Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling spoke at Oxford University last weekend, to commemorate Exeter College’s 700th anniversary.
The discussion, titled “Mortality and Morality,” had the author discussing the dynamics of those themes in her books.
According to a blog post by an attendee, “Rowling described how the idea of mortality fascinates her.” In all her books, someone dies because “the knowledge that we are all going to die is difficult,” and determines how we live our lives. She said that the characters of Dumbledore, Snape, and Voldemort all “illustrate the idea of good against evil.” Rowling acknowledged that “although Dumbledore is ‘good’, he does have his flaws, notably [in his] weakness for power.”
The Oxford Student reports that the author stated that “death and morality” will continue to play a major role in “all future works.”
The London Evening Standard as well reported on the event, specifically J.K. Rowling’s remarks on being outed as the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling last summer:
“There’s a line in As Good as it Gets,” she said about the 1997 Jack Nicholson film, “where a woman asks him how he writes such wonderful female characters and he says, and I’m paraphrasing, ‘I think of a man, and I take out the logic’, or the sense. That made me laugh, as misogynistic as it is, because when I write a man I take certain things out and give free rein to aspects of me that would not be acceptable. To be honest, I think I’m quite blokey — at least I’m told I am, and I like writing both.”
“You were never supposed to know that it was my eviscerating pen,” she told guests. In fact, she said, failure was part of the pleasure. “It was fun, from the first rejection letter. You have no idea.”
Interestingly, according to the Oxford Student, Rowling revealed for the first time that Harry Potter’s name was initially Harry Batt. We’re slightly taken aback by this revelation, and it has a wondering how much it would’ve changed things in the books and movies, etc. Battmore News, anyone?
On Pottermore, J.K. Rowling revealed the original 40 characters in the Harry Potter books, as well as their original names (Harry Batt is not included.) You can read the list, and her notes on the subject by visiting Pottermore.com.
Also, on the heels of her admission that she partly regrets her pairing of Ron and Hermione, Rowling made it clear at the event that “Harry did love Ginny,” a remark described by the London Evening Standard as being said “by way of excuse.” Somethings tell us that this will be the last we will be hearing on this issue…
What do you think about the name Harry Batt? What do you think Jo’s true feelings are about Romione? Tell us in the comments below!
Sources: Finding Fabulous (blog); the Oxford Student; London Evening Standard. Some excerpts have been edited and condensed for the sake of this story.