Full Text from J. K. Rowling Pottermore Press Conference
Jun 23, 2011
As we reported this morning, Harry Potter author announced further details about Pottermore this morning via a YouTube video announcement and press conference open to select media outlets. Leaky now has the full transcript from the press conference to read below.
Pottermore, it was revealed, is “a unique and free-to-use website which builds an exciting online experience around the reading” of the Harry Potter books. The author has written thousands of words of new material “about the characters, places and objects in the much-loved stories, which will inform, inspire and entertain readers as they journey through the storylines of the books. Pottermore will later incorporate an online shop where people can purchase exclusively the long-awaited Harry Potter eBooks, in partnership with J.K. Rowling’s publishers worldwide, and is ultimately intended to become an online reading experience, extending the relevance of Harry Potter to new generations of readers, while still appealing to existing fans.” The Washington Post has this video of Ms. Rowling’s press conference with even more info can be viewed via this link.
For a recap of everything we know about Pottermore, click here. Also be sure to follow our Twitter for the latest news!
JKR during press conference:
“Pottermore has been a really great way to give back to the Harry Potter readership, who made the books such a big success. I am still receiving countless, a huge amount of mail – I thought it would really drop off by now. Stories, drawings, suggestions I write prequels, sequels, every week.
“This site is just a fantastic way for all that fan creativity to continue. It’s been an amazing experience for me to be able to be creative in this medium that iddn’t exist back in 1990 when I had the idea for the books. And it will be a wonderful way to introduce the digital generation to the books.
“It’s just been a phenomenally exciting project. We’v been working on it for a couple of years and I think it’s miraculous that so few clever fans twigged to what we were up to. A few did and they were really nice about not giving us away early. It’s just been a very exciting project to work on with a great team.”
“The Sorting was some of the best fun I’ve had on this project. I was writing the potter books for sixteen years and during that time I had just had this real sense of where people belonged, in what house they belonged. It was something I was unconsciously doing a lot of the time when I met people.
“So, developing these vast pool of questions that are randomly selected for a user – so you wont get the same questions as your friend necessarily – I thought it was quite important that people didn’t get to second guess what meant Gryffindor, for example. But the exciting thing for me is that if you’re not sorted into Gryffindor, if you’re sorted into one of the other three houses you will effectively get an extra quarter chapter because you will go off to your on common room. If you are sorted into Gyrffindor you just follow Harry. But if you’re sorted into Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin, you go to your own common room, you meet your own prefect, who will tell you about famous people who were in your house and what the true nature of your house is.
“In the main narrative you only ever see the other houses through the eyes of the three, my three heroes. What I’m basically saying is that it’s not a terrible thing to be in Slytherin. And in fact I have always seen Gryffindor and Slytherin as the two closest houses. I think that Harry himself could have goneeither way very easily. I don’t think it’s very guessable. Yo must be answering honestly. YOu just get one shot at this, it’s like a Mensa test, there’s no going back, you’ve got to do it properly the first time.
“We’ve tested this out. I tested it on my family and everyone was where I thought they would be, and when the team did it, you [to Tarek Nseir of TH_NK] said most people were in Ravenclaw. The only two people who were in Slytherin were dressed all in black. So it works.”
Q: How did the idea come about, and how much new material is there?
would say that I have had more than half of the new material already written – and I’ve also generated some new content, particularly the introduction to the houses. That was a fun opportunity to go back, rethink how it might have been if Harry followed a different course. So I’ve generated quite a lot.
“[The idea] came out of a discussion between us, between Neil [Blair] and myself. We knew there was a big demand for the eBooks but I wanted – if
it was going to be done I wanted it to be more than that. Obviously
we’d had a lot of requests for all sorts of games and online interactive
games and so forth. I wanted to pull it back to reading. I wanted to pull it back to the literary experience, the story experience, and this is what emerged from those discussions. So we started working on this seriously a couple of years ago.”
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Q: Will there ever be a printed encyclopedia?
“Will there ever be a
book, I don’t know at the moment. The world has kind of outstripped me
in the sense that back in 1998 I generated a lot more material than
would ever be put in the books. It was simply ridiculous that anyone –
to me at the time, I thought, who would ever want to know the
significance of these types of wand woods? This was all in my head. So
the only way I could imagine I could get that material out there was in
the form of a printed book.
“Now, you can go and look and see what the significance of the wand wood
once what you’ve got your wand. You have to read it all, but it’s such a
rich experience to do it this way.
“Will there ever be an
encyclopedia? Possibly. I would say two things about the encyclopedia:
firstly, I’ve always said and I stand by it, whenever I do do a printed
encyclopedia I would like all the proceeds to go to charity. Back in
1998 I never dreamt I personally I would be in the position that I could
set up a large charitable foundation and personally do things for
charity, and I’ve done other charity books already.
“The other thing is, this is free. You don’t have to buy anything to
access what you’ve seen today. You don’t have to pay to get the extra
material, you don’t hve to buy a single thing to go onto Pottermore and
have the whole experience you’ve just seen. That was really important to
me. This was about the give-back. The technology now existed to do
something outside the books and the films for existing fans.”
Q: You have been quoted about how difficult it was to say goodbye to
Harry Potter. This is a way of causing you to be able to keep your
boyfriend a little longer?
“It’s exactly like an ex-boyfriend. It is
true to say that finishing writing Harry, I’ve only ever cried in that
way and as much ever in my life when my mother died. I’ve never cried
for a man as I cried for Harry Potter, ever. So, we’re not casually
dating, as you can see, and have been for two years now and I’ve been
keeping that quiet.
“It is surprising how easily I slip in and out of that world. I’ll be
completely honest when I came to write out notes or when I generated new
material which I have done in places, I just thought this is
extraordinary how easily I slip in and out of it, that’s been wonderful.
But I do have closure with Harry, and I think it’s important to say
that I have no plans to write another novel. This has been an amazing
way of staying in touch with that part of my life, but I am pretty sure I
am done on the novel front. But it was fun while it lasted.”
Q [regarding Jo’s mail and whether this will reignite her post bag]
love the mail. Not all of the mail. I like 99% of the mail.
books, it’s impossible to overstate what Harry Potter was to me. It
completely changed my life. Creatively, I’ve loved it. It will never
happen again to me anyway. It will happen again to someone else,
there’ll be another series of books that’s as big. I adore my readers. I
love my readers. Any writer would like to think that they will continue
to be read.
“I thought a question that would come earlier but that I am going to
answer spontaneously now, is that print/ebook debate: It is my view
you can’t hold back progress. EBooks are here, they are here to stay.
Personally I love printed paper, but very very recently, later thatn a
lot of people because I’m not very technologically adept, in fact it was
this year for the first time that I downloaded eBooks. And it’s
miraculous, for travel and for children particularly, to carry around a
thousand books in your pocket on a small device is an extraordinary
thing, so I feel great about taking harry potter into this new medium.
But I still love a printed paper book; I think you can enjoy both.”
Q: Did you come up with the name Pottermore?
“I did. I’m quite proud
of that. We had a lot of discussions about that but that was me.”
Can you talk about your decision to go directly to the consumers? I
imagine Apple and Amazon are not happy.
“Well I can’t speak for anyone else. The decision was quite
straightforward for me. Firstly It means that – I mean Harry Potter is
obviously an international phenomenon and it means that we can now see
that people everywhere are having the same experience at pretty much the
same time. A large part of the fandom will be able to receive
experience at exactly the same time, which was extremely appealing to
“I’m phenomenally lucky in that I have the resources to do it myself and
therefore I got to do it, I think, right. I think this is a fantastic
and unique experience that I can afford in every sense. To take my time
and find the right people – TH_NK have been extraordinary – to make this
come alive. There was really no other way to do that, for the fans or
for, than to just do it myself. Not everyone could do it, I appreciate
that, but I think it was right for Harry Potter. It was right for Harry
Potter because, Potter fandom was one of the first, I think ti’s fair to
say, there was a massive online community and that was such fun for me
as an author to be able to have direct contact with my fans, and I
already had a direct presence online, I had my own web site already. So
it didn’t feel like a massive onwards step. It was an extension of the
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Q: Can you talk more about what new content is on the site and what some
of your favorite parts were?
“I’ve mentioned – I think my favorite
things are the Sorting, which I loved writing, I think if you get into
the other three houses apart from Gryffindor, you do end up with an
extra bit of that chapter in Philosopher’s Stone. That was great to
write. And then the wands, I go into ridiculous detail about the
wandwoods, and what the cores mean, and why it might have chosen you and
every detail on wands and some of that I already had in long form and
some of it I wrote anew.
“The background on Professor McGonagall, I’ve had for years and years and
years, and I think I always thought it would have somehow found its way
into the story and it just never happened. Harry and Professor
McGonagall just never had an interaction or a conversation where that
would plausibly come out, so I was left with this life story of this
character I liked so much and nowhere to put it. Now I’ve got somewhere
to put it. That was so satisfying.”
Q: How much is there?
“Oh god, I don’t know. Lots. There’s lots.
18,000 words at launch but I’m adding to it. I’m still digging up boxes
and I will write more as well as we hit subsequent books. In fact I’ve
already given material on the other six books. We’ve been working on
this for about two years so this has been int the works quite a long
Q: Can I ask about Quidditch?
“I don’t think I’ve given all the stuff
on Quidditch yet. Men always ask me about Quidditch because the number
of, and I love geeky people so I do not say this in a pejorative way,
but the number of geeky men who have come up to me to argue with me
about Quidditch – I’d be a lot richer if I had a quid for every one.
They just think it’s illogical. But it’s not illogical and I had a
speech by Dumbledore in the first book that never made it in explaining
why Quidditch is not illogical, so at some point I will put that on the
site. Thank you for reminding me.”
Stick to Leaky (and @leaky on Twitter!) for everything about Pottermore.