Today I got to see and to hear Jo Rowling at Carnegie Hall, in the company of 1600 NYC schoolchildren.
Wow.She is the perfect author. She read the chapter where Harry departs from Privet Drive and the Dursleys. It was terrific to hear her words in her own voice.
Then she answered questions. About ten children, from 9-17, from all over the city, introduced themselves, their grades, ages, and schools, and asked their questions.
To an aspiring writer, her advice was read, write, and “stories are better if they are rooted in your feelings.” She said with heartfelt intensity that she loved writing the Harry Potter books – just loved it.
“The desire for magic is a deep-rooted desire” in humankind, she said, and that “Human nature remains the same whether or not you have a wand.”
In response to some questions about the couples, Jo allowed as how “in my younger days, I dated Ron more than once.” She said Hermoine and Ron were meant to be together from the first. Ginny and Harry are soulmates, with a passionate connection. And, “Girls! Don’t fancy Draco!”
She said she did marry Harry Potter, and that her husband was in the audience (!)
Rowling suggested that Dudley and Harry had a Christmas card sort of keeping in touch, and that Harry’s kids and Dudley’s probably didn’t like each other very much but now and then would all get together while the adults sat in awkward silence. She said that the lightning scar was chosen for its “elemental power … and it’s cool shape”, answered a question about how complicated it is for the wealthy Harry to give money to the poorer Weasleys, and stressed that Dumbledore loved Harry like a son.
Then the adults left and she sat down to sign 1600 books, one for each child. As I left, the first set of children were leaving, too, and one little boy just kept chanting, “I touched her! I touched her!”
Fashion alert: a midnight navy or black (the lights made it hard to tell) silk shantung suit: pencil slim short skirt, open jacket, scoop-neck blouse. Black stockings, high heels. Red nail polish, elegant white gold lariat necklace. Her manner was warm, polished, open, and perfectly delightful. The noise level when the audience cheered was louder than it was when I saw Bruce Springsteen the other week.
I was privileged to be there.
EDITED TO ADD
That evening at Carnegie Hall, in answer to a question, Rowling said that she always thought of Dumbledore as gay. Here is a transcript of that event