Live from Edinburgh: J.K. Rowling invites classrooms into the world of Harry Potter
By Megan on October 11th, 2012
“Wherever I am, if I’ve got a book with me, I have a place I can go and be happy.” That’s how J.K. Rowling ended today’s enchanting webcast, “Harry Potter, Beyond the Page,” which streamed live from Edinburgh to classrooms around the world and generated an unprecedented level of excitement and nostalgia among students, teachers, and Harry Potter fans everywhere. Thousands of adoring fans of all ages tuned in to today’s hour-long interview, during which time Rowling shared insights into her writing process, how the beloved Harry Potter characters came to be, a sneak peak at the new online Harry Potter destination Pottermore, and much more. (If you missed today’s live webcast, watch the replay here!) You can also catch a round-up of all the online chatter here.
Webcast host Billy DiMichele and students from classrooms around the world asked Rowling a range of questions about the world of Harry Potter and her own thoughts and feelings surrounding the series and its mass appeal. But the question everyone wanted answered most was why the Harry Potter series continued to have such an impact on readers.
“It’s because people have fallen in love with the characters,” Rowling answered. “Putting the magic aside, it’s fundamentally about the characters and above all, Harry, Ron, and Hermione.” Rowling salso spoke about being a writer, and how she always knew—even from a very young age—that she wanted to pursue the craft. “I literally cannot remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer,” she said. And it was the wonderful teachers she had growing up who encouraged her and helped her realize her goal.
Perhaps the most moving segment of the webcast was when Rowling read aloud an excerpt from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which she said she “absolutely loved writing” and began while sitting under a tree in a park. Many fans shared on Twitter that her reading made their day, gave them chills, and even made them cry. To viewers’ continued delight, Rowling shared a sneak preview of Pottermore, the new online Harry Potter destination, where users can follow Harry through the chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, engaging with characters, exploring places like Diagon Alley and Hogwarts, and collecting potion ingredients, spells, and books. Rowling mentioned that users are also sorted into Houses, and get this— Rowling herself registered for Pottermore as a regular user and was placed in (drumroll, please…) GRYFFINDOR. Users who are placed in Hufflepuff need not despair, though, as J.K. Rowling’s daughter said, “I think we should all want to be Hufflepuffs.”
Fans of the series can also keep the magic alive by joining The Harry Potter Reading Club, which features comprehensive discussion guides for all seven Harry books, discussion prompts, and themed activities that will be added each month. At Scholastic, we’ll keep the conversation going on Twitter at #hpreads and on Facebook.
A big thank you to J.K. Rowling and the students and teachers who participated in today’s epic event!
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