Friday, October 12, 2007

Fine. I'll do a Harry Potter post.

In about a week—at 7p.m. EDT Friday, October 19, to be precise—I'll be in New York City to spend some quality 2000-on-1 time with the one and only J. K. Rowling. Apparently this is the first time she has toured the US since 2000; the stint in NYC will be the only not-for-just-kids appearence on her jam-packed four stop tour. Now, I don't particularly consider myself a Harry Potter "fan" ... you may have noticed the lack of zomghp7!!!$!!%!!!! posts here back in July. I do, however, enjoy the books (even if I don't actually own all seven yet—I'm holding out for a boxed set of paperback copies of the UK adult version). They are enjoyable to read, and the world Rowling has created is simultaneously entertaining and interesting. And, yes, I picked my copy of the Deathly Hallows up at midnight the night of July 20, and had it read by dinnertime that night.

Interjection: Just now, as I was writing this post, a friend messaged me and started talking about the band "Draco and the Malfoys," who are the foil to "Harry and the Potters." I am now disturbed.

So the reason I am bringing all of this up is that I need help. See, we've been told that there will probably be some sort of question-and-answer session at the event, but everything I can possibly think of wanting to know that could be gleaned from a one-question-one-answer situation is along the lines of, "So if the Potters were all alone the night that James and Lily died, the how did Dumbledore hear about it before everyone else in order to send Hagrid over there, and how come it took so long for Hagrid to arrive with Harry if he was one of the first ones to know?" This kind of technical nitpicking is right out for this particular venue, but I haven't got any better ideas.

So: if you could ask J. K. Rowling one question, what would it be?

Update (10/16/07): It's been pointed out to me that Rowling is a rich person. Wouldn't she like to donate money to astronomy like all of the other cool rich people?

Update (10/17/07): We just submitted this question to the website:

You've been writing this series for 17 years. How difficult was it to keep the style consistent over all that time, even when you as a writer surely must have evolved considerably?


Mike said...

I would ask JK Rowling, why she ripped off Star Wars.

Luke's father like Harry, was killed by the evil dark lord Darth vader.
Dumbledore is similar to Obi-Wan.

Hogwarts is the Jedi Temple.

Blake Stacey said...

The one question writers hate and dread more than any other is "Where do you get your ideas?" Harlan Ellison once threatened to "rip [me] a new one" for asking — there's more to the story, but I was planning on writing about that in a future post, so let this be the teaser for now.

I, for one, am curious about what J. K. Rowling is going to do next.

mollishka said...

mike: Seriously, if you're going to accuse Rowling of being unoriginal, then Star Wars is so not the first culprit, and the parallels with Star Wars are a stretch at best. Get over it.

Blake: Unsurprisingly, this is a question that a lot of people would like to know the answer to, and which she has been asked many times. I believe the current answer is something along the lines of, "*rambleramble* I don't know?"

mollishka said...

Also, Blake:

I don't think asking a writer where they get their ideas is bad per se; it is just usually poorly phrased and not really what the asker wants to know. A non-writer doesn't understand that ideas come from everywhere, and so being told this is very unsatisfying. I think the more interesting question, in part because it varies wildly from writer to writer, is how their process of writing and organizing thought works. Rowling has said that she had the overarching storyling worked out before she finished the first book, but William Goldman cried for several days after killing Wesley because he didn't see it coming and when Tolkien was sending a white horse to the Shire to meet the hobbits and wound up crossing out "white" and changing it to "black," he found he had to figure out where the black horse had come from and why Gandalf wasn't able to be there.

Back to where ideas come from, in the case of Rowling it is possible to ask this question in a very specific manner, e.g., how long did it take to come up with the game of Quidditch?, did portkeys have any particular inspiration?, etc.

Laura Dickerson said...

Neil Gaiman answered the ideas question a number of years ago, part of whichrecently appeared in a comic strip (with links to his longer answer)