Phoenix'. Voldemort identified more with the half-blood boy and therefore decided he must be the greater risk.

dsm: Are Harry's powers going to get even greater?
JK Rowling replies -> Yes, he's really progressing as a wizard now (which is lucky, because I know what's in store for him).

Hannah from St Malachy’s Primary School - Armagh: Did you feel the actors suited the characters of your book when you met them?
JK Rowling replies -> Yes, I did. Emma Watson in particular was very, very like Hermione when I first spoke to her, I knew she was perfect from that first 'phone call.

gazza: Will harry become head master of hogwarts?
JK Rowling replies -> I'm not sure I can see Harry in an academic career, he's seen so much action!

Class A.G: Did you base Voldermort on any real people? If so are you related to them?!
JK Rowling replies -> lol No I didn't base Voldemort on any real person!

novell: I find Moaning Myrtle is the saddest character in your books, inspiring a mixture of revulsion and pity. Does she play any further part?
JK Rowling replies -> You do see her again. Don't you like her? I know she's a bit revolting, but that's why I'm so fond of her.

katrin: What does it feel like when kids tell you that it's thanks to you that they started to read?
JK Rowling replies -> Nobody could possibly say anything that pleased me more. It's the most wonderful thing to hear.

*LRGS School: Which character do you most dislike ?
JK Rowling replies -> Probably Uncle Vernon.

class 14: If you were a animagus which animal would you be? and why?
JK Rowling replies -> I gave Hermione my idea animagus, because it's my favourite animal. You'll find the answer in the Room of Requirement, Order of the Phoenix!

Madina: are you planning to ever visit Russia? There are a lot of young fans dreaming about meeting you!
JK Rowling replies -> I'd love to visit Russia, it's a long-standing ambition, so you never know! My son's still a bit young for long journeys, though, he's not one year old yet.

Magwitch: If you could be any female character in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone which one would you be?
JK Rowling replies -> Hermione. Definitely not Pansy Parkinson.

Ali: Why specifically does Dumbledore trust Snape?
JK Rowling replies -> Another excellent and non-answerable question. I shall merely say that Snape has given Dumbledore his story and Dumbledore believes it.

Kings Park Primary School: Which position would you like to play if you played quidditch?
JK Rowling replies -> Who wouldn't want to be Seeker? But I think I'd be dreadful at Quidditch, I'm not sporty, I'm not great with heights and I'm clumsy as well. Neville would be about my standard.

Maidenhead Library: Why did you choose to do books about wizards?
JK Rowling replies -> It chose me... the idea just sprang into my head and I knew I had to write it.

Majeed from Bristol Grammar School - Bristol: To what extent did you conceive Harry Potter as a moral tale?
JK Rowling replies -> I did not conceive it as a moral tale, the morality sprang naturally out of the story, a subtle but important difference. I think any book that sets out to teach or preach is likely to be hard going at times (though I can think of a couple of exceptions).

Luisa: Is Draco an only child?
JK Rowling replies -> Yes. You wouldn't want more Dracos, would you?!

bubbles: if you were Harry Potter for a day what would you do?
JK Rowling replies -> If I, personally, were Harry Potter I think I would go and hide somewhere, but that's because I know what's coming!

Sussie: Does Harry's eyecolour become important in the future books, like we've heard?
JK Rowling replies -> No comment!

Bradley y4 Griffyndor: Why did you call the school Hogwarts?
JK Rowling replies -> I tried all sorts of different versions of the name and then this word floated into my mind and I knew it was the right one.

Lucy: what happened to Wormtail?
JK Rowling replies -> You'll find out in book six.

bibwhang: Will Ron ever get on the Gryffindor quidditch team?
JK Rowling replies -> Well, he's already there! The question is, whether the new Quidditch Captain will allow him to stay!

Siriusstar: Is Remus a pureblood?
JK Rowling replies -> Half blood.

julesrbf: Where did you come up with the word "muggle"?
JK Rowling replies -> I was looking for a word that suggested both foolishness and loveability. The word 'mug' came to mind, for somebody gullible, and then I softened it. I think 'muggle' sounds quite cuddly. I didn't know that the word 'muggle' had been used as drug slang at that point... ah well.

spud: What type of books did you read when you were younger?
JK Rowling replies -> Anything; books for adults and children alike.

Krish: Do you think that the films reflect well on the books?
JK Rowling replies -> I think they're pretty faithful to the books. Hogwarts looks just as I imagined it; I had a lot of input on how the various locations look.

Debbie: What will Ron's job be when he leaves school?
JK Rowling replies -> Well, assuming he lives to leave school... I'm not going to tell you :)

faye109: Is 12 the maximum possible number of OWLs one can achieve?
JK Rowling replies -> Yes, I think it is off the top of my head.

kai: Where do wizarding children go to school before Hogwarts?
JK Rowling replies -> They can either go to a Muggle primary school or they are educated at home. The Weasleys were taught by Mrs. Weasley.

zwimmey: Have you considered writing childrens' science fiction, or will you move on to a completely new genre?
JK Rowling replies -> I don't think I'd be very good at science fiction; you need to know some science! Probably a completely different genre.

Kyla: What made Sirius decide to send Snape to the Willow?
JK Rowling replies -> Because Sirius loathed Snape (and the feeling was entirely mutual). You'll find out more about this in due course.

Leanne from Eastbrook Primary School - Hemel Hempstead: If you could spend a day in real life with one of your fictional characters, who would it be and what would you do?
JK Rowling replies -> I think I'd most like to spend a day with Harry. I'd take him out for a meal and apologise for everything I've put him through.

Luisa: How old are Charlie and Bill Weasley in relation to their other siblings?
JK Rowling replies -> Oh dear, maths. Let me think. Bill is two years older than Charlie, who is two years older than Percy. [editor's note: JKR later corrects these dates]

Phoenix_Tear: Do you ever get a dream which helps you in writing the Harry Potter series?
JK Rowling replies -> No, and I wish I had! I did once have an incredible dream about Nicholas Flamel, though.

Saskia: Hagrid mentioned he's allergic to cats in PS why has he never sneezed when Crookshanks was around?
JK Rowling replies -> He's never around Crookshanks very much. I'm allergic to cats and I can be in a room with one briefly. But of course, Crookshanks isn't all cat. Read 'Fantastic Beasts...'!

RAXTA: How did you invent the sport 'Quidditch'?
JK Rowling replies -> I sat in a hotel room after a row with my then boyfriend and invented it. Looking back, I can understand why I liked the idea of Bludgers.

amanda: I want to be a writer, any tips?
JK Rowling replies -> Read as much as you can. Keep writing and then throwing it away until one day you do something that you don't think belongs in the bin. Stick to writing what you know about. Don't give up.

Will: What is your favourite magical beast?
JK Rowling replies -> The phoenix, definitely.

alixnecole: Were you consulted at all when the actors were chosen for the movie?
JK Rowling replies -> Yes, Chris Columbus, who was the director of the first film, asked me if there was anybody I thought would be good and I said 'RobbieColtraneForHagrid' in one breath.

Field: Do you plan for Ginny to take on a major character role in the next two books?
JK Rowling replies -> Well, now that Ginny has stopped being mute in Harry's presence I think you can see that she is a fairly forceful personality (and she always has been, remember Ron saying that she 'never shuts up' in Chamber of Secrets)?

Fiona from St Richard’s Catholic College: Hubble, Bubble, Toil & Trouble, Answer this question for which I have trouble, Frogs legs, bat wings, cow dung bell, How do you come up with all of those spells? Easter, Birthday, Christmas cards 'cause I have found it really hard!
JK Rowling replies -> Sometimes I use elements of 'real' spells that people used to believe worked, but mostly I make them up.

Adele: Who are the two "unknown Gryffindor girls" in Harry's year?
JK Rowling replies -> Oh, I've just understood what you mean. I haven't got the notebook to hand and I can't remember! That's terrible. I'll try and remember before the end of the chat!

bertieana: Will we be seeing Krum again any time soon?
JK Rowling replies -> You will see Krum again, though not soon.

Ernie: I wonder if you can let us know what form will Professor Snape's Boggart and Patronus take? I am very curious.
JK Rowling replies -> Well, I'm not going to tell you Ernie, but that's because it would give so much away. I wonder whether Ernie is your real name? (It was my grandfather's).

Andrews: Does Voldemort die in the last book?
JK Rowling replies -> Now, do you really really think I'd answer that?!

Cris: One answer we're all longing for: How's the writing of book 6 going and when will it be released?
JK Rowling replies -> I can't say when it will be released [load groan that JKR can hear from here] because that's down to my publishers. But it's going really well. I am loving writing it.

starlinguk: Do you believe in prophecies in real life?
JK Rowling replies -> No, I don't. And even in the wizarding world, as McGonagall explains in Prisoner of Azkaban, true Seers are very rare.

katty: If you were to have a magical power what would you chose to have apart from the ability to write cos you've already got that.
JK Rowling replies -> I would like to fly. And sometimes to turn off other people's voices.

Persia: If a muggle looks at Hogwarts what will they see? love Persia
JK Rowling replies -> Nice name, Persia. They will see nothing but a ruined castle with large signs on it saying 'keep out, dangerous building.'

renata: What happened between Hermione and Viktor krum during the summer?
JK Rowling replies -> Ron would like to know that, too.

Helen from Ulverston Victoria High School - Cumbria: Do you realise Harry & co sit on their broomsticks backwards? You can't balance like that?
JK Rowling replies -> lol You clearly haven't read 'Quidditch Through the Ages', or you'd know about the cushioning charm! Buy it at once, it's for charity!

HPFreak7: How are muggle parents convinced to let their kids go to Hogwarts, a strange place they never heard of before; and wouldn't they think it was a practical joke?
JK Rowling replies -> In the case of Muggle parents, special messengers are sent to explain everything to them. But don't forget that they will have noticed that there's something strange about their child for the previous ten years, so it won't come as a complete bolt from the blue.

ashvital: Which of your books does your daughter like best?
JK Rowling replies -> It would be between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix. She likes ACTION!

Chibimono: Do you have any future plans in particular for Draco Malfoy?
JK Rowling replies -> I've got plans for all my characters. Actually, this is a really good place to answer a question about Draco and Hermione, which a certain Ms. Radcliffe is desperate to have answered. Will they end up together in book six/seven? NO! The trouble is, of course, that girls fancy Tom Felton, but Draco is NOT Tom Felton! (My daughter likes TF very much too, because he taught her how to use a diablo)

Amy: What did Dudley see when he faced the Dementors in book five?
JK Rowling replies -> Ah, good question. You'll find out!

hanna: How did you feel when your first Harry Potter book came out?
JK Rowling replies -> Elated, ecstatic, extraordinarily happy!

Josh from Cottenham Village College: Right at the beginning, when Voldermort tried to kill Harry, how did Voldermort and Harry both survive?
JK Rowling replies -> That is the crucial and central question and if I answered it there would be hardly any point writing books six and seven... so I won't!

kelly_holland: When you turn into an Animagus, can you choose what animal you become? Or does this get "assigned" to you?
JK Rowling replies -> No, you can't choose. You become the animal that suits you best. Imagine the humiliation when you finally transform after years of study and find that you most closely resemble a warthog.

queenmarion: I noticed in the Black Family tree that everyone is named after a constellation. Is this intentional? Does this have any bearing on the plot?
JK Rowling replies -> It's just one of those family traditions, although Narcissa breaks the trend. I had always thought of her as 'Narcissa' so I decided not to change her to match the others when I came up with their names. There's been a lot of speculation that she is in some way linked to Lily and Petunia, because of the flower theme, but I can put that rumour to rest here: she isn't related to them.

Wild Rose: Will we see more of Narcissa Malfoy now that Lucius is unavailale?
JK Rowling replies -> Yes, you will.

Echo: Was Percy acting entirely of his own accord in Order of the Phoenix?
JK Rowling replies -> I'm afraid so.

MauraEllen: Did the debt Wormtail has to Harry carry over to Voldemort when he sacrificed his arm to restore his body?
JK Rowling replies -> No. Can't say any more than that!

Adele: Will poor Harry be stuck at the Dursleys' all next summer?
JK Rowling replies -> Not all summer, no. In fact, he has the shortest stay in Privet Drive so far.

Cathedral: Don't want to rune the ending, but will we be finding out more about the significance of the shape of Harry's scar in future books?
JK Rowling replies -> The shape is not the most significant aspect of that scar, and that's all I'm going to say!

Rita: Will Neville have a bigger part to play?
JK Rowling replies -> I think he's already got a much bigger part. Neville has changed a lot as he's become older and more confident. Book five was a real turning point for Neville.

HG: What is Trelawney's middle name (the one with the P)?
JK Rowling replies -> Patricia.

Denise from Blackheath High School for Girls – London: If Harry Potter was a girl, do you think his adventures would have been different?
JK Rowling replies -> Yes, I do think they would be different. I imagined Harry as a boy from the start, so I've never thought about 'Harriet Potter', but I'm sure lots of things in the books would change, Ron for a start, he'd have to be Ronalda.

HPFreak7: How did Harry get the Marauder's Map back, when Crouch Jr. had it last?
JK Rowling replies -> Loads of people have asked me this, I knew I should have shown Harry nipping into Moody's empty office and getting it back, but I assumed you'd all know that's what he did. Sorry!

HG: Will we see Moaning Myrtle again?
JK Rowling replies -> Oh yes, I love Myrtle, I couldn't shut her out for long.

Fenny: Will Lord Voldemort get more 'screentime' in the upcoming books?
JK Rowling replies -> You will see him again, but like most evil dictators, he prefers his henchmen to do his dirty work.

mnich: If you had a job in the wizarding world, what do you think you would be?
JK Rowling replies -> I can't think of anything I'd rather do than write, so I suppose I'd write spellbooks!

Arianna: Can we believe everything the sorting hat says?
JK Rowling replies -> The Sorting Hat is certainly sincere.

LizardLaugh: I love Tonks, she's my favorite new character. Will she play a large role in future books and/or in Harry's life?
JK Rowling replies -> Tonks is hanging around. I really like her, too.

Softballchicky32: What is the extent of Hagrid's magical powers?
JK Rowling replies -> Not great! He can do magic to a fairly basic standard and occasionally surprises everyone (himself included) by bringing off more impressive bits of magic. Of course, he is somewhat hampered by the fact that his wand is broken and disguised as an umbrella.

mnich: Was Voldemort born evil?
JK Rowling replies -> I don't believe that anybody was born evil. You will find out more about the circumstances of his birth in the next book.

Fran from Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School: Which character in the Harry Potter books are you most like?
JK Rowling replies -> Hermione when I was younger, definitely. But there's a bit of Harry and Ron in me too.

mnich: Is it true Harry will get a more permanent injury in the sixth book?
JK Rowling replies -> I've read this rumour on the net and I'm not sure where it came from. I don't really want to get into what happens to Harry in book six, but I certainly never said that he would have a 'more permanent injury'.

Sirius Kase: Will we get to know the Grangers? Is Hermione an only child?
JK Rowling replies -> I always planned that Hermione would have a younger sister but she's never made an appearance and somehow it feels like it might be too late now.

Calliope: Are the Muggle and Magical worlds ever going to be rejoined?
JK Rowling replies -> No, the breach was final, although as book six shows, the Muggles are noticing more and more odd happenings now that Voldemort's back.

Jami: Is Harry related to Godric Gryffindor?
JK Rowling replies -> People are always wondering who Harry might be related to. Maybe he is ;)

Delleve: Are there any plans for any more background books like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages in the future?
JK Rowling replies -> Possibly. If I do them, it will be for charity like the first two.

Potter47: Did you come up with "Sugar Quills" from Charlie and the Chocolate factory? I believe there were "Sugar Pencils" in that book.
JK Rowling replies -> Oh dear, I don't know whether I did or not. Not consciously, anyway. But it's not a very difficult idea to come up with; we all suck the ends of pens and pencils (or I do), so it seemed logical to make them taste nice, and at Hogwarts, obviously, they use quills!

snowball: Do you think a film no longer than the first two films can do justice to a book as long and complex as Goblet of Fire?
JK Rowling replies -> I think that they will have to simplify the plot somewhat. Steve Kloves, the scriptwriter, is really good and if anyone can do the essence of the book justice, he can.

Kirsten from Kirkintilloch High School: If Hagrid was a real person and came to your house, what would you cook him for dinner?
JK Rowling replies -> Something like an entire side of beef, I think. And I'm quite good at Yorkshire puddings, so a couple of dozen of them, too.

coolbeans3131: Would you like to see the same actors portray the trio in all 7 movies?
JK Rowling replies -> Yes, I would. I really like all three of them.

Kirk Wilkins: Will you ever publish all your notebooks of information on the series? I am very interested in reading 150 pages on the history of the dementors!
JK Rowling replies -> lol Who said there were 150 pages on the dementors??? I certainly didn't! I don't think I'll ever publish my notebooks. Too many revealing doodlings!

Jangles: Are you going to write books about harry after school?
JK Rowling replies -> Probably not, but I'll never say never because every time I do I immediately break the vow!

Field: Regarding Harrys subconscious feelings, how has it changed from book 1 to book 5?
JK Rowling replies -> Well he's obviously been through a lot since book one and book five was the book when he cracked up a little. In book six, the wizarding world is really at war again and he has to master his own feelings to make himself useful.

polly weasley: Will Harry fall for another girl in book six, or will he be too busy for romance?
JK Rowling replies -> He'll be busy, but what's life without a little romance?

Rorujin: How is Dobby able to apparate inside Hogwarts if no one else can?
JK Rowling replies -> He's a house-elf, they've got powers wizards haven't got (but wizards have also got powers that house-elves haven't).

Potter47: What is the sixth book going to be called? The seventh?
JK Rowling replies -> It will be called 'Harry Potter and...' something. Catchy, don't you think? And I think I'll follow the same model for seven.

Potter47: Will Harry tell Neville about the Prophesy?
JK Rowling replies -> Harry will tell his nearest and dearest about the prophecy when he's ready. He needs time to digest the news himself first.

Rorujin: Did Wormtail used Voldemort's wand to kill Cedric? Is it why Cedric comes out of Voldemort's wand even though was Wormtail who killed him?
JK Rowling replies -> Correct!

SiriuslyLovinSirius: If we ever see Sirius again, what form will he be in?
JK Rowling replies -> I couldn't possibly answer that for fear of incriminating myself.

* Cathedral: Will we be hearing anything from Sirius Black's brother, Regulus, in future books?
JK Rowling replies -> Well, he's dead, so he's pretty quiet these days.

Shannon from St Mary Magdalen's Junior School - London: How do you feel when you see children reading your books?
JK Rowling replies -> I feel incredibly proud. Sometimes I want to poke them in the back and say 'guess who?' but I restrain myself.

Kelpie_8: Will the two way mirror Sirius gave Harry ever show up again?
JK Rowling replies -> Ooooo good question. There's your answer.

Rita: What happend to Harry's grandparents? Will we ever learn about them?
JK Rowling replies -> They're all dead and not particularly important to the story, although you will find out a little bit more.

Rita: What about Wormtail? Is there hope for redemption?
JK Rowling replies -> There's always hope, of course. You'll find out more about our rat-like friend in book six.

Rita: Whatever happend to Sirius' flying motorbike?
JK Rowling replies -> Ah, good question. You'll find out, but the real sleuths among you might be able to guess.

kylie: What does the "J" in Remus J Lupin stand for?
JK Rowling replies -> 'John'. Boring but true!

hermione 3: ¿Will Harry and Hermione will be together? *sigh*
JK Rowling replies -> lol Not saying... but you've had enough clues by now, surely?!

Adele: Thanks for the interview! So... will Harry be receiving a second kiss in his last two years at Hogwarts? ;)
JK Rowling replies -> He might well be receiving another kiss (or two) but I'm not saying who the kisser's going to be...

JK Rowling says: I'm sorry, we're running out of time... how about three more questions?

Stacey, 11 from Plymouth: If you got the chance to make a Polyjuice Potion, who would you be and why? And what would you do in the hour time limit?
JK Rowling replies -> I'd like to be Tony Blair for an hour. I'd call a press conference and announce all the policies I'd like to implement!

Sirius Riddle: What houses were Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, James Potter and Remus Lupin[sic] in? Everyone tells me they were all Gryffindor, but I won't believe it unless I hear it from Ms. Rowling herself!
JK Rowling says: This is JK herself saying that they were indeed in Gryffindor!

kylie: Thanks for writing such wonderful books, Ms Rowling :). Just one question: What are Ron, Hermione and Ginny's middle names? Thank you :)
JK Rowling replies -> My pleasure:) Middle names: Ginny is Molly, of course, Hermione 'Jane' and Ron, poor boy, is Bilius.

JK Rowling says: That's it, everyone. There have been sixteen thousand questions, so I'm so sorry if yours hasn't been answered, but hopefully somebody else did it for you. I've really enjoyed it, hope you have. Back to the next chapter now... lots of love xxx

Video of BBC post-chat interview available at offsiteThe Leaky Cauldron