Leaky Cauldron FAQs

Jul 29, 2005

Posted by: KristinTLC


Since the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Leaky has received more than the usual amount of email, asking questions about the book (‘Do you think R.A.B. could be…?’), the movies (‘I have a question about the Riddle tombstone…’) Jo Rowling (‘When do we get book 7?’), terms (‘What’s a shipper’?), and loads of other stuff. In an attempt to answer as many of our readers as possible (and to save our editors’ fingers from typing the same responses over and over), we’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions. Click the link below to see if yours has been answered (or, as we don’t have answers for everything, at least asked by other Leaky readers), and beware of spoilers – don’t read if you haven’t finished the book.
The Most Frequently Asked Questions (at least this week), with a little link assistance from our Floo Network affiliate sites, Quick Quotes and the HP Lexicon:
Q: What’s the difference between the child and the adult versions of the books?

A: The adult version simply has a different cover – the text has not been altered.

Q: What are the differences between the British and the American versions of the books?

A: The most apparent difference is in the title of the first book – in Great Britain, the book is called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; in the States, it’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Some textual changes were to make words or phrases more familiar to American readers (‘packet of crisps’ became ‘bag of chips’; ‘car park’ became ‘parking lot’); others were to edit words with different meanings in their respective countries (a jumper in America is a type of girl’s dress; a jumper in Great Britain is a sweater). The HP Lexicon has catalogued the differences.

Q: When will book seven come out?

A: Your guess is likely as good as ours. Jo Rowling has said that she’ll begin writing it some time near the end of this year. As reference, the first four books were a year apart, the fourth and fifth were three years apart, and the fifth and six were two apart.

Q: In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, do you think the R.A.B. mentioned could be Sirius’s brother, Regulus Black?

A: This is certainly a theory shared by many Leaky readers.

Q: Do you think Slytherin’s locket could be the one mentioned in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix?

A: Seems a likely possibility, doesn’t it? A heavy gold locket that no one could open was found at 12 Grimmauld Place. If it’s the same locket, it could still be there, or Mundungus could have filched it.

Q: Is Harry a Horcrux?

A: We won’t say this is a popular theory so much as a popular question. Long story short – no idea, but it does beg the question of why Voldemort wouldn’t think twice before attempting to kill Harry, as he did in OotP.

Q: On page 454 of HBP, Slughorn refers to Ron as ‘Rupert’, which is the first name of the young actor who plays Ronald Weasley in the film versions of the books. Was this a mistake?

A: We had an answer to this all typed up, but then Authur A. Levine Books saved us the trouble by posting the answer on their website (by all means, go read their response, but the short of it is no – this was not a mistake).

Q: What’s a ‘shipper’?

A: One reader noted, quite correctly, that this has nothing to do with Federal Express. A ‘shipper’ is a fandom term (although not one that solely refers to Harry Potter fans; it originated long before the first Potter book was written) for someone who like a particular romantic pairing and wishes it success (short for ‘relationshipper’). There tend to be two types of ‘shippers’:

-those who believe there is evidence in canon that a particular pairing is likely (AKA Harry and Ginny)

-those who simply like (or are possibly simply amused by the idea of) a pairing, regardless of evidence as to its canon likelihood (AKA Dumbledore and McGonagall; Hedwig and Pigwidgeon)

Q: So then, what’s ‘canon’?

A: Definitive source material. In our case, this refers to the the six Potter books, the two school text books written for charity, and anything Jo Rowling has stated as fact on her website, in a chat, or during an interview (for example, in the recent interview with Ms. Rowling by Leaky’s Melissa and MuggleNet’s Emerson, we were told that Ron’s eyes are blue – so that’s now canon). The films are not generally considered canon simply because some details from the books have been changed (for example, in the book of Prisoner of Azkaban, Ron tells Sirius “If you want to kill Harry, you’ll have to kill us too!” In the film, Hermione does it), although as Jo Rowling has been consulted on each film, they certainly may hint at undiscovered clues (in the film version of SS/PS, McGonagall offers Harry a slight smile when he unwraps his new Nimbus 2000 broomstick, indicating that perhaps she was the one to purchase it) or simply give us insight into what is in Jo Rowling’s head (in response to Dame Maggie Smith being cast as Professor McGonagall and Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid, Jo Rowling said “They were the two I wanted most of all – and I am quite happy about that.”).

Q: What kind of coffee did Melissa give Jo Rowling?

A: Since Jo Rowling called this coffee ‘ambrosial’ on her site, a lot of people have wanted to get their hands on it. Melissa says: “I’m going to sound like a commercial by saying this, but seeing as it’s true: it was Dunkin’ Donuts. That sounds completely gauche and like I made a last minute stop at a petrol station to get Jo a gift, but I have tasted more coffee than most people I know on this earth, and the only flavored coffee I’ll drive miles out of my way to get is Dunkin’ Donuts Hazelnut or French Vanilla roast. Jo, a fellow coffee junkie, shouldn’t miss out on this American treat, not if it will help keep her awake to write HP! So, I packed up a pound of each for her, making my luggage smell lovely and not at all attractive to the customs dogs, noooo. Ambrosial – that’s quite the word for it. Mmmmm – think I’ll go get some now.”

(Editors Sue and Kristin enthusiastically second the fabulousness of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.)

Q: I have a question for Jo Rowling – how can I reach her?

A: On her website, she states that her publishers will forward letters – you can find the links to them here.

Q: Isn’t there an error with this photo from the film version of Goblet of Fire?

A: Many Leaky readers have pointed out two issues with this photo of Harry standing in front of the Riddle family tombstone:

1. Unless ‘Marvolo’ was a popular early-century name, we know that Tom Riddle (the second one – Tom Riddle AKA Voldemort’s father) was not ‘Tom Marvolo’ – as we learned in Half-Blood Prince, that was the first name of his (for a short time) father-in-law, Marvolo Gaunt, and the middle name of his son.

2. We know that Tom Riddle (the third one) was born December 31, 1926. The tombstone gives Tom Riddle-the-second’s date of birth as 1915 – so that would have made him not quite twelve when his son was born.

We have contacted Warner Brothers, and we’re sure if it’s possible for anything to be done about this, it will be.

We’ll update the Leaky FAQ with these questions, and thanks to all of our readers who took the time to write!

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.