Part 2

ES: When Sirius was framed for the death of Pettigrew and the Muggles, did he actually laugh or was that something made up to make him look even more insane?

JKR: Did he actually laugh? Yes, I would say he did. Well, he did, because I’ve created him. Sirius, to me, he's kind of on the edge, do you not get that feeling from Sirius? He's a little bit of a loose cannon. I really like him as a character and a lot of people really liked him as a character and are still asking me when he's going to come back. [Laughter.] But Sirius had his flaws – I’ve sort of discussed that before – some quite glaring flaws. I see Sirius as someone who was a case of arrested development. I think you see that from his relationship with Harry in “Phoenix.” He kind of wants a mate from Harry, and what Harry craves is a father. Harry's kind of outgrowing that now. Sirius wasn't equipped to give him that.

[... later in part 3]

MA: Oh, here’s one [from our forums] that I’ve really got to ask you. Has Snape ever been loved by anyone?

JKR: Yes, he has, which in some ways makes him more culpable even than Voldemort, who never has. Okay, one more each!

 Please read both highlighted answers in grey first.  This is going to be a bit more personal because this subject is so important to me. It saddens me a lot that she said that and if I could have but one opportunity to tell her how Snappish people like me

I repeat for those who don't know my other analysis: As humans, I believe we ALL have that mini-Death Eater lurking inside except that some are better at resisting it but as humans, they can't control it all the time; others will say they are not using it but they are deluded in believing so; and others are quite conscious of it, too. How we end up will mainly depend on who we are (genetics, personality, soul) and how we grow up (at home, at school).

Let's take the comparison:

Voldemort was the same from very early on: he would bully people. Yes, he didn't have love. Okay.

Snape was loved but

HOWEVER I also believe in redemption and seeing one's mistakes and be able to do all you can to amend for that. And that is where it seems JKR and I totally diverge: through James and Sirius she believes bullying is not so bad as long as one grows out of it or doesn't become a criminal. But what I see is that bullying will lead another to crimes! Therefore, the victim who becomes the criminal does not seem to

Culpable of what?! Okay, this is my clinging to details, I know, but she may not be referring to Snape killing Dumbledore or turning back to the Dark. She may say that about Snape's attitude in general. Either way, she thinks his behaviour is somehow worst compared to Voldemort because he was loved.

But then compared to Black, is that fair?  Black was the cool guy whom all the girls wanted and he could bully anyone and to hell with rules. WHEN THERE IS NO CHALLENGE, THERE IS NO BEING PROUD OF ONE'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS.  Conquer without glory!

So yes, from that point of view, I sympathise with Voldemort. I always did think his life must have been like that and that he was in dire need of some medication for his paranoia and obsessiveness. I know of some people who took Lithium in my family and ended up being very nice people in the end or at least not so 'evil-like'. It was a physical problem foremost, and then a psychological one.  I do believe this is what JKR intended with Voldemort's background and I never doubted that before because, as I said before, even if it is not obvious in most people, I believe we all have a mini-inner Death Eater inside and we just don't know what will bring it out. Therefore, we're all equals. Inequality settles in when humans hurt each other, of which the worst is from a parent onto his/her child. That is very damaging.

But I also sympathise with Snape because no matter how much love you receive at home, and let me tell you that 'Snape's Worst Memory' and the other small memories Harry witnessed are NOTHING to keep Snape from the Dark Arts. After all, if he knew so much prior to Hogwarts, he must have been well tutored by his mother.  Yes, he received love (from his mother surely; I doubt his father was so caring!). But that is not all it takes when one spends 10months away from said motherly love and being bullied all that time by overgrown idiots!

I know, I was like that: I received all the love I needed from both parents all of my life (well, until my father died, but my mother is still there). But I am still traumatized by school life a lot, no matter how good I was. I was a swot, I've been bullied only psychologically, I've been able to talk things out with my parents and they would defend me, too.  I've had all that: but that doesn't make those who bullied me the better!! Today, I also could be a bad teacher, a sneaky, sly, foreboding teacher out against any type of misbehaviour. Oh I have it in me because I went through so much injustice at school for which my parents could do nothing. There were no private schools where we were, and even then it would not have worked out. So I minded my own business, barely had friends, I focused on my studies to be in the best.  But when there was something, MY PARENTS WERE THERE FOR ME AND TO ADVISE ME. THEY TOLD ME THAT REVENGE WAS NOT THE ANSWER AND SO I ENDURED MY PAIN UNTIL ONE DAY BULLIES UNDERSTOOD THAT I DID NOT MEAN HARM.  But do you think I came up with that alone? NO! My parents encouraged me and I was very patient.  However, had they not acted or defended me, then I do know the situation would have been different. I'd be full of spite and I'm often full of spite against those kids at school whom I recognised as bullies because of their behaviour. I know how to make the difference and I won't put my anger on them, but Took very long, half the year often and I was not in the same group with the same bullies each year. A new school year brought a new bully who would make fun of me and not be nice at all. No violence, they used words!

If Snape had no one to turn to, no one to stop the bullying, and we know teachers ought to!! It's impossible they didn't

It's all about who you are deep down inside. You have two sides, we all have and we have a balance. Sometimes we have physical predispositions that will make us different, but there are ways around this thanks to parents or teachers.  If they know, then they should act. If they don't, they are the ones responsible for the children's behaviour or the consequences. However, such a vision is still futuristic, but I think it's reasonable and logical nonetheless. How come Dumbledore never helped his pupils before it was too late? Indeed, he is (as Rowling's sister mentioned) distant and cold.   We all have our flaws and therefore we're all responsible for other people in a way.  We know how others will act so if we let them be without any advice or help, especially about things others don't know, are we less responsible? Isn't that why Slughorn feels guilty and with reason?! I'm glad he feels so, but I'm waiting for Dumbledore's. I want to know if he did say "sorry" to more people than Harry.  We are all flawed yet how  many acknowledge that? That's what truly scares me.  Not that a president is an alcoholic or whatever he may be doing at home: what truly troubles me is that humans won't acknowledge their flaws.


He was unhinged. Yes, he laughed. He knew what he'd lost. It was a humorless laugh. Pettigrew, who they, in a slightly patronizing way, James and Sirius at least, who they allowed to hang round with them, it turned out that he was a better wizard than they knew. Turned out he was better at hiding secrets than they knew.


ES: What would Dumbledore see?

JKR: I can't answer that.

ES: What would Dumbledore's boggart be?

JKR: I can't answer that either, but for theories you should read six again. There you go.


MA: If Harry was to look in the Mirror of Erised at the end of book six, what would he see?

JKR: He would have to see Voldemort finished, dead gone, wouldn't he? Because he knows now that he will have no peace and no rest until this is accomplished.


ES: What prompted people to start referring to Voldemort as You-Know-Who and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?

JKR: It happens many times in history — well, you’ll know this because you’re that kind of people, but for those who don’t, having a taboo on a name is quite common in certain civilizations. In Africa there are tribes where the name is never used. Your name is  a sacred part of yourself and you are referred to as the son of so-and-so, the brother of so-and-so, and you're given these pseudonyms, because your name is something that can be used magically against you if it’s known. It’s like a part of your soul. That’s a powerful taboo in many cultures and across many folklores. On a more prosaic note, in the 1950s in London there were a pair of gangsters called the Kray Twins. The story goes that people didn’t speak the name Kray. You just didn’t mention it. You didn’t talk about them, because retribution was so brutal and bloody. I think this is an impressive demonstration of strength, that you can convince someone not to use your name. Impressive in the sense that demonstrates how deep the level of fear is that you can inspire. It’s not something to be admired.

ES: I meant, was there a specific event?

JKR: With Voldemort? It was gradual. He was killing and doing some pretty evil things. In the chapter “Lord Voldemort’s Request,” when he comes back to request that teaching post in book six, you get a real sense that he’s already gone quite a long way into the dark arts. By that time a lot of people would be choosing not to use his name. During that time his name was never used except by Dumbledore and people who were above the superstition.


ES: Has the sorting hat ever been wrong?

JKR: No.


MA: Let the record note that she has drummed her fingers on her Coke can in a very Mr. Burns-like way.


JKR: Oh, I love Mr. Burns.


MA: Now that Dumbledore is gone, will we ever know the spell that he was trying to cast on Voldemort in the Ministry?

JKR: Uuuummmm...[makes clucking noise with tongue ]

ES: Let the record show she made a funny sound with her mouth.

[All laugh, Jo maniacally.]

JKR: It’s possible, it's possible that you will know that. You will — [pause] — you will know more about Dumbledore. I have to be sooo careful on this.


MA: What does it do to you to see a character that you love, for people to express sheer hate -

ES: Or vice versa.

JKR: It amuses me. It honestly amuses me. People have been waxing lyrical [in letters] about Draco Malfoy, and I think that's the only time when it stopped amusing me and started almost worrying me. I'm trying to clearly distinguish between Tom Felton, who is a good looking young boy, and Draco, who, whatever he looks like, is not a nice man. It’s a romantic, but unhealthy, and unfortunately all too common delusion of — delusion, there you go — of girls, and you [nods to Melissa] will know this, that they are going to change someone. And that persists through many women's lives, till their death bed, and it is uncomfortable and unhealthy and it actually worried me a little bit, to see young girls swearing undying devotion to this really imperfect character, because there must be an element in there, that "I'd be the one who [changes him]." I mean, I understand the psychology of it, but it is pretty unhealthy. So, a couple of times I have written back, possibly quite sharply, saying [Laughter], "You want to rethink your priorities here."


MA: I wanted to go back to Draco.

JKR: OK, yeah, let's talk about Draco.

MA: He was utterly fascinating in this book.

JKR: Well, I'm glad you think so, because I enjoyed this one. Draco did a lot of growing up in this book as well. I had an interesting discussion, I thought, with my editor Emma, about Draco. She said to me, "So, Malfoy can do Occlumency," which obviously Harry never mastered and has now pretty much given up on doing, or attempting. And she was querying this and wondering whether he should be as good as it, but I think Draco would be very gifted in Occlumency, unlike Harry. Harry’s problem with it was always that his emotions were too near the surface and that he is in some ways too damaged. But he's also very in touch with his feelings about what's happened to him. He's not repressed, he's quite honest about facing them, and he couldn't suppress them, he couldn't suppress these memories. But I thought of Draco as someone who is very capable of compartmentalizing his life and his emotions, and always has done. So he's shut down his pity, enabling him to bully effectively. He's shut down compassion — how else would you become a Death Eater? So he suppresses virtually all of the good side of himself. But then he's playing with the big boys, as the phrase has it, and suddenly, having talked the talk he's asked to walk it for the first time and it is absolutely terrifying. And I think that that is an accurate depiction of how some people fall into that kind of way of life and they realize what they're in for. I felt sorry for Draco. Well, I’ve always known this was coming for Draco, obviously, however nasty he was.

Harry is correct in believing that Draco would not have killed Dumbledore, which I think is clear when he starts to lower his wand, when the matter is taken out of his hands.


ES: Was Dumbledore planning to die?

JKR: [Pause.] Do you think that's going to be the big theory?

MA & ES: Yes. It’ll be a big theory.

JKR: [Pause.] Well, I don't want to shoot that one down. [A little laughter.] I have to give people hope.

MA: It goes back to the question of whether Snape is a double-double-double-triple-

JKR: [Laughs] Double-double-quadruple-to-the-power-of - yeah.

MA: …whether this had been planned, and since Dumbledore had this knowledge of Draco the whole year, had they had a discussion that said, "Should this happen, you have to act as if it is entirely your intention to just walk forward and kill me, because if you don't, Draco will die, the Unbreakable Vow, you'll die," and so on — 

JKR: No, I see that, and yeah, I follow your line there. I can't — I mean, obviously, there are lines of speculation I don't want to shut down. Generally speaking, I shut down those lines of speculation that are plain unprofitable. Even with the shippers. God bless them, but they had a lot of fun with it. It's when people get really off the wall — it's when people devote hours of their time to proving that Snape is a vampire that I feel it's time to step in, because there's really nothing in the canon that supports that.

ES: It's when you look for those things

JKR: Yeah, it's after the 15th rereading when you have spots in front of your eyes that you start seeing clues about Snape being the Lord of Darkness. So, there are things I shut down just because I think, well, don't waste your time, there's better stuff to be debating, and even if it's wrong, it will probably lead you somewhere interesting. That's my rough theory anyway.


ES: What's one question you wished to be asked and what would be the answer to that question?

JKR: Um — [long pause] — such a good question. What do I wish I could be asked? [Pause.] Today, just today, July the 16th, I was really hoping someone would ask me about R.A.B., and you did it. Just today, because I think that is — well, I hoped that people would.

MA: Is there more we should ask about him?

JKR: There are things you will deduce on further readings, I think — well you two definitely will, for sure — that, yeah, I was really hoping that R.A.B. would come out.

MA: Forgive me if I'm remembering incorrectly, but was Regulus the one who was murdered by Voldemort —

JKR: Well Sirius said he wouldn't have been because he wasn't important enough, remember?

MA: But that doesn’t have to be true, if [R.A.B.] is writing Voldemort a personal note.

JKR: That doesn't necessarily show that Voldemort killed him, personally, but Sirius himself suspected that Regulus got in a little too deep. Like Draco. He was attracted to it, but the reality of what it meant was way too much to handle.


JKR: I suppose, so many people are posting, that you would expect them to come up with virtually every possibility.

ES: Oh, yeah, they have come up with everything.

MA: Harry/Basilisk.

[All crack up.]

JKR: Ain't it the truth. I know! I suppose if I did spend all my time on there, pretty much my whole future plot would be on there somewhere.