It’s the first day of October and you know what that means: only 48 days (12 hours, 32 minutes and 17 seconds, as I type) until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One is released! In celebration of that momentous occasion and in celebration of the recent opening of Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter and because there’s probably some sort of Facebook of the Gods where they stay connected and take turns liking each other’s status messages — "Tripped over the pile of million dollar bills in my bathroom again last night, LOL!" — JK Rowling joined Oprah on her show today.
Actually, Oprah joined JK Rowling in Scotland’s Balmoral Hotel, where Jo finished writing Deathly Hallows lo those many years ago. (I want you to imagine, just for a second, how adorable Oprah must look after traveling via Floo Powder all the way from Chicago to Edinburgh.)
The first thing they discussed were the advantages of being a deity: "As I was finishing Deathly Hallows, the window cleaner came, the kids were at home, the dogs were barking, and I could not work. And this light bulb came on above my head I thought “I can throw money at this problem. I can now solve this problem."
And solve it she did, writing the most epic ending of any book series ever! (Don’t you people argue with me, I swear to Merlin!)
Here are some of my favorite parts of the interview:
On finishing the final installment of Potter:
It was a bereavement. It was huge … although I knew it was coming. Initially I was elated, then I cried … like I had never cried before. And only twice in my life have I cried like that. [The other time was] when my mother died … I had to mourn Harry.
On the kooky fundamentalists who still want to ban Potter from libraries:
I’m not pushing any belief system here, although there is a lot of Christian imagery in the books, especially in Deathly Hallows. That’s an allusion to a belief system in which I was raised. But to answer the question about being criticized in that way [by religious groups] … If they’re talking about the dark and scary stuff, I think it is perfectly legitimate for a parent to say, "That’s a little old for my child." Or "We’re going to discuss that together, read that together." That’s great. In fact, that’s perfect! On the "You must not discuss witchcraft, you must not have witches or magic in the book," I find that nonsensical.
On making peace with God:
[Love] is a concept that runs through all the major religions, without execption. This is probably true of all writers, but I believe what I believe because of what I have written. Ultimately, before I wrote it, what did I believe? I probably couldn’t have told you … Love wins. When someone dies, love doesn’t get turned off like a tap. We all know the people we love were immortal; we all know we’re immortal.
On the Harry Potter universe:
I have a say. For me, I love the films. I love the books. And there are elements that are really fun around it. Now, the theme park, when they came to us, they came to us with a really extraordinary proposal, which was state of the art and they could back it up. And I thought "Yeah, this could be amazing." But I only wanted to do it if it was going to be incredible. And it truly is. If I had been a reader, I would have love to go to the parks.
"What do you know for sure?"
This is going to be tricky. I know that love is the most powerful thing of all. And I remember thinking that — God, I’m about to make myself cry. But I remember thinking that when 9/11 happened, because those last phone calls were all about — the last thing that I’m going to say on this earth is that ‘I love you.’ What’s more powerful than that? What’s better proof than that? It’s not fear, beyond death.
It’s a defining moment in our lives. I remember thinking "They’ve come down?" and turning on the TV and saw it. And I panicked, because I have friends in New York, and I emailed two of my best friends in New York. One of them is my editor Arthur Levine, and bizarrely he was able to instantaneously email me back, and the last line of his email was "And they say that we shouldn’t teach children about evil."
There is never going to be a time when JK Rowling is not my greatest hero on this earth. And there’s never going to be a time when I stop wishing this was true: "They’re all in my head still. I could definitely write an eighth, a ninth book."
Did you catch JK Rowling on Oprah? How would you feel about an eighth or ninth Potter?