JKR Volkskrant Interview

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JKR Volkskrant Interview

Post  John Bumbledore on Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:54 pm


JKR Volkskrant Interview

This topic was opened to archive the above titled thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum (HPLF) as it was created and hosted on World Crossing (WX) until WX ceased operation on 15 April 2011. ~ John

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Caius Iulius - Nov 17, 2007 8:17 am
Edited by Kip Carter Nov 18, 2007 11:12 pm

Added Edit per request of Caius Iulius: "I have asked people to bear in mind that the text has been translated twice - from English to Dutch and back - so not to take things too literally." This sentence was a part of a Questions to the Host(s) thread. - Kip Nov 18, 2007 11:12 pm

This is a translation of the interview with J.K. Rowling published by Volkskrant (Dutch newspaper) on the 17th November 2007.

J.K. Rowling is interviewed by journalist Mrs. Wilma de Rek on the occasion of the publication of "Harry Potter en de Relieken van de Dood" (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows).

This interview will be published in parts due to translation and the use of the spelling check.

Please do not post until I have finished translating.

Caius Iulius

I only added format tags (bold and underline) to the last sentence. I have deleted the third message of Caius because it consisted of a duplicate of some of the sentences making up the first portion of the interview. Now Caius can continue posting the rest whenever time is available. - Kip Nov 18, 2007 11:00 pm

Archivist wrote:This posting is in rough form. There is one or more added transcription segments that are added after comments were posted; many of the posts include quotes from previous comments but are not clearly cited or demarcated as quotes.

I or another Moderator/Prefect will return to this archive to address these readability issues later. ~ John (Edit: 08/02/2011 at 4:17 PM local time.)


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JKR Volkskrant Interview

Post  John Bumbledore on Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:56 pm


Archivist note: I have reordered Caius's posts into what is my best guess of their proper order. ~ John

Caius Iulius - Feb 1, 2008 3:29 pm (#1 of 74)

But here it is: this part comes before the text previously posted:

INTERVIEW WITH J.K. ROWLING WITH VOLKSKRANT (DUTCH NEWSPAPER) ON THE 11th OF NOVEMBER 2007.

Interviewer: Wilma de Rek.

Part I.

WdR: Who would you prefer to have as a son: Harry or Ron?

JKR: I'll take them both! I love Ron. He is the most immature of the three main characters, but he becomes an adult in book 7. He never was the strong one - people regard him as Harry's friend, his mother wanted a girl - and in the last book he has to face his weaknesses. But it is that that makes him a man. The others have a similar moment of becoming adults: Harry, when he shouts at his former professor Lupin for wanting to abandon his family, Hermione when she has to choose between Harry and Ron. Hermione never leaves the straight path ahead; she keeps track of what has to be done.

WdR: All the Weasleys have red hair, just like yourself in old pictures. Why did you make it blond?

JKR: I love red hair. My hair isn't red by nature. I have forgotten it's real colour. Something undefined, very boring and very dull.

WdR: Don't you prefer your books to the movies?

JKR: I think that some details get lost while working with a visual medium. It is bound to be so. And the characters in the movie look - without exception - much better than the way I made them up. The moviemakers really caught the dark side of the book.

WdR: Who do you look like yourself?

JKR: When I was younger, I used to be like Hermione, although she has some of my sisters characteristics. But I do recognize a lot of myself in Harry. A part of Harry's fury is mine, so is his frustration. Especially in part 5, the darkest part of the series when he looses everything and no one believes him. After my first marriage, I had such a period in my life when I had the feeling that everything was going wrong, when I was angry with everyone, when I felt powerless and couldn't cope with not being in control of the situation. But it also gave me the strength to fight.

WdR: Is there a mother-type like yourself? Your not a Molly Weasley.

JKR: A bit of a Molly Weasley though, I hope. A couple of years ago someone wrote that I portrayed Molly Weasley as just a mother looking after her children. I was so offended, because I have been a mother like that, just looking after her child - that is to say: to the outside world at least. What provides lesser status and is more difficult at the same time than just raising your children? And what is more important? Molly had seven! I find Molly a wonderful woman.

WdR: What is so nice about Quidditch?

JKR: It's a ladies sport! Four balls! And six goals! It's multi tasking, the thing women are good at. Women know there is more than one goal in life.

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JKR Volkskrant Interview

Post  John Bumbledore on Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:58 pm


Archivist note: I have reordered Caius's posts into what is my best guess of their proper order. ~ John

Caius Iulius - Nov 17, 2007 8:30 am (#2 of 74)

Part II

British book stores contain leaflets with the text: what to do after Harry Potter?. But Joanne Rowling doesn't look desperate at all. Her hair in a new white-blond style, wearing jeans and a black velvet jacket, pours herself a coffee in a hotel chamber in her home town Edinburgh.

JK: I am relieved that it is finished every day. I don't know what will follow after this. I am working on a new book for children and one for adults. One of the two might lead to something - the same happened to Harry Potter. But for the moment I enjoy my family.

WdR: A man in Scottish kilt just passed this hotel. Does your husband wear kilts too?

JKR: He has a few kilts too, indeed. And he wears them now and then, for special occasions.

WdR: And he wears nothing underneath?

JKR: Nothing at all. That is why Scottish kilts a so funny, haha.

WdR: I brought you two presents. One is from Ien van Lanen, who draws the Dutch covers. She presents you with the originals.

JKR: How nice! The Dutch covers are my favorites, along with the American covers.

WdR: The second (present) is from your publisher Jaco Groot.

JKR: Jaco often presents me with interesting stuff, he....ah, a stone! A special one.

WdR: Your last and only interview with a Dutch journalist was 10 years ago. Your interviews in the UK are limited too. Don't you like giving interviews?

JKR. It isn't that. The reason for not giving a lot of interviews is due to me not having to tell a lot.

WdR: Have you ever contemplated becoming a journalist? You always loved to write.

JKR: I have contemplated it. But I think I was sensible enough to realize I don't have the temperament.

WdR: Temperament?

JKR: Yes, I think so. There are deadlines, you have to produce all the time. Writers are about having time and loneliness, and more time and loneliness. Journalists are much happier people than writers. A few of my best friends are journalists.

WdR: In your books journalist aren't presented as nice beings. Rita Skeeter is very mean.

JKR: My friends are normal. One of my ex-boy friends is a music journalist, the others write about serious matters too. Rita Skeeter is a typical British product: we have swamps of them. They have written a lot of rubbish about me.

WdR: In the first part of the series, Dumbledore destroys the Philosophers Stone, the mythical stone who provides the owner with eternal life. In the last part Harry does something of sorts with the Resurrection Stone, the stone that brings back the dead. He drops it in the forest.

JKR: I use the symbolism of the stone to show that Dumbledore accepts his mortality. When he realizes that it is mortality that brings life its usefulness/importance, he is no longer interested in the Philosophers Stone. Harry goes even further. He abandons not only one, but two of his mighty weapons. Of the tree Hallows he gains in book 7, he only keeps his Invisibility Cloak. That tells all about him, because, like Dumbledore tells Harry: the true magic of the cloak is that it not only protects its owner, but others also. The invincible wand is not something Harry needs; he never was interested in power. And he throws the Resurrection Stone away; like Dumbledore Harry is reconciled with death.

WdR: And what about you?

JKR: I try and find the same wisdom as Dumbledore and Harry in the end, meaning that we have to accept our mortality. I don't agree with a lot of Catholic ideas/believes, but the idea of "Memento mori" is essential to me. Every day you realize that you will die one day, is a day well spent. Better to you, better to others.

WdR: Do you consider death to be the end to everything?

JKR: No, I do enjoy a very intense spiritual life, and though I have few religious ideas written in stone, I do believe that you remain in some form after death. I believe is something like the eternal soul. But for that subject, we need about six hours to discuss. It is something I struggle with a lot.



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JKR Volkskrant Interview

Post  John Bumbledore on Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:59 pm


Archivist note: I have reordered Caius's posts into what is my best guess of their proper order. ~ John

Caius Iulius - Nov 17, 2007 8:52 am (#3 of 74)
Edited by Kip Carter Nov 18, 2007 11:26 pm

Part III

WdR: At the end of part 7 Harry has a long conversation with Dumbledore, who is dead, but who looks a lot better and happier than ever, in a spacious environment which - to Harry - looks a bit like King's Cross Station.

JKR: You can interpret that scene in two ways. Either you believe Harry to be unconscious - everything that Dumbledore tells him - he already knew deep inside himself. In that state his mind is continuing to work. In that case Dumbledore is the personification of wisdom, Harry fetches Dumbledore to come to certain conclusions. Or Harry is gone to a stage between life and death, from where he and Dumbledore will go, each in a different direction. Harry also notices what will become of Voldemort. He doesn't know precisely what that small heap is, which he seas lying on the ground screaming, but he won't touch it; he instinctively feels it is something fundamentally evil and perverse. This is the only occasion that Harry - hero of the vulnerable - is around a wounded and won't help immediately.

WdR: During their search Ron, Hermione and Harry sometimes talk of Dumbledore like he is God. The thought that behind his words and deeds was a master plan; they are disillusioned when it turns out that isn't the case.

JKR: He is complex. I don't think of him as God, but I did want the reader to ask himself/herself questions about Dumbledore's part in the whole story. We all believed him to be a benign father figure, and to a certain extend he is. But at the same time he is someone who treats others as puppets, who carries the burden of a shameful secret from his past and who doesn't tell Harry the whole truth. I hope the readers will start loving him again in the end. But loving him like he is, including his faults. Is Dumbledore divine? No, but he has some divine qualities. He is good, and in the end he is just.

WdR: But Harry looks like Jesus. He has to die to save humanity from evil. You made him into a messiah.

JKR: Yes, he is messiah-like. I chose him to be. He is one man in a million - I say "man", because for woman it's different - who is capable to stand up against power and is capable of rejecting power himself. This makes him the wisest of all.

WdR: How can he be so?

JKR: He is the hero, isn't he. Harry is just plain good. Dumbledore tells Harry that when he says to him: "You are a better person than I am". And he will stay a great human being, even when he is older, because he has learned to be humble.

JdR: Where you raised religiously?

JKR: I was raised in the Church of England, but in fact I sort of was the freak in the family. At home, we didn't discuss religion. My father didn't believe in anything, nor did my sister. My mother went to church sometimes, but mainly during Christmas. And I was so curious. From the age of 13, 14, I went to church on my own. I found it interesting and I believed in it. By the time I went to university, I became a little more critical. The self righteousness believers started annoying me, and I went to church less and less. Nowadays, I am back from where I started. Yes, I do believe. And yes, I do go to church. A Protestant church, here in Edinburgh. My husband was raised a Protestant as well, but he is from a severe Scottish direction, one which doesn't allow singing and talking.

WdR: You going to church makes the religious fanatics criticizing your work look curious/strange.

JKR: Over the last 10 years there have always been fundamentalists having problems with my books. The fact that the books contain sorcery and witchcraft is enough - they fear it. I don't like fundamentalism, of whichever sort; it scares me. The Christian fundamentalists are mainly to be found in the US. Once, I stood in a toy store with my children and I was recognized by an excited girl. Than a man came to me and asks: "You're the Potter woman, are you not?" He brought his face close to mine and said very aggressively: "I pray for you every night". I should have answered him to pray for himself, but I was too flabbergasted. It was frightening.



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JKR Volkskrant Interview

Post  John Bumbledore on Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:59 pm


Archivist note: I have reordered Caius's posts into what is my best guess of their proper order. ~ John
Caius Iulius - Nov 18, 2007 10:39 am (#3 of 74)

Part IV.

WdR: Your books are about the battle of good versus evil. Harry is good. But is Voldemort pure evil? He is a victim too.

JKR: He is a victim indeed. He is a victim AND he made choices. He was concepted [conceived] by force in some dazed caprice, while Harry was [conceived] in a state of love. I believe that the circumstances you're born in form an important fundament of your being. But Voldemort chose evil, a fact which I try to make clear in the books; he had choices.

WdR: That's what it is all about: predestination or free choices?

JKR: I believe in the free will. For those of us - privileged - at least. For you, for me, who live in the Western society, people that are not being oppressed, who are free. We can choose. For the greater part things happen like we want them to happen. It's up to you yourself. Your own will is enormously powerful. The way I write about professor Trellawny, that very inadequate Divination teacher, says a lot about what I feel about predestination. For her character, I have dived deep into astrology en I found it very funny, but I don't believe in it.

WdR: You used to work for Amnesty for a while. Did that period form your ideas about good and evil?

JKR: Rather the reverse. I had my beliefs, so I went to work for Amnesty. I was a research assistant and used to work for Africa mainly. Until I was stupid enough to quit my job to follow a boy friend. Voldemort is Hitler-like. When you read books about megalomaniacal types like Hitler, Napoleon and Stalin, it is interesting to observe how superstitious those people are; they with all their might. It is part of their paranoia, part of their desire to be more than they are. They love to introduce fate, predestination and such. I wanted to give Voldemort the same paranoid characteristics. But the prophesy from book 5 fulfilling itself is due to Voldemort and Harry choosing to fulfill it, not because it is predestined. It is the Macbeth-idea: the witches tell Macbeth what will happen, en he consequently makes it happen indeed.

WdR: When did you decide to draw a parallel with Nazism? Voldemort striving for a society of "pure bloods", and Draco Malfoy, just a young soldier sent to the front...

JKR: Right away, I think. I think the Second World War is in the conscience of us all. And Draco Malfoy indeed represents those type of boys. He would never have killed Dumbledore - he could not. As long as ideas stay imaginary, that's all fine, but as soon as things become reality, that is a different matter completely. No, the fact that I did give him blond hair has less to do with creating a scary Nazi - it has to do with giving your characters the appearance you find attractive yourself. That's why I provided my hero with dark hair, green eyes and glasses. I married a man who looks like that.

WdR: Movie Harry, Daniel Radcliffe, has blue eyes.

JKR: They could have provided him with green contact lenses, which would be enormously uneasy for a young boy like him, they could have changed his eyes digitally, or they could have left them the way they are. I am glad they chose the last option.

WdR: In your books, you have created the ideal family, the Weasleys. Is that family like the family you were raised in?

JKR: No, no, not at all. I think my whole life I have longed for a family like the Weasleys. Now I have got one at last, be it with less children. I think there is something special about the dynamic of a large family. I loved books about the Kennedy's and dynasties like that. I know reality often is less romantic than it looks. One of my best friends is the elder of twelve.

WdR: Your mother died of MS, aged 45. Your father is still alive. Do you see him often?

JKR: No, I don't see him often. I see more of my sister, although she is still angry with me for letting Dobby die. She always told me she would never forgive me for killing Dobby or Hagrid. But Hagrid never was in danger. I knew before writing that he would survive, because in my head I a picture of giant Hagrid, crying and walking through the forest carrying Harry. Ron's father was supposed to die in part five, but I didn't do it because I feared it would totally overshadow the rest of the story. But mainly because Arthur Weasley is the greatest father figure of all. I couldn't let Arthur die, I just couldn't. He is the father everyone would wish for. Yes, me too.



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JKR Volkskrant Interview

Post  John Bumbledore on Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:00 pm


Archivist note: I have reordered Caius's posts into what is my best guess of their proper order. ~ John

Caius Iulius - Feb 1, 2008 3:43 pm (#5 of 74)

And then it ends with this ...

Part V:

WdR: All parents in this book are still together. Did you not consider putting in a very nice single mom? At the start of writing Harry Potter you were one yourself.

JKR: I intended to have Hermione's parents divorce. But it felt so strange, it didn't form part of the story. It would be a side story leading nowhere. Dean Thomas comes from a broken family by the way, but I had to cut short his story. I created such a large world, I got all the backgrounds done, but I couldn't use all of it. I had to make some choices myself. And it remains a world for children.

Wilma de Rek commenting at the end once more: (text missing) What to do next? But J.K. Rowling don't look desperate in the least. With her hair done in a new blond coupe and in her jeans and velvet jacket, she pours coffee in a hotel room in her home town Edinburgh. "Every day, I am relieved that it's finished. I am not sure what comes after this. I am working on a new children's book and a book for adults. One of the two might lead to something; the same happened when I was doing Harry Potter. But just for the moment I enjoy the peace. And my family."

The end.

(PS: Dutch covers by Ien van Laanen visible at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Volkskrant newspaper visible at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


Caius Iulius - Nov 18, 2007 10:48 am (#6 of 74)

Please note that this interview has been translated twice; from English to Dutch by Wilma de Rek and back by me. Even though I translated the text to the best of my abilities, I might have made mistakes. So please do not take this text too literally.

I would like to thank Kip for editing and providing me with time to translate. I would like to thank Anna for explaining how to make a new tread. I would like to thank the spelling check for it's help, although sometimes I used words even the spelling check didn't recognize .

For all the grammar mistakes I probably have made, I can only apologize .

Archivist note: I have changed the spelling of a few words or provided English words based on the word forms used by Caius Iulius. The new words are now in italics. ~ John


Caius Iulius - Feb 1, 2008 3:45 pm (#47 of 74)

I think this is really all. Finally!

Sorry I didn't notice that the newspaper had cut the interview in two pieces. Only after I went to the website I found the missing parts.

I will ask Kip to put the interview parts in their proper places in a few weeks.

Azi, You're welcome!



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JKR Volkskrant Interview

Post  John Bumbledore on Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:01 pm


megfox* - Nov 17, 2007 5:15 am (#5 of 74)
Edited by Kip Carter Nov 18, 2007 10:24 pm

Thank you for posting this, Caius Iulius. There are some great questions here! I look forward to reading more!

Added Edit: Some of you may notice the time on this post and some of the ones that follow are before the time of last post of Caius Iulius. This is due to a number of edits and moves on my part to keep the comments in order of the way each was posted. – Kip


painting sheila - Nov 17, 2007 5:56 am (#6 of 74)

I found you! Thank you for you efforts on this Caius!


Choices - Nov 17, 2007 9:39 am (#7 of 74)

I, too, thank you for taking the time to post this, Caius. Interesting stuff!


zelmia - Nov 17, 2007 8:24 pm (#8 of 74)

Thanks for putting that up, Caius.

There's such a playful, libarated quality to her interviews now that she's free to answer any question without fear of revealing too much of the plot of the saga. I love that! I would actually love to hear more about her personal religious philosophy and how it relates to the themes she tried to incorporate in HP.


Mrs. Sirius - Nov 17, 2007 8:50 pm (#9 of 74)

Yes and I love that while it is influenced by her religion, it isn't flat out religious allegory. It is still her story just influenced her religious up bringing.

Creativity, imagination, taking influences from what we know and using it to form new ideas without beating anyone up with your dogma. Yeaaa Jo.

Thank you Caius


HungarianHorntail11 - Nov 18, 2007 12:51 pm (#10 of 74)

First of all, thank you, Caius, for taking the time to translate this excellent interview. And thank you to Kip, too, for all of your input.

I really like how they delved into some of her beliefs and thoughts behind what happened in the story and to its characters. It was an interesting read and I am surprised to have a lot of similar feelings about the characters, such as DD. It shows how well she really did convey her ideas.

For example; A while back, just after OotP came out, I was disturbed by the statements DD made about the many 'nameless faces, etc., that died' etc. When I went on the DD thread to discuss it, I was pummeled by the DD supporters. I didn't mean it to be offensive but the man made many decisions based on a very evident plan. I always did like DD but he is a man with great skeletons in his closet. Based upon JKR's statements, it seems as though I wasn't very far off the mark.

I really liked seeing this input from her. It gives all the more meaning to what has been read.

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JKR Volkskrant Interview

Post  John Bumbledore on Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:02 pm


journeymom - Nov 5, 2007 6:17 pm (#11 of 74)

Wow, she went to church on her own when she was a teen.

Nice translation, Caius! I can hear JKR's 'voice' in it.


Chemyst - Nov 18, 2007 4:12 pm (#12 of 74)

Thank you so much, Caius. Wilma de Rek is a very good interviewer; she pulled more depth from JKR than most interviewers do, (especially the television ones, I think.). By the way, how does Volkskrant translate into English? I look at it and I see "folk's rant" Surely the title of a serious newspaper would mean something else!


mona amon - Nov 18, 2007 6:16 pm (#13 of 74)

Thank you Caius Iulius for posting this very interesting interview!

Hee hee! That was funny, about the kilt. I didn't know! Archie would have loved them!


freshwater - Nov 18, 2007 9:05 pm (#14 of 74)
Edited by Kip Carter Nov 18, 2007 10:55 pm

Thank you, once again, Caius Iulius, for all the effort and energy and time you put into translating this interview so the rest of us could enjoy it.

I thought some of the questions were stupid or impertinent --like asking if her husband wears anything under his kilt-- but maybe you had to be there and hear the delivery. At least the interviewer let Jo do most of the talking, and she did reveal some interesting beliefs and philosophies as the foundation for the world/characters she's created.

I particularly liked that Jo emphasized that those of us fortunate enough to live in relative security, etc, were free to make choices that affect our lives....the corollary being that some people do not have as many options or choices as do others, and so should not be judged on the same basis. And she also made it clear that, despite his unfortunate start in the world, Tom Riddle was someone who was empowered to make a great many choices in his life, and must be accountable for those choices and their consequences.

I deleted my previous comments concerning this thread, which were added before I started my edits and moves. Now that my edits and moves are complete, everyone is invited to post their messages. - Kip


wynnleaf - Nov 19, 2007 6:20 am (#15 of 74)

Caius Iulius, thanks so much for translating this for everyone to read. There are plenty of fascinating comments that JKR made. Chemyst was correct about the interviewer drawing far more out of her than in most interviews.


journeymom - Nov 19, 2007 8:34 am (#16 of 74)

JKR: Yes, he is messiah-like. I chose him to be. He is one man in a million - I say "man", because for woman it's different - who is capable to stand up against power and is capable of rejecting power himself. This makes him the wisest of all.

I wonder what she means, it is different for women? What is different? How?

Her religious journey mirrors my own. Even her husband's experience is similar to my husband's. So I find another way to identify with her.

The Christian fundamentalists are mainly to be found in the US. Once, I stood in a toy store with my children and I was recognized by an excited girl. Than a man came to me and asks: "You're the Potter woman, are you not?" He brought his face close to mine and said very aggressively: "I pray for you every night". I should have answered him to pray for himself, but I was too flabbergasted. It was frightening.

As an American I think this is just a little embarrassing and sad.

He was [conceived] by force in some dazed caprice, while Harry was [conceived] in a state of love. I believe that the circumstances you're born in form an important fundament of your being.

I'm still contemplating this. I think taken out of context this idea is full of problems. But obviously, within context, she's still saying (over and over) that it's the choices we make that count most.


Caius Iulius - Nov 19, 2007 10:23 am (#17 of 74)

You are all welcome!

Chemyst,

Volk means a people "Krant" means newspaper The combination means "The people's newspaper".

It is pronounced like folk but not like rant. The "a" is pronounced like "it wAs A ghost". Hope this helps?".

Freshwater, I think both ladies got on very well, thus the daring questions.


Elanor - Nov 19, 2007 11:19 am (#18 of 74)

Thanks indeed Caius Iulius, it was very interesting.

JKR: "I see more of my sister, although she is still angry with me for letting Dobby die. She always told me she would never forgive me for killing Dobby or Hagrid."

Way to go Jo's sister!

I'm still mourning Dobby, aren't we all?


zelmia - Nov 19, 2007 11:55 am (#19 of 74)

It never occurred to me that her dad was still alive. She never talks about him and wishes she could have had someone like Arthur Weasley for a dad instead. Wonder what that's about.

I too wondered what she meant by "it's different for women" with regard to messianic figures. Sounded to me like she didn't think women could be messianic - or perhaps she meant that women are never taken seriously in that regard? In any event, I thought that warranted a follow-up question to clarify but one never came.

As for "under the kilt", that may seem an impertinent question but it's sort of a standard joke, really, that a "true" Scot never wears anything under his kilt. I think the Volkskrant interviewer was just trying to be "folksy" there.


journeymom - Nov 19, 2007 12:08 pm (#20 of 74)

J.K.Rowling needs to visit utilikilts dot com. If I thought Mr Journeymom would actually wear it, I'd get him one. $175 is a bit much to experiment with, though.

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JKR Volkskrant Interview

Post  John Bumbledore on Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:03 pm


HungarianHorntail11 - Nov 19, 2007 12:18 pm (#21 of 74)

He is one man in a million - I say "man", because for woman it's different - who is capable to stand up against power and is capable of rejecting power himself. This makes him the wisest of all.
I don't believe women innately feel the need for power the way men do. Hence, the statement, "alpha male". I'm sure there are exceptions but I believe she was referring to men in general.


wynnleaf - Nov 19, 2007 6:11 pm (#22 of 74)

He is one man in a million - I say "man", because for woman it's different - who is capable to stand up against power and is capable of rejecting power himself. This makes him the wisest of all.

I don't believe women innately feel the need for power the way men do. Hence, the statement, "alpha male". I'm sure there are exceptions but I believe she was referring to men in general. (HH11)

I realize it could just be a translation oddity, but it reads to me the same way as I think you took it, HH.

It seemed to me in DH, and now, I think, confirmed in this interview, that JKR thinks that most all men are highly tempted by power. But in fact I think this is not correct at all. Even the idea of "alpha male" comes in part because it is the "alpha" type that tends to take control of the pack, but not that all of the "pack" constantly try to take power.

Further, there are many types of power and different people, if lured by power, are lured by different aspects of it. Dumbledore seems to assume that anyone would be lured by the temptation of the Hallows, but that doesn't seem to be the case as far as I can tell. And in reality, everyone, even all males, are not lured by the same types of power.

As regards women not being lured by power, once again, I think that's not really correct. Women often do seek power, it just may be different sorts of power.


Caius Iulius - Nov 20, 2007 2:57 pm (#23 of 74)

Wynnleaf,

I am quite sure about the translation of that sentence:

Hij (He) is (is) die (that) ene (one) man (man) in (in) een (a) miljoen (million) - ik (I) zeg (say) bewust (consciously) "man" (man) omdat (because) het (it) bij (with/by) vrouwen (woman) anders (different) ligt (lies -> = expression).

I think she means there are a lot of female heroes/role models, very few male heroes/role models.


PeskyPixie - Nov 20, 2007 3:12 pm (#24 of 74)

I think she [JKR] means there are a lot of female heroes/role models, very few male heroes/role models.

I'm sure Geena Davis would love to discuss this with her.


Chemyst - Nov 20, 2007 5:08 pm (#25 of 74)

He is one man in a million - I say "man", because for woman it's different - who is capable to stand up against power and is capable of rejecting power himself.

I find it interesting how unlike the different interpretations are! For me, I thought she meant women are always putting themselves second; after their husband or behind their children, sacrificing a portion of her dreams to help them realize theirs. (I'm thinking specifically of two women I know– one finished college and the other returned to grad school– only after seeing that their kids did. In the first case, mom & daughter were both in the same math college class.)

Traditionally, women are 'the power behind the throne;' and 'the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.' The wizarding world seems traditional in that respect.

BTW journeymom, re: your post #16, I would not use either embarrassed or sad; I'd use 'regret but still grateful.' If you or others want to know why, feel free to email me- I'd post but it is long and off topic.


zelmia - Nov 21, 2007 10:40 am (#26 of 74)

I think she means there are a lot of female heroes/role models, very few male heroes/role models. - Really? Well, I would certainly like to know more about this great profusion of female heros/role models that my education seems to have failed to mention.

If this is what she means, she needs to explain. In fact the "hero epic" is almost always a boy's story - a boy who grow to manhood while simultaneously saving the world. Sound familiar?
My take was the same as Chemyst's: that, with rare exceptions, women simply aren't allowed (by choice or by custom) to be the hero.

Or perhaps "one man in a million" who chooses to put himself on the line for sake of others - which women pretty much do all the time. In that case, I would agree that it is different for women because - and obviously this is a generalization - they would only be doing what comes naturally.


Caius Iulius - Nov 21, 2007 11:14 am (#27 of 74)

Zelmia,

Perhaps JKR wishes us to have something spicy to discuss after Deathly Hallows


freshwater - Nov 22, 2007 3:20 pm (#28 of 74)

I agree with many of the previous posts regarding the "one man in a million" comment and "because for woman it's different" that JKR was likely referring to the tendency for men to pursue power more consistently or more conspicuously than do women. Of course, JKR has given us a great example of a woman tempted by power: Bellatrix...I really don't think it was LV's appearance to which she was attracted! **wry grin**

I am reminded of the old saying, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." That's relevant to the 3 Deathly Hallows and how they affected those who sought them or owned them....except for Harry. He was the "better man", according to DD, the "one man in a million" who could fully understand the hallows and yet give them up for a higher purpose.

As for the rude fundamentalist American's comment to JKR, it's too bad she was too stunned to reply,"And I will pray for you!" Although it is likely best that she didn't get into any kind of exchange with someone so ill mannered....those never turn out well.


PeskyPixie - Nov 22, 2007 3:37 pm (#29 of 74)

Freshwater, "And I will pray for you," is the answer I came up with as well. JKR later thought, "I should have answered him to pray for himself." She is a bit snappy when provoked! (Before the wands start flashing, I am not criticizing her; merely pointing out a difference in approaches).


James Greenfield - Nov 25, 2007 6:13 pm (#30 of 74)

Caius Iulius, thank you for your translation of this most interesting interview.

And the discussion about power is interesting. I have seldom been in a position of much power, so I used to think that there was no proper use of it, that all people in positions of power abused it. Then, I was once in a position of power, and found its true and proper use: to help the helpless and powerless when the need arises. And that is, of course, what Harry does in Jo's novels, he uses power to help his friends, and, finally, the whole wizarding world.

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JKR Volkskrant Interview

Post  John Bumbledore on Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:09 pm


Caius Iulius - Nov 27, 2007 10:30 am (#31 of 74)

James, you're welcome!

Glad to be doing something "for the greater good" .


PatPat - Dec 20, 2007 8:08 am (#32 of 74)

And the discussion about power is interesting. I have seldom been in a position of much power, so I used to think that there was no proper use of it, that all people in positions of power abused it. Then, I was once in a position of power, and found its true and proper use: to help the helpless and powerless when the need arises. James Greenfield

YES, James!! So well said. I wish more people felt this way. I see this in my profession a lot. The good teachers I know (and there are many) go into the profession because they love teaching and want to help and empower young people. But there is also another group (and unfortunately there are many of these also) who use teaching as a way to gain a little power over the powerless. Which is then abused. Power is a tricky thing and must be handled with much care. When used properly, as James says, it is wonderful and beautiful. When abused, as LV does, it is scary.

As far as the woman comment, I tend to agree that JKR meant it is more natural for women to be nurturing and helpful rather than power-seeking. I think this is something of a generalization, but is probably true more because of the traditional female role. I think, as we see this role begin to change, we may see more women being the so-called "alpha" type.


HungarianHorntail11 - Dec 28, 2007 5:45 am (#33 of 74)

Yes, but one role will never change - it is the woman who carries the child and gives birth. So many changes in a body cannot be wholly ignored.


PeskyPixie - Dec 28, 2007 7:24 pm (#34 of 74)

Many women are tender and nurturing towards their own offspring but ruthless/careless with children which are not their own. I'm not quite sure I comprehend how pregnancy and childbirth make an ambitious woman less power-hungry.

I'm sorry if I've misunderstood the entire point. If so, please clarify. Thanks.


Mrs. Sirius - Dec 28, 2007 7:50 pm (#35 of 74)

For some women pregnancy and childbirth are just one more acquisition, one more notch.


Caius Iulius - Jan 4, 2008 3:57 am (#36 of 74)

Apparently, there is even a little more to the interview that wasn't published in the Volkskrant magazine (a magazine that comes along with the Saturday newspaper) but in the newspaper itself. How confusing. I didn't see it, then. Sorry. I will translate and publish it soon.


painting sheila - Jan 7, 2008 10:17 am (#37 of 74)

Caius Iulius - You are a saint for doing this for us! Thank you!!


Caius Iulius - Jan 17, 2008 1:33 pm (#38 of 74)

Sorry all, it takes a little longer, but my real job goes first.

I'll be back soon.


painting sheila - Jan 17, 2008 7:03 pm (#39 of 74)

We will wait .. . . . and wait . . . and wait . . .


Orion - Jan 18, 2008 6:25 am (#40 of 74)

So no pressure at all.

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Re: JKR Volkskrant Interview

Post  John Bumbledore on Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:28 pm


Choices - Jan 18, 2008 2:31 pm (#41 of 74)

Don't hurry on our account....tap, tap, tap. :-)


painting sheila - Jan 22, 2008 9:15 am (#42 of 74)

Choices - I thought you said ,"Don't Harry on our account. . . . "


Choices - Jan 22, 2008 1:33 pm (#43 of 74)

I didn't....but I should have! LOL


Caius Iulius - Feb 1, 2008 3:29 pm (#44 of 74)

Sorry guys, but I was extremely busy (and tired). So sorry to keep you waiting.

But here it is: [url=]this part comes before the text above:[/url]


azi - Feb 1, 2008 3:37 pm (#45 of 74)

Thanks Caius! I've often wondered why JKR went from blonde to red (I always thought she looked better with red hair).

Edit - that should be red to blonde. Oops.

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