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Leaky Live Coverage: J. K. Rowling Interview on Oprah Winfrey Show

J.K. Rowling
Posted by: Edward
October 01, 2010, 10:00 AM

++++Today, the nationally syndicated Oprah Winfrey Show is set to broadcast an interview with Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling.  This interview is being broadcast now in Chicago, and Leaky will live updates, quotes, and information from the interview as it airs.  Leaky's Twitter will also be live tweeting throughout the broadcast!  Stay close to Leaky for the very latest info, full transcripts, and video throughout the day!

Full transcript and video will be available shortly!  Stay close!
  • Interview taking place at the Balmoral Hotel in Scotland, the place where the final Harry Potter book was finished.  "Stunning," says Jo.About hotel: "Well, it turned out to be simulating, 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."
  • Final words of the book: "It was a bereavement.  It was huge.  I think one way, although I knew it was coming... we all know the people we love were mortal, we all know we're mortal. You know it's going to end."
  • Initially I was elated, then I cried... like I had never cried before.  And only twice in my life have I cried like that... when my mother died."
  • "I had to mourn Harry." 
  • "They're all in my head still.  I could definitely write an eighth, a ninth book." Will you write another book? "I'm not going to say I won't."
  • "I feel I am done, but you never know." 
  • The press pressures: "It was, I can say that now, because I'm free of it.   At the time I felt a need to deny how great the pressure was becaue that was my way of coping.  It happended so fast for me, and it shouldn't have happened.  It was a childrens book, a childrens book which I was repeatedly told wasn't very commercial.  Because I had been turned down a lot.  It was like being a Beatle.  But there were four Beatles, so they could turn to each other and say "My god, This is crazy!" I couldn't turn to anyone."
  •   The pressures, "At that point I kept saying to people 'I'm coping, I'm coping.'  
  • One day every child in the world will know is name, did you know it would be true in the real world?  "I remember once, a flash of clairvoyance. I was writing Philosopher's Stone and I had this moment where is suddenly thought, 'The difficult thing will be getting published. If it gets published it will be huge." 
  • "I was something without self-belief in myself, but there was this one thing that I could do." 
  • "I never really found the right thing [to write] before Harry Potter." 
  • "I love a kooky word." 
  • "I am very frustrated by fear of imagination, I don't think that's healthy." 
  • "I'm not pushing any belief system here, although there is a lot of Christian imagery in the books, that's undeniable. And certanily in Hallows...that's an illusion to a belief system in which I was raised.  But to answer the question about being critized in that way [by religious groups]... If they're talking about the dark and scary stuff, I think it is perfectly legitiment 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."
  • What having money can do: "It's having that moment where you are looking at two things and you think 'I can, actually, have both." 
  • "I dress better. But, that's not just about having money because you meet dress atrociously!" 
  • "I can't accept that I will ever know that I'll always be rich... I dont want to get complacient, I don't want to take things for granted... Well, you know, I am talking absolute rubbish... I would really have to be very stupid [to not be wealthy forever], but, yeah, I do still worry. Not all the time, most of the time I think things are great." 
  • About what money has done for her : "It frees you... that's why it's like a superpower.  The luxury of being able to sit down and say 'Where shall we go for our holiday?'  and not be in any way limited..." 
  • "No, I don't drive.  Cars terrify me... Lately, I have had a driver." 
  • Do you take the bus: "Occasionally. Within the past year I've taken the bus." 
  • Did you ever picture your life the way it is now? "No. Never.  And I really, really never. It overshot the mark so ridiculously. I was so unprepared for it, and this was the thing that I think I really never spoken about: I was a writer.  I had no one near me, either professionally or personally, who could in any way help me when I had questions, like, 'What do you do when the press is searching through our trash?'  The really crazy stuff that happens...
  •  If you're an actress you expect that, "Of course," says Jo. "You know if I'm wildly successful that stuff will happen... But if I'm a writer, you never think of that."
  •  Have you made peace with your relationship with God, and do you call it 'God? "Yes, I do."  "[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 belive 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."
  •  What did your first marriage tell you about yourself? "Well, I think that first and most important thing to say would be that I would do it again, step for step to have Jessica, who is incredibale.  Don't regret a thing.  I think I repeated pattens from my family, as we often do, in my selection of my first husband.  I think that it taught me I'm proud that it taught me how... that I had a strong survival instinct.  Beacsue when I knew it was time to go I left."
  • I can't pretned that I walked straight out of that marrigae feeling enlightend in any way, I felt shell shocked.  I had a very tiny baby and I walked straight into povery and depression.  In a strange way, yes, that was enormously illuminating.  But I did a lof of thinking after that marriage ended, primiarly about me."
  • And it was seven years before I met the right man, and it needed to be seven years.  But, I was really ready." 
  • The strange thing is, a week before I met Neil-- and I hope this gives hope to all single women out there-- I remember speaking to a very good friend and she said what would you like in a man?  And I said I would need to be with someone intelligent, because I just value it.  I would really like for him to have his own carrer... I really thought these were basic things.  Integrity as very important and kindness, and a strong sense of who he was... These were things that were all very important.  And she looked at me and was like 'That's not going to happen!" 
  • Her father, "[Being estranged from him] is never a thing to do in the public eye."
  • Do you think you'll ever make peace? "No, I dont.  I think that it's such a huge thing to be estranged form a parent that you'd have to have very big reasons to do that." 
  • Do you have your reasons? "I have my reasons.  It wasn't a good relationship, from my point of view, for a very long time. But, I had a need to please and I kept that going for a long time.  But then there came a point at which I pulled up and said 'I can't do this anymore."
  • Do you regret that he can't be part of this success? "Well, the estrangement happended post-success, so I felt he was there for a while.  If I am totally honest with you, I regret much more that my mother never saw any of it.  That's a bit of a killer.  She would have adored it." 
  • Her mother and the books.  "I would have told her about it, I would have done.  And I know she would have really like it it.  I think it was six months before she died I started writing and I never shared it with her." 
  • Do you regret that? "Yeah, The odd thing is-- this is life isn't it-- the books wouldn't be what they are if she hadn't died.  I mean, her death is literally on every other page in the Harry Potter books.  At least half of Harry's journey is to deal with death, what it does to the lving, what it means to die, what survives death." 
  • "If she hadan't died, I don't think it is too strong to say there wouldn't be Harry Potter.  The books are what they are because she died." 
  • Dementors came from her depression. "Clinical depression is a terrible place to be. I think I had tendencies to depression quite young.  It became really acute when I was 25-28; it was a dark time.  It is that absence of feeling, that absence of hope.  You don't know you can feel better.  It is so difficult to describe to someone who hasn't been there, because it isn't sadness.  Sadness is not a bad thing, to cry to feel.  And it was because of my daughter that I went and got help."
  • Harvard speech: "That was easilsy the most frigetening thing I've ever done in my life.  It felt very exposing because this wans't me reading out words that had already been approved.  I used to be borderline phobic about public speaking. So I've come a long way... there are things like giving a speech on TV that still can't do that very easily." 
  • Rock bottom became her foundation, how to use failure. "It doesn't get spoken about enough.  I do not know anyone... who are terrified, who are in a straight jacked of their own making, because tehy are terrified of failing, and they won't try for fear of failing. 
  • "[Rock bottom] was liberating.  What did I have to lose?" 
  • The Harry Potter universe. "I could be so much worse.  Michael Jackson wanted to do the muscial and I said no." 
  • Do you control all of it? "No, 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. Complete quote:
Oprah: In my magazine I do a column called What Do You Know for Sure?  And every month when I write it, I'm like "I don't know a thing!  I don't know a thing!"
Jo: (laughs) I'm really glad you said that because if I thought you were going to ask me what I know for sure, this is going to be tricky.  Okay.  Okay.
Oprah: I'm prefacing it by saying, it is difficult to know what's for sure.
Jo: Yeah, it is.
Oprah: But, what do you know for sure?
Jo:  Um, well I definitely 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 knowingly am going to say on this earth is "I love you."  What's more powerful than that?  What's more proof than that?  Beyond fear, beyond death.  
Oprah: It's so interesting you mention 9/11 because I think about them all the time.
Jo:  It is such a huge... it is a defining moment in our lives.
  • "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 paniced, because I have friends in New York, and I emailed two of my best friends in New York, one of whom is my editor Arthur Levine, and bizarrely he was able to virtually immediately email me back, and the last line of his email was 'And they say that we shouldn't teach children about evil.'"
  • What is your dream of happiness?  "Well in the first Harry Potter book Dumbledore says to Harry 'The happiest man alive would be able to look into the mirror and see himself exactly as he is.'  So I'd have to say I'm pretty close."
  •   Will you be writing more? "Oh definitely, I literally can't stop.  Well, you could tie my hands to my sides, I suppose, but I have to write for my own mental health.  I need to write.  I love it."
  •  Chasing the phenomenon: "I'm proud that I did it, but this is a new phase." 
  • Final question: Is there a part of you that feels I have got to top Harry "No, and I get asked that... interestingly, people tell me that.  They say 'Well, you know, you must just think how are you going to top that?'  And I really truly don't think that.  It was amazing,a nd it was insane at times.  It was fun at time, I am so greatful that it happened.  I love the people that read the books, I dedicated the last book to the people who ware dearest to my heart, and the seventh part of that is the reader." 
  • "There was a girl who came up to me on the street the other day, she bloomed out of the pavement... and she must have been in her early twenties, and she said to me 'You are my childhood.'  About the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me." 


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83 Comments

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27 Points

I watched it yesterday. [:

Twice, actually. o.O

Posted by ZandKey on October 02, 2010, 08:10 AM report to moderator
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1072 Points

I love watching every interview by Jo she is so down to earth when she talks and I’m glad that the last thing she talked about was the girl in her twenties coming up to her.. I’m that girl… if I saw her I would tell her the same thing.. I have been reading her books since they first came out in 6th grade and now I am 22 and i will never forget the lessons I learned from her book and made it my mission to teach my moms side that love is a powerful thing and now every time we talk they say I love you to me and it makes me so happy!! Thank you JO!!

Posted by Astoria Lane *Hermione* on October 02, 2010, 01:16 PM report to moderator
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393 Points

Initially I was elated, then I cried… like I had never cried before. And only twice in my life have I cried like that… when my mother died."

this made me cry :’(,,,,you are awesome Jo

Posted by hermy on October 02, 2010, 06:03 PM report to moderator
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393 Points

wonder why she said NO to MJ,,,,,,,

Posted by hermy on October 02, 2010, 06:09 PM report to moderator
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393 Points

“There was a girl who came up to me on the street the other day, she bloomed out of the pavement… and she must have been in her early twenties, and she said to me ‘You are my childhood.’

i would have said the exact same thing to her (: ,,,,she is my childhood and my present,,,,

Posted by hermy on October 02, 2010, 06:13 PM report to moderator
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4138 Points

This is a really interesting interview. Quite a nice interview.

Posted by Calum Wilson (RuneDream54) on October 02, 2010, 06:21 PM report to moderator
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4208 Points

What an excellent and thought provoking interview. Thanks, Leaky@! I hope she does write a bit more about the HP universe, but I am really so happy with what she has given us fans all ready.

Posted by Fresca ROAR on October 02, 2010, 09:03 PM report to moderator
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510 Points

Yeah the interview could have gone on for hours and I would’ve still sat there glued to the TV. Not a fan of Oprah at all and agree that she interjects herself into her interviews way too much and didn’t seem to know hardly anything about Jo or the books. I too was disappointed that there was nothing new in the interview, but I always finding every word out of Jo’s mouth positively mesmerizing. She’s just such a fascinating and inspiring figure. Wish the interview had lasted longer.

I second the question as to what’s going on with the Scottish Book and whether or not she is even still planning on writing and releasing it. Also why on earth didn’t Oprah even ask about it or mention it at all?

Posted by bella vita on October 03, 2010, 04:33 PM report to moderator
Aughra-avatar-photo_thumb
33 Points

Interesting interview, and in totally unplanned ways. These are two of my favorite people on the planet, and this was the next best thing to getting to sit with them, have tea, and chat with them. (Wasn’t the tea set behind them revealing? I wonder how long they chatted before they rolled the camera, and how often they had to clip out moment of sipping?). I was thrilled with Oprah’s reading of the last paragraph of DH, and was reminded of her performance of Maya Angelou’s poetry—what an electrifying moment! This wasn’t that grand, but very cool.

I’m not surprised that Oprah didn’t know our favorite author was called Jo—I am surprised her staff didn’t do more prep research (like checking out Leaky!) to tell her this. Big miss on their part!

I think Oprah’s read the books, but no, she’s not inhabited them like we have; I would have been surprised if she had. So I wasn’t disappointed by the lack of canon questions. And Jo was very hesitant to talk about what may be next, and Oprah backed off there.

The most powerful moments were the times they zigzagged to looking back on their lives—both women came from poverty, but had good educations, and a great faith in one vision of themself through which they could succeed. As a result, both became a “phenomenon,” including fantastic wealth and influence in the world for good. And both of them felt unprepared, have adapted, and are thankful for what they have.

A lovely interview!

Posted by aughra on October 03, 2010, 05:20 PM report to moderator
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4481 Points

She was so poised, yet candid. That’s her, though. She amazes me with her undying “humanness”. She’s always so honest – yet she speaks her point of view and expresses her beliefs without ever being overbearing. I just always feel like I know her when she speaks. She makes you believe that she is a regular person, however extraordinary she is. I think that is why she makes others feel extraordinary in her presence. I think her and Oprah really clicked, and I think Oprah really admires her. You could tell by how engaged she was when Jo was speaking.

Posted by Smitch on October 03, 2010, 07:29 PM report to moderator
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3777 Points

this was so sick

Posted by ZachBlack [ROAR] on October 03, 2010, 10:17 PM report to moderator
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36 Points

Here’s the Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnHVy_50IIE

Posted by BanjoBoog on October 05, 2010, 07:45 PM report to moderator
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Thank you for typing the interview. I loved it reading. I only wished, Oprah would have asked only one of the over 1000 open questions I still have got about some of the contents of THE books.

Posted by Quibbler on October 06, 2010, 08:32 AM report to moderator
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33 Points

I’m waiting for Melissa to do the definative Potter canon interview—likely after Jo’s publication of “Hogwarts: An Encyclopedia.” ;-)

Posted by aughra on October 10, 2010, 11:14 PM report to moderator
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47 Points

Anyone know the channel? I’m recording that! Sounds AWESOME.

Posted by EvilEmeric on October 17, 2010, 10:11 AM report to moderator
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