"Harry Potter author dreading closing final chapter [interview by Owen Jones]," Ireland On-line, 17 July 2005
[Editor's note: so far this article has the most extensive quoting from Owen Jones' interview of JKR]
Harry Potter author JK Rowling revealed today that she is dreading having to close the final chapter of her seven-part saga about the boy wizard, but the multi-millionairess said she was excited about possibly taking on an assumed name and penning new works as an anonymous writer.
In an interview with a child fan the day after the hugely-anticipated launch of the sixth instalment of the Hogwarts’ wizard tale, Rowling said she would be tackling the final chapter of the story as early as the end of the year.
And she hinted that there are plenty of clues in the latest novel, The Half-Blood Prince, to give eagle-eyed fans a clue of what is in story for hero Harry in the closing pages.
Rowling granted her only British TV interview to teenage Potter fan Owen Jones, who won the chance to chat to the author in an ITV quiz.
Owen, 14, from Cardiff, was shortlisted from thousands of fans after judges picked his list of questions for her.
And in her interview Rowling admitted she had mixed feelings about ending the epic saga.
She told Owen: “I am dreading it in some ways.
“I do love writing the books and it is going to be a shock, a profound shock to me.
“Even though I have known it is coming for the past fifteen years, I have known that the series would end, I think it will still be a shock.
“Conversely, obviously there will be a sense of achievement... I suppose there will be some benefits to not writing Harry Potter books any more. So it is about fifty-fifty really.”
New mother Rowling said she would be taking some time off to care for her daughter, six-month-old Mackenzie Jean, before tackling the seventh, and last, Potter episode.
Answering Owen’s questions on when she will start the next book, she said: “Not until the end of this year, beginning of next year.
“I have already done some work on it and I am still doing little bits and pieces, but realistically I have still got a very young baby, so I think probably next year I will do the proper writing of book seven.”
With the end in sight for the tales of the now-16-year-old Harry, Rowling admitted she would quite fancy borrowing a cloak of invisibility from her own pages to escape some of the massive worldwide fame she has attracted with the record-breaking books.
“A fake name is very attractive,” she admitted. “I’ll have less pressure and I can write any old thing I want and people won’t be clamouring for it and that might be nice.
“I get asked a lot whether I would write another series, I don’t know because the thing that interests me about Harry Potter was not the fact that it was a series, it was just the story and the subject matter, so I could do a one-off, could do a series, I don’t know.
“I cannot complain at all, what a fantastic thing Harry Potter has given me.
“But one of my regrets would be that I will never again have the pleasure of sneaking into a cafe, any cafe I like, sitting down and diving into my world and no one knowing what I am doing and no one bothering about me and being totally anonymous, that was fantastic.”
The Potter books have been translated into more than sixty languages, with the latest edition heading for sales of more than two million in the UK and ten million worldwide already.
The first five Harry Potter books have sold more than 265 million copies in 200 countries and have been translated into 62 languages.
Thousands of bookworms queued through the night in Britain to get their hands on the latest adventure, expected to become the fastest-selling book in history.
But despite her faith in her work, Rowling admitted she had been shocked by the scale of her success.
“I would have been insane to think that,” she told Owen. “I mean I would have been absolutely deluded, except not as it turns out, but no I never dreamed it would happen, never. Of course not. Who could have done?”
With all the furore surrounding the latest book, security was tight, with Rowling even taking out an injunction against two Northamptonshire men accused of stealing two copies of the book to try to sell to a national newspaper.
And bookmakers suspended betting on the identity of the character to be killed off in the Half-Blood Prince, amid fears that the manuscript had been leaked after thousands of pounds were laid on the Hogwarts headteacher, Professor Dumbledore.
“What do you think you have gained from keeping the plots such a secret?” asked Owen.
Rowling replied “I gain nothing but the satisfaction of knowing that all my hard work goes to the people for whom it is intended. In other words, people who really want to read the books, and I definitely believe that 99.9% of my readership would rather read the books and find out for themselves.
“I find it upsetting and disquieting that some elements are so keen on spoilers because it seems such a mean spirited thing to do. This is not about money or anything other than the pleasure of reading for people who want to read it, so... yeah I find that difficult.”
Owen interviewed JK Rowling on Harry Potter At The Castle broadcast on ITV1 this evening.
He and his mother Allison, 38, won a quiz on ITV1 and the teenager said he had been “swotting like mad” for the event ever since.
He said today: “I was so excited to meet JK Rowling and to get the chance to ask her all about the books.
“She is really nice and easy to talk to and she doesn’t come across as someone who is incredibly famous.”
And he gave his own review of her latest work, adding: “I have managed to read four chapters so far. I think it is brilliant.”
:: As well as his own requests, Owen managed to pose a few questions for some well-known Potter fans, including Chancellor Gordon Brown and pop star Lemar.
Mr Brown asked: “I don’t want to tax Harry, but where does he get his money, he always seems to have some, does he have a bank account, where is it, where is his money?”
The author replied “Well, as you know Harry’s bank account is in Gringotts, his money came from inheritance from his father, but I think on a deeper level I gave, Harry’s money never really is that important in the books, except that he can afford his uniform and so on, I think I really gave him a fortune because I was so broke when I wrote the first book and it was wishful thinking that I would not have to worry about things like that.”
:: Lemar asked if she could teach any subject at Hogwarts what would her specialist subject be?
She said: “My specialist subject would definitely be Defence Against the Dark Arts, I think.
“I used to think transfiguration, but these days I’m thinking Defence Against the Dark Arts is a more worthwhile subject, exactly.
:: Actor and comedian Stephen Fry asked: “Have you ever had an idea for a scene or between characters some dialogue which has been either too shocking, too sad, or too rude to make it into the final edition and if so, can you share some moments?”
Rowling answered: “I have occasionally let off steam by writing conversations between the characters that could not, I knew full well weren’t going to be published. And then I would just delete them and throw them over my shoulder and carry on.
“Occasionally they would be quite rude to each other and rude in the other sense and em, yeah, that’s always a way to vent some of your frustration.
“My editor won’t let any of the characters swear, which is sometimes difficult because Ron is definitely a boy who would swear. So you will have noticed I get round that by having him ’Ron used a word that made Hermione say Oh Ron’. So I do have to do that quite a bit with Ron.”
© Thomas Crosbie Media, 2005.