'Harry Potter: A Blue Peter Special.' Blue Peter (CBBC), July 20 2007.
Source: 'Blue Peter', BBC One, British Broadcasting Corporation
Interviewers: Andy Akinwolere, Konnie Huq, Gethin Jones, Zoe Salmon and 25 competition winners.
Context: The interview was aired hours before the midnight release of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows.
Transcription credit:Jules and Meann of Accio Quote.
Notes: The interview was recorded on the 5th of July. 'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross', is next door to the studio where Blue Peter is filmed, and we know that Jo filmed the 2007 'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross' interview on July 5th, so she recorded them back-to-back, even though the Blue Peter interview would not air until over a fortnight later. A competition was run for children under the age of 14 in the UK to visit the Blue Peter studios, meet J K Rowling and ask her an original question. 25 children were selected and each received a free copy of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows.
Video: 18 minutes and 50 seconds. Courtesy of Mugglenet and Roonwit.
Gethin Jones: Please give a warm Blue Peter welcome to a very special guest J K Rowling.
GJ: Good to have you back on Blue Peter.
JK Rowling: it's wonderful to be here, thank you.
GJ: We've got loads of questions for you, but we'll start with Harry, because he's got the most appropriate name and it's his birthday today!
JKR: Oh happy Birthday!
GJ: What's your question?
Harry, 11, from Trowbridge: "Why did you decide to kill Dumbledore in the sixth Harry Potter book?"
JKR: "Not because I'm horrible, but because it's an important part of the story. And he is dead."
GJ: Is he really dead?
JKR: He's Dead.
GJ: Is he really dead?
JKR: He's very dead.
GJ: Are you sure?
JKR and GJ: Yes. I should know, shouldn't I? If anyone should know I should know.
GJ: Everyone's talking about the seventh book, even the doctor, Dr Who himself. If you don't believe me take a look at this...
[A clip is shown of David Tennant (Barty Crouch, Jr. in the Harry Potter movies) as the doctor in a scene where he is discussing the seventh book (from series 3, episode 2; "The Shakespeare Code")]
GJ: Natasha, you have a question.
Natasha, 9, West Wickham: "Will I cry when I read book seven?"
JK Rowling: "Have you ever cried before at a sad book?"
Natasha: "Well, I cried before when Dumbledore died."
JKR: "I think you'll probably cry at this book."
[GJ laughs and the audience says Ohhh!]
GJ: Sarah, I think you are next.
Sarah, 8, from Harpenden: "If you were my mum I'd be pestering you to find out what happens in your next Harry Potter book. Do your children pester you?"
JKR: "Well, my two-year-old definitely doesn't know that I write Harry Potter and doesn't know what Harry Potter is [Audience laughs]. And my, my four-year-old, if you say 'What does mummy do?' and he says 'HARRY POTTER!' [Audience laughs] and then that's it, there's nothing more. But my nearly 14-year-old, it's better for her not to know, because it's a big weight for her to bear if she knows secrets that other people don't."
GJ: The best secret in the world. Well here's what some of your fans think might happen.
[Clips are shown of various fans and celebrities, stating what they might happen]
Sam: The last Harry Potter book. What do you reckon?
Mark: It's going to be exciting I think. You know that Snape guy?
Sam: Oh yeh, yeh.
Mark: Yeh, the one they all think is bad. I reckon he is going to turn into a goodie and save the day in the end.
Dani Harmer: Me and my dad reckon that Harry is either gonna die, he's going to turn really evil or he's going to lose all of his powers.
Tammy: Ron and Hermione, erm, get together.
Sian: No, Harry and Hermione get together!
John Barrowman: Hermione and Ron, will become boyfriend and girlfriend.
Phuoc: I think Harry dies.
Anthony Horowitz the writer: I really, really hope Harry doesn't die.
Melissa Anelli from the Leaky Cauldron: Harry is going to live! He is going to walk out of book seven alive, happy, in love.
George: Ron and Hermione die.
Lizo Mzimba from CBBC Newsround: I don't think we'll see Harry die. I'm sure he's gonna survive at the end of it, but I'm a bit worried about a few other people.
[JKR cackles mischievously]
GJ: Jo. Who's right and who's wrong, and who's completely off the mark?
JKR: Erm, a few people are, are quite near and a few people are wildly wrong.
GJ: Ok. Great. Alright, James, You've got a question.
James: Which book did you like writing most?
JKR: Three, Six and Seven have been the best to write, so that's Azkaban, Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows. And of them all, definitely my favorite is Deathly Hallows.
GJ: Ok Hayley, you're up next.
Hayley, 10, from Newcastle: "Now you've finished the Harry Potter series, what new exciting projects can your millions of fans look forward to?"
JKR: "I'm not going to promise anything, I think, at the moment, because I really do want to take some time off. I've loved the writing of Harry Potter, but, erm, I think it's ... it's healthy for me probably to take a bit of a holiday now.
GJ: Well deserved as well.
Zoe Salmon: And it's time for more questions now. Lucky Liam, you're up first.
Liam: When the new Harry potter theme park is ready, will you open it yourself the first to try out all the rides?
JKR: Oh I hope so!
JKR: I don't know about opening it, but I, I've told them that I want to be the first on.
[More laughter; posters advertising the amusement park are shown]
JKR: I know what's coming and honestly, it'll be brilliant. I'd never have said they could do it if it wasn't going to be amazing, and I think it will be amazing.
ZS: Eleanor, what is your question?
Eleanor, 10, from Milton Keynes: "If you were the Sorting Hat, which house would you choose for Gordon Brown and David Cameron?
JKR: [Laughs] "Ooh, I suppose, because Gryffindor is the red house, then Gordon Brown would have to go into Gryffindor. And by that logic, we'll have to put David Cameron into Ravenclaw because it's the blue house."
Konnie Huq: Good answer [laughs].
ZS: James Dexter, what is your question?
James Dexter: What do you do when you don't know what to write?
JKR: Sometimes I'll go for a walk. Erm, sometimes I'll go into the kitchen, and if my husband is there I'll, I'll say 'I can't do it! This book's terrible!'.
JKR: And he'll say 'you always say that around about chapter 15'. And he's quite right, I do. And once on Deathly Hallows, I took a trip to the set to see Dan and Rupert and Emma, [A behind-the-scenes clip of the filming of Order of the Phoenix is shown] and mid-flight on my way to London, it [the writer's block] broke.
Andy Akinwolere: Eh, Jo. Thanks very much for coming to answer these questions. Have you guys all had a good time?
AA: But before you go, here are some messages from some of your biggest fans.
Crowd of children: [shouting] THANK YOU J K ROWLING!
Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty: Congratulations Jo on your final book. [I'm] really looking forward to seeing what is going to happen this time.
Thomas: Thank you J K Rowling. The books are fabulous!
Vishwas: Thank you, thank you, thank you J K Rowling!
Author Jacqueline Wilson: It must give you a wonderful feeling, Jo, to have finished such an incredible series of books, but don't leave it there. We are all waiting to see what you do next.
Kirsty: Thank you for writing the Harry Potter books. I really like them because there is always something happening in every chapter.
British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown: Hello Jo. I have just returned from India, China, other countries during the course of the last year, and every young person I've met, has been reading your books. You have done more for literacy and reading and helping young children start to read than I believe anybody in our country, indeed, anybody on this continent. So congratulations on your latest book. We're incredibly proud of what you've achieved.
An even bigger crowd of children: [shouting] THANK YOU J K ROWLING!
JKR: [brushing tears away] Well, I've now cried on Blue Peter so my media career is complete.
GJ: Well Jo, as a thank you from children all over the country.
JKR: Oh, there can't be more? OHH! Oh no!
GJ: We would like to award you with Blue Peter's highest honor, and that is, as you know, the gold Blue Peter badge.
JKR: [sobbing] You know that, you can't, you have no idea what that means, because I remember coming on to Blue Peter for my second time and saying ... and I got a silver Blue Peter badge. And I said 'So ... ' [aside] Konnie will remember this. I said 'So, if I come back a third time, do I get a gold one?' And I was told 'Oh no. Oh no no no no no [Audience and Jo laugh]. Gold Blue Peter badges are for people who, do something very important like saving a life'. So this became a big joke with me when I did events. I used to say to people [Blue Peter presenters giggle] 'You could pretend to be in a coma, and I could read a bit of the book to you, and you could pretend to come out and I'd get a gold Blue Peter badge'. And now I have actually got one. Thank you very, very much.
GJ: congratulations. Give it up for J K Rowling!
Audience and the presenters: [ Clapping] Woohoo!
Daniel Radcliffe in pre recorded message: Hello Blue Peter. Hello Jo. Um, I hear you are receiving a gold Blue Peter badge, you lucky thing you, and I hope, that after film six and seven are completed, I think I thoroughly deserve one too!
[Jo laughs as the credits roll]
Transcript of the extended interview. This bonus footage was only available to digital viewers.
QUESTION: Why did you just make seven books, why not more?
JKR: Well, the story I had planned really worked well as a seven-book series, because it's one book for every year of Harry's, erm, schooling. So I planned, erm, I planned the way it would end quite a long time ago, and that was at the end of the seventh book.
GJ: Are you sad that this will be the end, there is no more Harry Potter books?
JKR: I ... I am sad, yes, but erm, I've had a long time to get used to the idea that it would finish at the end of Book Seven. So, so there's also a big sense of achievement that I've got where I've been planning to get for seventeen years, so it's like finishing a huge exam in one way.
QUESTION: During the course of the seven books you've written, have any of the characters developed in an unexpected way that has surprised even you, the creator of them?
JKR: Ummmm ... sometimes characters misbehave a little bit, and want to do their own thing. But I think I know them very very well, so they've never really taken me by surprise. Except -- I can say this because it hasn't happened but there is speculation at one point on the internet that Neville and Luna would end up together (audience giggles). And I said, "No, that won't happen." But you know what, while writing Seven, I started to feel a bit of a pull between Luna and Neville in a way. I started to see how that could work, but it hasn't happened. That was an interesting thing. The moment I'd said, "Of course, they would never fancy each other," I go... I don't know... You know, I kind of see that.
HANNAH: Do the Harry Potter books have a deep meaning about life or are people reading too much into them?
JKR: Well, there are deeper meanings in there because I'm dealing with, erm, with Death. You're, you're exploring quite, well, very big themes, really, when you're talking about life and death and evil and goodness and, and the nature of loyalty and so on. So, erm, yes, but that doesn't mean to say that, ummmm ... I don't think they're worthy books in the sense that you, you don't, I hope you don't feel that there is a moral being rammed down your throat at every page. I think they can be read as a straightforward adventure story, and you can take from them what you want. So that's probably why they work quite well for people of different ages.
GJ: Ready and willing in his fantastic cape over there, it's James!
JKR: It is a great cape. I like it, I like it a lot.
JAMES: Did knowing that the later books would be turned into films affect how you wrote them, in particular how the actors portray the characters.
JKR: I'm often asked that, and I think it's a very good question. The truthful answer is No. I think maybe twice, literally in the writing of the whole series, and one of them was when I wrote the giant, Grawp. I thought, "They've gotta film that. Oh well." That was one time when I stopped and thought, because CGI, Computer Generated Imagery, is very expensive to do. But I can't. That's the glory of being a novelist, you know, I probably spend billions of Pounds on a page... It's Warner Bros.' problem, so they keep up with me. So, no, it doesn't affect what I write. I suppose you become a little bit more aware when you stand back from the story, that it might be challenging to do as a film, but that never affects me while I'm actually creating it, or stops me doing anything or makes me do anything.
GJ: Interesting. Okay, Rhys is next.
RHYS: If you can have one item from the world of Harry Potter, what would it be and why?
JKR: Ummmm.... I think the Pensieve would be tempting. Very tempting. To be able to go back and relive moments and look at them from different angles would be wonderful, but quite frightening as well. The thing is, most of the magical objects in Harry Potter are double-edged in some way. There are very few objects that are straight -- that are completely benign. They all seem to have some sort of negative quality to them. So, and it's how you use them. And there are a couple of objects in Book Seven that might be quite desirable, but you have to wait to find out about that.
GJ: What would you choose, Rhys?
RHYS: I'd probably choose a wand, because there's a lot you could use it for, but you have to use it in a good way. There's a lot of advantages to having one if you could.
GJ: Alright, Naomi.
NAOMI: Can you tell us a bit more about Trevor the Toad? Is he an animagus of Neville's Uncle Algie?
JKR: See, I love all these theories, I really love this. Ummm, no. But I love the fact that everyone is now so tuned in to the Harry Potter world that every tiny part and character is closely examined through a microscope by devoted readers to decide what they're hiding. But no, Trevor really is just a toad. That is definitely it. He's not the dead Dumbledore come back to help anyone... (unintelligible).
GJ: Rose, you're up next.
ROSE: My question is did Albus Dumbledore ever fall in love?
JKR: Ummmm... Well, in the course of a long life, I think nearly everyone falls in love, but you probably shouldn't read too much into that answer.
GJ: Great stuff, fascinating. Even Lucy's come back... Ally, what's your question?
Ellie: Why didn't Harry use the time-turner to save his parents?
JKR: Oh, that's a very good question, that. But it would take us into "Terminator" territory, if you've ever seen the "Terminator" films... but never mind. Well, the time-turner was a very difficult invention for me, because it created as many problems as it solved. And anyone who's read Order of the Phoenix may have noticed that during the climactic scene in which they chase through the Ministry of Magic, they shatter all the time-turners, thereby preventing them using those in the future.
GJ: Great question, Ellie, and thank you to all of you. We'll be getting some more questions later on, but for now, thanks very much.
JKR: Thank you!
ZS: And it's time for more questions now. Jade.
Jade: If you were stranded on a desert island for a day and you could only pick one character from all of your books to keep you company, who would it be and why?
JKR: I think on a desert island it would have to be Hagrid, wouldn't it. I think he'd be really handy. 'Cause he could reach coconuts and things without really... he could just climb a tree, he could break stuff for me, any wild animals around... mind you he would keep them, he wouldn't want to get rid of them, so... But I think if you're looking for someone who'll be very useful on a desert island, it would have to be Hagrid.
ELLEN: When you're writing scary bits do scary tunes come into your head?
JKR: Scary tunes? ("Psycho" tune plays in background) Like the "Jaws" thing or something? Ummm... not really. I have been a little bit scared of ideas that come to me. But then I write them, and then you stop being frightened. But funnily enough, one of the scariest things that had ever occurred to me was the face in the back of the head in the first book. Whenever people say to me the books have gotten so much scarier, which I think they have. They have become darker and darker because Voldemort is getting stronger and stronger. I'd always look back at that first book, and think that wasn't all fluffy and lovely, was it? That was pretty creepy.
KH: Karen, you've got a question.
KAREN: If you made your own Horcrux what would the object be?
JKR: Well, of course, I would never make a Horcrux because it does terrible damage to you. It's quite evil magic. So, no I don't... I think to have the mentality that you'd be looking out for objects to turn into Horcruxes would be pretty bad, so I'm not interested in making one of them [giggles].
QUESTION: What is your favorite invention from Fred and George's joke shop and why?
JKR: Skiving Snackboxes of course. Well actually... no, that's not quite true. The very best thing for me that they did was the ummm... Daydream. When you sort of... it's sort of a portable daydream that you can experience the moment you want to. Someone here has read the book about ten times, so she can remember the exact phrasing better than I can. That's my favorite thing. But the thing that you see them use is the Skiving Snackboxes, they would be very handy. I used to be very prone to nosebleeds when I was younger and it was excellent sitting there in your classes and there I go, I'm off, I'm out. And that's where the idea came from, because one of the things that they make is Nosebleed Nougats, something that you can just make happen to get you out of class.
GJ & ZS: Handy. George. What is your question?
GEORGE: If you could visit Diagon Alley, what shop would you spend the most time in and why?
JKR: Ummmm... that's a really hard one. When I visited the set of Diagon Alley ages ago now... I didn't know... 'Cause they make all the inside of the shops as well not just... and you can walk into them. So I just didn't know where to go first. So, ummm, I think probably Flourish and Blotts [the bookstore in Diagon Alley]. I think I would want to see those books more than anything else.
ZS: Joshua, what is your question?
JOSHUA: What was the reason for making Harry Potter a boy and not a girl?
JKR: Well I've been asked that a lot, and the reason, I think, is that that's how he came to me. I had an idea for a boy and not for a girl. He came very suddenly, and I saw him very clearly and so, there he was! He was a boy. I never even thought about turning him into Harriet. He's always been Harry to me.
ZS: Aileen, you've got a very good question, go for it.
AILEEN: What shape would Snape's boggart take and what would he see if he looked into the Mirror of Erised and why?
JKR: Well. I'm not sure what his Boggart would be. But it's closely related ... well I suppose I do know, I've never thought about it before, but I suppose, thinking about it, I do know what it would be, and it would be related to what he saw in the Mirror of Erised. So I really don't think I can answer that.
ZS: Ooooh. Andrew, what is your question?
ANDREW: If you were a wizard and you knew nothing about Muggles, what everyday Muggle item would intrigue you the most?
JKR: Oh, ummmmm. I have to think myself into Mr. Weasley's mindset there. And I think Mr. Weasley would probably give his left leg for a computer. Because he's fascinated, rightly, by how ingenious we -- because we have to be so clever to invent the things that the wizards can do by magic. And computers do a lot of things that wizards can do with a wand, in getting information and creating things, so, probably a computer.
JORDAN: If you had to cast the Patronus charm then what would your happy memory be?
JKR: Oh, I've got loads and loads and loads of happy memories that I can draw on. Ummmm... I think that the births of each of my three children would probably produce the strongest Patronuses. But finding out that Philosopher's Stone was gonna be published would be a very close fourth.
AA: Hey, Jo, thanks very much for coming to answer these questions. Have you guys all had a good time?
Original page date 20 July 2007; last updated 25th July 2007.