Rowling’s evening address at Carnegie Hall, part of her Open Book Tour following the publication of Deathly Hallows. She answered pre-selected questions on a variety of topics. The biggest reveals were that Dumbledore was gay and the explanation of why the basilisk venom didn’t destroy the fragment of Voldemort’s soul in Harry when he was injured in the Chamber of Secrets.
Interesting facts and notes
Some interesting questions and answers:
Now that the series has ended, what was the one question that you most wanted fans to ask that you couldn’t answer before the release of Deathly Hallows and, if not answered in the books, what is the answer?
JKR: “I was always amazed that no one ever asked me what Dumbledore’s wand was…and I don’t know what I would have done….say ‘no time, next?’ I didn’t want them to know that it was significant, so I might have said it was made of elder, and then I’d have had to rework some of that so as not to tip readers off too early.”
In fact, we DID ask her what Dumbledore's wand was in our open letter way back in 2004. She simply ignored the question.
Did Neville ever find love? [Awww…]
JKR: “Of course; I love Neville. Neville does find love. To make him extra cool, he marries the woman who becomes, eventually, the new landlady of The Leaky Cauldron, which I think would make him very cool among the students, that he lives above the pub. He marries Hannah Abbott.”
I think a lot of fans hoped he'd end up with Luna, and the films even suggest that they get together.
Bellatrix LeStrange hurt so many characters and had so many enemies, how did you decide that Molly Weasley would finish her off?
JKR: “Well, in fact, I always knew that Molly would finish her off. I think there was some speculation that Neville would do it, because Neville obviously has a particular reason to hate Bellatrix…so there were lots of options for Bellatrix, but I never deviated. I wanted it to be Molly, and I wanted it for two reasons. The first reason is that I always saw Molly as a very good witch, but someone whose light was necessarily hidden under a bushel because she’s in the kitchen a lot and she’s had to raise, among others, Fred and George, which is likely enough for anyone! The kids learned, when they were camping, that magical cooking is harder than it looks, and actually Molly is very skilled. I wanted her to have her moment, and just because she dedicated herself to her family didn’t mean that she couldn’t do great things…The second reason is that it was a meeting of two kinds of love, if what you call what Bellatrix feels for Voldemort love. I guess we’ll call it love; she has a kind of obsession with him, it’s a very sick obsession, and I wanted to match that kind of obsession with maternal love…the power that you give someone by loving them. So Molly was an amazing example of maternal love, and there was something very satisfying about putting those two women together.”
This was a very satisfying moment. Molly needed the opportunity to show her strength and power.
Did Dumbledore, the man who believed in the prevailing power of love, ever fall in love himself?
JKR: “Very interesting… My truthful answer to you is… I always saw Dumbledore as gay… [applause and ovation] So, when you read book seven, Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself for what he was. To an extent, do we say it excused Dumbledore a little more, because falling in love can blind us to an extent? But he met someone as brilliant as he was, and rather like Bellatrix, he was drawn to this brilliant person, and horribly, terribly, let down by him. Yeah, that’s how I always saw Dumbledore. In fact, recently I was in a script read-through for the sixth film, and they had Dumbledore saying a line to Harry early in the script like ‘I knew a girl once, whose hair was long and…’ [laughter], and I had to write a little note in the margin and slide it along to the scriptwriter: ‘Dumbledore’s gay!’ [laughter and applause] If I’d known it would make you so happy, I would have announced it years ago!
When Harry was stabbed by the basilisk’s fang in Chamber of Secrets, shouldn’t the fragment of Voldemort’s soul that was inside of him have been destroyed?
JKR: I have been asked that a lot. Harry was exceptionally fortunate in that he had Fawkes. So before he could be destroyed without repair, which is necessary to destroy a Horcrux, he was mended. However, I made sure Fawkes wasn’t around the second time a Horcrux got stabbed by a basilisk fang, so the poison did its work and it was irreparable within a short period of time… It was established early in the book – Hermione says that you destroy a Horcrux by using something so powerful that there’s no remedy. But she does say there is a remedy for basilisk poison, but of course it has to be administered immediately, and when they stab the cup later – boy, I’m really blowing this for anyone who hasn’t finished the book – there’s no Fawkes, is my answer. And thank you for giving me a chance to say that, because people have argued that quite a bit.”
Open Book Tour: Canegie Hall