Full Text from J. K. Rowling Pottermore Press Conference


Jun 23, 2011

Posted by EdwardTLC

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.”

On Sorting:

“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
already existing.

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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.

59 Responses to Full Text from J. K. Rowling Pottermore Press Conference

Avatar Imagesessionka says: First? Avatar Imagemonkeysinhogwarts says: Awesome! I can't wait. I'll be on edge for the next month xDAvatar ImagePatronus 27 says: WOW, it was a huge press conference!!!!Avatar ImageHarry89 says: I truly hope I'm one of those few that will get access to it in July, but until then... ALL HAIL JO ROWLING!!!!!Avatar ImageI love my Spectra Specs says: Ahaosgihsdogha;oewhgdsga I can't even express how excited I am!!!! I was constantly trying to submit my email at 5am and it FINALLY went through after 2 hours, and OhMyRowling, I'm so psyched!!! Jo, I love you, you're amazing. GAH.Avatar ImageQuafflesNSyrup says: I am very excited to get in to the beta (fingers crossed!) 1 million has never seemed like such a small number before.Avatar ImageQuafflesNSyrup says: I am very excited to get in to the beta (fingers crossed!) 1 million has never seemed like such a small number before.Avatar Imagevioletstory says: I'm definitely going to be a beta tester :) <3Avatar ImageLisa96 says: I can't wait to be sorted!!Avatar Image29puppy104 says: What's beta? Anyways, I really don't mind if I am one of the lucky people, but it'd be lovely if I was... But, honestly I just wanna go on this site so badly (hopefully it is not slow..), I mean she made it really interactive!! I love her, but I know MyLeaky will be my favorite fansite, because this was my first. But, get ready Pottermore because I will give you as much love I give Leaky!! :PAvatar ImageWON_TWO says: Fun shall be had by all!Avatar ImageGryffindor1221 says: Cant wait Avatar Imageentoptic says: It sounds like she's saying there will be NO new novels. Not even spin-offs not involving Harry : (Avatar ImagexxIBelieveInNarglesxx says: Jo is so amazing,and I'm super excited about Pottermore :)Avatar ImageDavidTheUnready says: going to interesting, am dying to see it. Cant get my email in yet, nearly did earlier then my internet went down :(Avatar Imageginny_weasley1998 says: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I want to be 1/1000000 please! @QuafflesNSyrup, I agree it does seem like a small number!Avatar ImageMariaKeis says: Please let me be one of the lucky one mill. PLEASE ! Can't wait till october !Avatar Imagesessionka says: I love the idea of getting extra if you're sorted into a house other than Gryffindor. I hope I stay into Ravenclaw, where I was sorted on Leaky. I'd love to know the extra of ALL the other houses though. Avatar ImageSillyLills says: The mysteries of Jo have made my literary world so exciting for over 10 years...and now they will continue to do so! :)Avatar ImageHermione_Rules says: I cannot wait for the extra info about teachers backstories (especially McGonagall) !! :)Avatar ImageRubeusHagrid says: I love Jo almost as much as I love this site <3 Its perfect, honestly. Wow, I'm so curious to see a video of a journalist being sorted go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFbOmE2Xi88 I wonder what House I'd be in.. I'd love to be in all of them :) Incidentally, despite being in Gryffindor now, I'm least curious about Gryffindor's history opposing to the others. Like how did Slytherin make the Chamber of Secrets? What led Helga to bring the house elves to Hogwarts? How did Rowena create her diadem? Most of my Gryffindor questions have been answered. Again, love this (and Jo) <3Avatar ImageRubeusHagrid says: Oops I meant "Im so curious about this. Then see a-" Sorry I dont know how that got deleted. I still havent got my email submitted by the way <.<Avatar Imagekevin.landeen says: I SOOO hope that she gives all the details on how to actually make a Horcrux once we get to HBP . . . Always wondered how you force a broken piece of your soul into an object.Avatar ImageFeorge says: Not what I was expecting, but I have to say this sounds pretty cool. It's a great way to give a lot that would have been in the encyclopedia (I still hopes she publishes that) but in an interactive forum. If I can ever get my email submitted (please everyone, stop trying until I've got mine done lol), I'm hoping to be selected for the beta. Avatar Imageluna.quibbler says: OMG OMG OMG OMGOMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG HOW WILL I GET ANY SLEEP FOR THE NEXT 4 NONTHS???!!! THIS IS SOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITING!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU JO!!!!! :D :DAvatar Imagealexweasley12 says: W-O-W ! i cant wait !!! Avatar ImageMaestra2 says: The Pottermore site's been updated about being overwhelmed by email requests - well, really, what did they expect?? I can't wait to be sorted!!!Avatar ImageSgt Pepper says: Harry and Jo "dating" lol, better hope Ginny doesn't find out! ;) Seems like Pottermore will be a bit of everything that was speculated on, sounds like a fun and awesome site, can't wait for all the new info. J K Rowling I love you... how about ditching Harry, he's got Ginny, and dating me instead? :) Avatar Imagevale56796 says: AHHHHHH! i cant wait to be sorted and get my own wand! even earn points for my house! I always been looking in google for something like this! my prayers have been answer!Avatar ImageTarana says: Sounds great. And on the Newsround website I found a video of an interview. I don’t know how long it will be there to view, or if everybody can watch it, so I have made a transcript. If I’m not entirely sure about what is said, I have put it between square brackets [ ] and I left out some of the ‘ehms’. Three dots mark a pause or where sentences were broken off. And please forgive any other slip-ups ;o) Enjoy! To view: http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_9520000/newsid_9521100/9521173.stm Transcript: BBC Journalist: Why is this on a website and not a new book? Jo: I don't have a new story. Most of this writing is material that I generated while I was writing... the books initially. It's background, lots of details that didn't make it into the books, but were in my head. Some of it is new stuff, I suppose, a response to questions that fans have asked me over the years. A very good example would be: Where are the other wizarding schools? We know there are other wizarding schools. So, I generated those wizarding schools. That was loads of fun to do. So, no, there's not a new story, so there’s not a new novel. BBC: And now the seven books are about to go on as e-books? Jo: Yeah. BBC: Has that been a big decision? Because you have been a big fan of [printed paper], haven't you? Jo: I have been a big fan of printed paper. And I think one of the reasons that I resisted doing e-books for so long was (sighs) I couldn't cope with anything else, if I'm absolutely honest. Harry Potter was massive. Still is massive. You know, I was writing, I was working so hard. The decision as to when to do it, how to do it, just seemed one thing I could defer. I was more interested in writing the books. Then we came - and when I say 'we' it was really my agent Neil Blair and myself - and we sat down, and we talked about e-books and we decided we can do it now, and - what's more - we can do it right. So that's why we do it now. BBC: How big a decision is this for you to go online to create e-books? Jo: It's not that big a decision. It's been fun. I suppose I've been working on this site for two years now. I already had my own website, so I was online, and was talking directly to my fans in that way. And this just felt like a further step. It is a very... ehm... sumptuous environment which was created. It's a very detailed environment. I think, it visually very much reflects the dept of the world of the books, which is what I wanted. And I feel that unless I'd have that degree of involvement, we just couldn't have done it this way, if we'd sort of handed it to someone else to do. So I think we have waited, and we've... I think we have done it right. And [we're all] very happy with what we have done. BBC: There has never been a greater advocate of children reading and reading books than you. How should they read your books? Should... Jo: As long as they read, well, as long as they're reading, I'm happy. Then if they want to read my books, I'm really happy, as an author, as any author feels, but ehm... the format isn't particularly important to me. I am a big fan of printed paper. I think I am... It's maybe a generational thing. But very recently, this year, I downloaded e-books for the first time. I was travelling and it was a godsend. You know I could carry twelve bedtime stories around for my kids on a small devise. And you know thats a wonderful thing, when you're travelling particularly. So I use both, I enjoy both, and I think that's the future. But I don't think printed paper will ever die. There will always be people like me, who put [printed books] first. Avatar ImageFawkes1706 says: This project is so fantastic, it's really different. Our dreams have come true, we're going to Hogwarts! Can't wait to find out my house and wand! Avatar Imagegryffindor1991 says: You know the interesting thing is, if we are put into another house other than Gryffindor and we get to learn extra about that house, we will still eventually find out about the other houses because you know it will end up online in places like the HP lexicon and the Harry Potter WikiAvatar ImageJeannine says: I am so hoping for more background story on Lilly and James and more on Serius Black and Pro Lumus these were /are such fasinating characters there has to be a lot more to what made each of them.. and the lives they lead leading up to the point of Harry's story I SO hope Jo tells .Avatar ImageGwynogs_rabbit says: :D I love love love that she has had these discussions with people about how quidditch is illogical! Not sure why people think that, but it reminds me of trekkies lol! And it sounds like we are going to get a TON more to read!!! yay :D !!!Avatar Imagekyrstalkris says: I'm so excited! I hope I get into Ravenclaw! =]Avatar Imagegreenfire says: As long as I'm not in Hufflepuff I'll be happy. I know I am not a Gryffindor though so it is really between the other two. Honestly in the books the portrail of Slytherins as evil people always put me off, if Slytherins are cunning, sly and ambitious then realistically about 90% of the people in the media whose names you know would be Slytherins. Avatar Imageazaadpotter says: OMG i just cant wait for it to begin.Avatar Imageradishraven says: WOOP WOOP! Can't wait to be sorted. I'll be happy with Hufflepuff. Or Ravenclaw. I love how she says that Dumbledore will show how Quidditch is not illogical...And I'm so happy we get to learn more about Mcgonagall: she's my favorite teacher in the wizarding world. :DDDDAvatar ImageBoyWithALightningScar says: I'm getting more and more excited. In a way, I hope I get into Ravenclaw because I feel such a strong affinity with this House. But I'll see... The Sorting Hat knows best, I guess.Avatar Imagesongbird says: I can't wait to be sorted! I end up in a different house every time I take a quiz...I can't wait to see where I'm ACTUALLY supposed to be. Where the real sorting hat would put me. So exciting!! SQUEEEEEEEEE!Avatar ImageMahin says: I'm absolutely gonna love it! Avatar ImageAdidi88 says: can't wait can't wait! i've always wanted to get sorted into a house and get a wand and everything! thanks JO! =D Avatar Imageeccentricalice says: Oh wow, I am beyond excited. Especially to hear McGonagall's backstory!Avatar ImageRubeusHagrid says: I am so excited!! And I agree with greenfire 100% about Slytherins. I am very excited oh my..For ebooks, digital audio books, getting officially Sorted, getting an official wand, backstory and the whole reading experience--its perfect I'm rereading the series before 31 July to prepare for this challenge :)Avatar Imageminiginny says: Nonono!!!!! It was suppeoaed to open yesterday!!!!!!Avatar ImageCrazy and Proud says: First the wait to know what it is and now the wait to actually see it? I'm gonna burst! :L I can't wait, I'm so impatient! xD It looks fantastic!!! I hope (like everyone else :p) I get to be a beta tester :DAvatar ImageWant to be a Weasley says: Really excited for the extra information, but would really enjoy it in a physical book. I have had way too much hope for the "Scottish Book."Avatar Imagethedarklordlives says: yes...I shall live once moreAvatar ImageBless_the_children says: WHY IS IT NOT OCTOBER YET? I my gosh, I may have to take a few days off of work to do this. How will I ever get papers graded or lesson plans made when there is so much to enjoy ? XDAvatar ImageGwynogs_rabbit says: Her site won't accept my email address - it automatically says that it doesn't appear to be a valid type of email address - which of course it is, but I guess it doesn't fit into her site's expected parameters. Has anyone else had this problem and know what to do about it?Avatar Imageroonwit says: Gwynog'srabbit: I imagine that it checks that emails of the form [email protected] . Does yours differ from this pattern or have any non-alphanumeric ( or . or - ) characters in it?Avatar Imagealexweasley12 says: same here gwynog'srabbit lol i tried over and over but i think my area and the company who provides my email service is not petmietted or smtn....grrr !!Avatar ImageLexitheAuror says: Well, the email sign up thing is just going to be a reminder that the site will open on such and such day in Oct., which you can find out on leaky or anywhere else. So, don't worry too much guys.Avatar ImageLexitheAuror says: Well, the email sign up thing is just going to be a reminder that the site will open on such and such day in Oct., which you can find out on leaky or anywhere else. So, don't worry too much guys.Avatar ImageLivi22 says: I'm rereaing this for about the thousandth time and every time I read it I get shivers going down my spine. Thank you Jo!Avatar ImagethelonglostWeasley says: I can't wait! I 'm actually really excited about the sorting! I have always wanted to know where I would actually be not just where I think I would be or where a quiz thinks I would be!Avatar ImageGene L. says: I honestly can't wait.Avatar Imageclaryclare says: I'm sure Pottermore would be fantastic. We'll be able to explore new stuff and read more about characters that has a little background and/or not shown in the movie.Avatar ImageFluffybunnies says: So excited! I really can't wait to see if I really AM a Gryffindor...

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