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CNN Interview with an Awesome Potter Fan

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Posted by: sue
July 20, 2005, 10:47 AM

Today our own managing editor Melissa Anelli was interviewed on CNN's American Morning program. The subject was regarding the outpouring of emotion on the net over events in Half-Blood Prince; in particular over the passing of one dearly beloved character. The video for this interview is now online at CNN. To watch, click here-then scroll down and click where it says "Potter Fan Furor". We also have the transcript of this interview which you can read below. Please note: the name of the character who dies is NOT revealed; however if you are still reading, you are cautioned.
"Harry Potter" fans around the world devastated, confused, calling
counseling
centers in the wake of the death of a major character in the latest
book. So
why, why would J.K. Rowling do this? Sell books, of course. Well,
anyway, we'll
talk to one of the few American journalists to interview the author
ahead on
AMERICAN MORNING.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Folks say,
oh, howabout the new "Harry Potter" book? Have you been reading the new "Harry Potter"book?

The thing about this new "Harry Potter" book, it's dark and
disturbing. As a matter of fact, it's so dark and disturbing that, after Tom Cruise read it, he had to take an anti-depressant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Now that's dark. The darkness of the latest "Harry Potter" book has certainly made headlines, especially with the death of an important character. t will not be revealed here, folks. Don't worry.

But many readers are sharing their dismay on fan Web sites to quote one of them, "why would Jo do this to us?" Referring to J.K. Rowling, Jo Rowling.

Now she's ordinarily media shy. She sat down with a few reporters
over the weekend. One interview is being posted on the Potter web site, the-leaky-cauldron.org. Correct? And there's got to be some hyphens in there. We'll give you the address in a minute.

And, of course, Melissa Anelli is the editorial director of Leaky
Cauldron,which has become sort of the definitive "Harry Potter" site. So much so that you can call her Jo, Miss Rowling, I would call her invited you over for an interview. We'll talk about the interview in a moment. But first, the psychological impact of this major beloved character dying is tough. And you're hearing from people. What are they saying?

MELISSA ANELLI, WWW.THE-LEAKY-CAULDRON.ORG: Well they're saying that they knew that this needed to happen. And while they hope that Jo would find a way around it.

O'BRIEN: Needed to happen?

ANELLI: It did. In the overarching story arc, what Harry has to do
and where the rest of his story is leading him, he's got to do it without this person. And while she's found ways around this in other books, so there was this nagging hope that maybe, maybe she didn't have to do it. When it did happen, it not only was horrible and sad, but it did feel right. And fans are taking it that way.

O'BRIEN: Felt right. I just want to give you a couple samplings that are going out there. I think these came to your site, as a matter of fact. One of them. "Does anyone else feel there is a massive hole in their hearts? I've been reading about this character since I was nine. That's six years with him and now he's gone." Another one. "I feel empty with losses, horrible,catastrophic and
just mean. Why would Jo do this to us? I can't understand how this is
helpful to Harry. When I finished the book, I put it down and started crying."

I was with a 13-year-old the other night and she was reading the
book at the table. And she got to that page right there right beside me. She was crest fallen. I told her, you know, it's wizardry. He could come back. I couldn't come up with a good answer. What do you think?

ANELLI: Well, he can't come back.

O'BRIEN: He can't.

ANELLI: One thing Jo has been very clear on is death is death in the wizarding world where you can't come back. O'BRIEN: Okay.

ANELLI: However . . .

O'BRIEN: I gave her a bum steer.

ANELLI: However, I think that anybody who knows this character and
knows the books knows that he's not really gone and he's never going to be gone. And the things that he has done and imparted means that his shadow, his beneficent shadow, will always be over Harry and the series.

O'BRIEN: And there are ways of communicating. Because, Harry, after all, has communications with his parents, who, you know, died before really the book even the series begins, right?

ANELLI: Not really. He's seen memories and he has heard things but
he's never spoken with them specifically.

O'BRIEN: It's not like it's a two-way conversation.

ANELLI: Yes.

O'BRIEN: All right. Let's talk about this wonderful opportunity you had to interview, as you can call her, Jo. You basically were summoned. Did you know this was coming? She called you up and said, come on over and, you know, sit down in the castle here. Is that how it went?

ANELLI: Well, I knew there was a phone call coming. From whom, I had no idea. And so . . .

O'BRIEN: How'd you know that? Was it wizardry or something?

ANELLI: A friend that I speak to because of the site. Because of . .
.

O'BRIEN: An owl came and gave you a little tip hint.

ANELLI: Well, you speak with a lot of people in the franchise when
you do the site.

O'BRIEN: Sure.

ANELLI: And I was told that you'll be getting a phone call. And I
thought, oh, OK, it's a lawyer or somebody who needs to speak to me about something sensitive. And I picked up the phone and Jo Rowling was on the line. And she said she asked me very earnestly, could you come to Scotland to interview me?

O'BRIEN: So you penciled in a little bit of time. You managed to
squeeze out the time.

ANELLI: Yes. Yes.

O'BRIEN: What was the biggest surprise you walked away from having
done that interview?

ANELLI: That she is as normal as its been made in the press that she is. She is she put us at such ease. We just sat there and talked and we laughed. And I was able to call her Jo with ease, which I didn't think I was going to be able to do. And just the amount of laughter and good will that she expressed.

O'BRIEN: So you enjoyed her. You enjoyed her company.

ANELLI: Oh, yes, very much so.

O'BRIEN: That's great.

ANELLI: As a matter of fact, it was supposed to be an hour interview and it went over two.

O'BRIEN: Fantastic. All right. Well you can read it if you go to the site. Let's get it we'll put the site up on the screen here. It's
the-leaky-cauldron.org. Make sure you put all those hyphens in there,
otherwise you end up . . .

ANELLI: Or just Google the word "leaky."

O'BRIEN: Who knows where you'll be. But, yes, or just Google the
whole thing.

ANELLI: Just Google the word "leaky."

O'BRIEN: Melissa Anelli, thank you very much for joining us.
Congratulations. Got her signed copy of the book right here.

ANELLI: That's the British version.

O'BRIEN: A personal treasury. You won't see that one on eBay, I bet.

ANELLI: No, no.

O'BRIEN: All right. Thanks for your time. Thanks for dropping by.

ANELLI: Thanks.

O'BRIEN: Back with top stories in just a moment.

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