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Friday, July 20, 2007


Friends, I am back in NYC. As my plane was landing (literally, at the same time), the water pipe exploded in midtown. This was my welcome home.

Don’t worry! We New Yorkers are a hearty people, and this is about what we expect from our infrastructure. Our standards of what should happen in a day are either much, much higher or much, much lower (it’s hard to tell which way this goes) than pretty much anywhere else in the US. And while we will notice a massive explosion of steam and asbestos, one that cracks a massive crater into the middle of the street and swallows cars . . . it doesn’t necessarily faze us as much as you might think. I’m sure I told you about the time that my bathroom wall exploded into flame as I went out the door, or the time the manhole cover exploded and flames shot out of it, high as a car roof. I like this kind of atmosphere. It makes me feel much more alert.

Before I left the London Office, though, I had another encounter. I wasn’t sure whether or not to tell you about this, so I gave myself the plane ride to think about it. I took the explosion as a sign that I should. Also, with the proliferation of “spoilers” and “important book reviews” coming out, I felt the need to set the record straight.

Some people didn’t believe what happened when I first met J.K. Rowling. As one commenter just wrote:

this is all a load of ****, you didnt see jk rowling, and her editor and pagers was bullshit, people stole copies of the book and told all, like she said, shes a fellow author so shed have no problem making all this up

I could barely believe it myself. Read on, doubtful commenter, and be amazed.

Two nights before I left, I heard a rapping at the kitchen window. At first, I thought it was the mad old lady who walks around outside of the new office. (Did I tell you about her? That’s been very fun. She walks around and around, starting at about 4 in the morning, screaming at the top of her lungs. The other day my alarm clock was literally her voice screaming, “I HATE CHILDREN! EVERYONE HATES CHILDREN!” It’s very soothing. She sometimes appeared at the windows or the door. The flat has a lot of windows, which are quite low, so I could literally turn around to find her looking at me from about two feet away, and that is exactly as reassuring as it sounds.)

But it wasn’t her. Nor was it the cat from the garden, who became my very best friend and ran for me at all times, haunting the windowsills and peering at me while I was working. There was a lot of window activity is what I’m trying to say, so I just assumed it was either our child-loving visitor or our furry-faced one.

But it was neither. It was J.K. Rowling. She was knocking and fervently gesturing for me to open the window. At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to. Our last encounter had been rather awkward. But I decided that I really had to let her in. I opened the window, and she climbed inside, knocking over all the bottles we had carefully arranged there for the recycling bin.

“What are you doing?” she hissed. “What are those there for?”

“What am I doing?” I shot back. “Don’t you think I should be asking that question?”

She ignored this and looked around the room.

“Do you have any cereal?” she asked. “I’m famished.”

She didn’t wait for my reply. She saw the cereal boxes lined up on the counter and shot right to them. She grabbed a box of Special K with yogurt-covered berries, tore it open, and clawed around inside.

“I need to talk to you,” she said, shoveling a handful of cereal into her mouth. “I read what you wrote. My plan worked perfectly.”

“Plan?” I repeated.

“To mislead everyone,” she said. “Everything I told you the other day was a lie. Now I want the world to know the truth.”

“Why should I believe you now?” I said. “Plus, it’s been leaked.”

“Yes. And that’s why I want to set the story straight. If someone if going to leak this, I want it to be me. Now . . .”

She brushed some Special K crumbs from her lips with the back of her hand and pushed past me to get to the fridge.

“Get a pen and paper. And make some coffee. This is going to take a while.”

The following are the chosen bits of information that J.K. chose to share with me on this, our second meeting. Believe them as you will.


“When we last met,” I said, as J.K. gulped down some milk straight from the carton, “you told me that Ginny was a robot, Hermoine was Harry’s sister, Ron was a figment of Harry’s imagination, and Harry wasn’t in the book at all because he had gone to Spain. You also told me that book seven was all about Kevin Whitby.”

“Who’s Kevin Whitby?”

“The last person to be sorted in book four.”

“No,” she said. “It’s not about him. At first, I was going to make it all about Tonks, just so I could call it Tonks for the Memories.”

I gave her a murderous look.

“The secret of book seven . . .” she said, lowering her voice, “the thing that makes it different, more exciting than any book ever written, the thing that will make literary history . . .”

“Yes?” I said, reluctantly drawn in by her tone.

“Is that it’s a . . .”

“A . . .”

“It’s a . . .”

“A what?” I snapped. “An emergency floatation device? A tasty sandwich filling? A cure for the common cold? What?”

“It’s a musical.”

Without another word, I reached into the fridge for the gin and took a long gulp right from the bottle.

“It’s not even called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” she went on. “It’s just called Harry! This was the idea I had on that train ride, all those years ago. All six books have been leading up to a musical finish. Lots of books have been musicals. Mame. Mary Poppins. Cats. Phantom of the Opera. Mamma Mia.”

“Mamma Mia was not a book,” I said. “It was a song by Abba. But that is beside the point. Those were books that were turned into musicals. What you are telling me is that you have written a book that is somehow an actual musical, is that right?”

“That’s right,” she said, slamming down the milk carton. “Do you have any more cereal?”

“No. How can this be possible?”

“I guess you ate it all. Selfish.”

“I mean about the book musical thing,” I said sternly. “What? Does it sing? Does it dance?”

“You just read it,” she said. “And you experience it like a musical.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means that I am J.K. Rowling,” she said. “I am capable of anything! I am MAGIC!”


I decided to let that go for a moment and get to something that all Potter fans can get their heads around.

“One of the things everyone really wants to know—musically or not—is whether or not Snape is evil,” I said. “So what’s the deal with that?”

“Snape,” she said, getting up to go through the cupboards, “is my greatest creation. I love Alan Rickman. Don’t you love Alan Rickman?”

“He’s a very good actor,” I said.

“Sometimes,” she said dreamily, “I have my pilot fly my plane over his house, very low. You should see him run as we come swooping down over his lawn. It is very, very beautiful to watch. I do that with all the actors, actually, but he is my favorite.”

“But what about the question?” I asked. “Good or bad? I mean, he did kill Dumbledore.”

“Who? Alan Rickman?”

“No. Snape.”

“I don’t think Alan Rickman has ever killed anyone,” she said, munching some uncooked spaghetti right out of the box. “But if he did, I would forgive him.”

“Okay,” I said in desperation, “when Alan Rickman is playing Snape, is he playing a good Snape or a bad Snape?”

“You want to know if Snape was actually killing Dumbledore according to a pre-arranged plan . . . maybe even one set by Dumbledore himself. And that’s why Snape simply blocks Harry’s curses at the end of the Half-Blood Prince instead of just killing him, when he clearly could kill him.”

“Yes!” I said. “Yes! That’s exactly what I want to know.”

“Alan Rickman asked me the same question,” she said. “When I had him locked in my basement.”

I stiffened, but she went on crunching the spaghetti and smiling in a very creepy manner.

“The answer is obvious, of course,” she said. “All the evidence is there. Actually if you just read the chapter at Spinner’s End carefully, the one with the Unbreakable Vow . . .”

“I think I follow you,” I said. “Snape takes the Unbreakable Vow in order not to give his position away in front of Bellatrix, but Dumbledore’s death is pre-arranged, maybe part of some prophesy. I mean, Dumbledore knows all about it . . . though he does seem surprised that Snape does it. But maybe that’s all part of helping Snape keep his cover and . . .”

“God, you do go on,” she said. “The thing you need to know is that in book seven, Snape is laid bare.”

“We get to learn his mysterious past?”

“No. He’s naked. I stripped him of his clothes. They’re making a movie of book seven, you know. With the same actors!”

“But what about Snape’s goodness or evilness?”

“Who cares?” she said. “I certainly don’t. I care about his nakedness. Alan works out. A lot.”

I decided to leave the matter alone, largely because I was frightened.

Alan Rickman would like to come out of the basement now.


“Okay,” I said, “since we know that Harry is actually in the book . . . I have to ask you the big question again.”

She rolled her eyes.

“Yes, yes,” she said. “Harry. Does he live? That’s what you want to know.”

“Me and the rest of the world.”

“Fine. I’ll tell you. But we have to discuss this from a musical perspective. You see, whenever I am confused in life, I ask myself, “What would Andrew Lloyd Webber do?” Although, on some days I ask myself, “What would Britney Spears do?” You’d be amazed how many times I get the same answer. Are you sure you don’t have any more cereal? Those breadsticks were awful.”

“Does he live or die?” I finally screamed. “This is not a hard question! Not for you!”

She reeled and stepped back a bit.

“Oh,” she said. “It’s Ron and Hermione. They die. Snape is evil. The final horcrux is Harry’s scar. Hogwarts is destroyed.”

It was my turn to stagger. These sounded like actual, possible spoilers.

“Hogwarts?” I mumbled. “Destroyed? Ron dies? This is horrible.”

“I know,” she said sympathetically. “Ron really dies a very slow and horrible death, too. It goes on for five chapters. Oh, and then Harry dies at the very, very end. Hagrid too. And Hedwig. Basically, all characters whose names start with H, or who you like, die. Neville dies. Luna dies. Ginny seems like she’s going to live, but then she dies. ”


“What can you do?” she said with a shrug.

“You can do something! You wrote it! You can make it all better! This is a nightmare!”

“You wanted to know,” she said. “Also, Diagon Alley? That burns down. And the Hogwarts Express? It gets eaten by a dragon.”

“Does anyone survive?” I asked, horrified.

“Sure. Kevin Whitby does.”

“Kevin Whitby again,” I said. “A minute ago you didn’t even remember him.”

“I was testing you,” she said. “To see if you remembered who he was. You passed with flying colors.”

“So, you’re saying that absolutely everyone dies, except Kevin Whitby, and maybe Snape, who’s naked. It’s just rubble, bodies, Snape’s naked butt, and Whitby. What about Voldemort?”

“Have you ever seen Kevin Whitby and Voldemort in the same place?”


“Just kidding,” she said.

I opened the window and gestured towards it.

“I think you should leave,” I said.

She shuffled over very reluctantly.

“I like you,” she said, as she climbed back out.

When she was gone, I cleaned up the kitchen and sat down to think it all over. I could hear Rowling scratching at the window, wanting to tell me more spoilers, but I did not let her in. I thought of poor Alan Rickman, running for his life, possible naked, as she barreled down on him in her plane. Power had driven her mad.

But she is kind of right about Alan Rickman.

Labels: ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Maureen--glad you are home safe. Now can you call John Green? His last lonely post missing you guys was HEARTBREAKING!!! Drag that boy back to NY!

8:29 AM  
Blogger Laursie said...

I always knew the series would end in a musical. It just seemed...right. Personally, you should have asked her if Voldemort actually wins. He probably does. Then starts a candy store where all of the little kiddies call him Uncle Voldykins.

On top of that, this post made me laugh harder than the last one. Someone should make these into videos.

8:46 AM  
Blogger Little Willow said...

If it's a musical AND the dead or alive point is important, the closing number MUST be You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) by Dead or Alive! Can't you see Harry with the 80s hair? Right 'round, 'round, 'round.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well i thought i was funny, but i also think that the other one was funnier. still hilarious

2:36 PM  
Anonymous kiersten said...

Luna dies? and Neville? AND RON????????????????? *sobs for favourite chacters and possibly for Tonks who was not mentioned* you have yet again proved that you are made of awsome. not that we didnt know that already of course

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go to http://shoebox_project.livejournal.com and click on the newest update. It's the most hilarious ending you'll ever read. Go on. Do it.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Caroline said...

Awesome. I don't even need to read the book now.

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

I agree with the first comment, John definitely needs a pick-me-up phone call from the fab MJ. :) I still don't know if we should trust that J.K. She seems like a really shady character.

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Danica said...


Maureen, je t'adore.

J.K. aussi.

Just a few more hours (by a few, I mean 13 where I live) and I can get the book and experience the musicalness that is HP7.

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Alisa said...

wow, that was awesome, mj! thanx for squealing! :D

10:14 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

How could JK have forgotten the BEST book-to-musical ever, Les Miserables? It even ends with all (most of) the characters you like dying, just like "Harry!"

10:23 PM  
Anonymous tess said...

Very sad to tell you this mj, but I don't think jk can rewrite it so they live. I mean it's only coming out TONIGHT! I am going to make an I heart ron sign, affix it to my shirt, and wear it to the midnight opening. Yay.

2:16 AM  
Anonymous tess said...

And if what you say is true (because who could EVER doubt you? *runs and hides*) I do believe that jk rowling has issues.

And probably she has a lynch mob too, so if she finds out that any of the people here said she was strange, she will set it on us. Who cares if she only knows us from a blog? Shecan do anything! She is MAGIC!

(said in a sarcastic tone of voice, of course)

2:21 AM  
Blogger James said...

That is honestly the most HILARIOUS thing I've read, even funnier than the previous entry. I was laughing so hard that my mom came by my room and asked why I was laughing so hard. lol.

And I agree with an earlier poster. These SOOO need to be made into movies. :)

2:39 AM  
Anonymous sarai said...

I'm just dying to know what happens to Percy! I have a theory, it could be bunnies..

Er, that is, I mean... I have this wild idea that bunnies aren't just cute like everybody supposes!

Percy goes over to the dark side! Because he's always been into power. And he's got those floppy ears and twitchy little noses!

Sorry, lost my train of thought for a moment. It's all MJ's fault for bringing up musicals. and what's with those carrots!

But anyway, along with all the big betting pools amongst my friends, (You know, like who buys it in the end, and if Snape is Ebil) we have one about which side Percy ends up on. I'm betting Deatheater, all the way.

Aside from an evil Percy, there's nothing the Order can't face....

except for bunnies.....

6:12 AM  
Anonymous Liz said...

Loving the spoilers.
I think I am the only human being who knows of Harry Potter and is using their internet connection instead of reading. (I let my brother read it first. I have no clue why I was so nice.)
Sarai: Yes! Another person who thinks Percy is up to something! I've always thought he was a little shady.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous sarai said...

Thank you Liz!

I've been saying this ever since Christmas in tOtP. Percy just isn't right! I'm the only one who was for Ebil Percy, so I hope I win.

And I'm on the internets instead of reading because my roomie isn't home from work yet with MY car... She gets home in 40 minutes or so, and then I'm heading to Borders... You're very kind to share with your brother first! My sister got her own copy because we've been passing tOtP around between us. It's gets harder when you're in a different house.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I'm not reading Harry Potter (yet)! Instead I sat in front of my computer and played video games all day. You know, I was totally convinced that Voldy was going to kill all of them and then trip and fall into an active volcano. That's what I read on a spoiler site, anyway.

I just read the latest newsletter and for a split second, I was very, very, very excited because the challenge sounds so fun, but then I remembered that my brother took the camera with him to some educational program and he won't be back for two more weeks. *Sigh*

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Well, my friends and I were all planning on making an HP musical. Guess we don't have to now.

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mmmh Alan Rickman.

11:45 PM  
Anonymous sarai said...

I just finished it... OMG... Direct quote from roomate: You're CRYING?!?!? I haven't seen you cry since, since... Since you broke your leg!" I gave her my best snarky look and said "tears of pain don't count!" as I opened a new tissue box.

12:05 AM  
Anonymous Ally said...

Haha I saw yalls movie in Union Square. That was a very, very long line!!

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would LOVE a Harry Potter musical... haha

I really hope you get Free Monkey soon!

Best wishes, and have fun!

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you read the book? Some of those things were really spoilers!
But it's okay, I don't blame you for posting accidental spoilers. For example, (Just to keep it between you and I):
Kevin Whitby killed Dumbledore. It's true!


8:57 PM  
Blogger Ritchard said...

Oh dear, this made me giggle my little heart out!

12:05 PM  
Blogger Brianna said...

"Alan Rickman would like to come out of the basement now."

Hilarious. you are great mj.

3:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is so funny! i was laughing for like 10 minutes at this!

12:28 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

rofl!!! This was hilarious! I haven't gotten to read the book yet, but by what you said it sounds like is going to be great!!! lolz(sarcastic)

you know, i actually never liked Kevin... him or percy! And I hate Hermione! She should just die!

JK is crazy! I always knew that all writers were crazy!

4:39 PM  
Blogger Meftihe said...

Oh my god I laughed so hard at this that I'm crying... my favourite bit is when, after all the lies and madness, j.k says "i like you". Talk about wish fulfillment? Just hilarious.

4:02 PM  
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