JKR-TLC Podcasts Texts Posted at Accio-Quote

Part One and Part Two. There is plenty of material here to comment on; your thoughts, please!

FYI: I will do a separate post on the flood of new names we learned in the preview of the interview being aired 30 December 07. Let’s focus on the TLC interview contents on this thread.

What do I want to talk about? Who cares?

Well, three things:

(1) the quasi-sentience of wands (given what we know about the most powerful cores),
(2) the “fountain or well” in the center of the Department of Mysteries room devoted to the study of love, and
(3) the discussion of how Harry is and is not a Horcrux (because a Horcrux cannot be made accidentally).

Bring that up in your thoughts and I’ll share what I’m thinking and wondering about. I look forward to it!


  1. Arabella Figg says

    Sorry this took so long to get to; I just finished reading the transcripts yesterday.

    The interviews were very interesting on backstory elements. I’ll say this again–I think it’s best that Rowling controls her world, that no one 50 years from now can misassign intent to her storytelling. And she confirmed my earlier comments about why she’s gushing forth a torrent. I really look forward to The Scottish Book, which should be a fascinating exploration of a writer’s choices, although I’m not sure I want to know what she discarded and why.

    Before getting to your points, I felt her discussion of the Dumbledore is Gay issue was really excellent, one of her best. She says: “…he became infatuated with a man who was almost his dark twin. He was as brilliant, he was morally bankrupt, and Dumbledore lost his moral compass. He wanted to believe that Grindelwald was what he wanted him to be, which is what I think, particularly, a young person’s love tends to do. … And [love] also leads them into acts of foolishness and even evil, which is Bellatrix and also Dumbledore. He became foolish. He lost his center, his moral center, when he became infatuated. …So Dumbledore was wrong. And his judgment was entirely– was very suspect at that time. … I mean, Dumbledore was not cut out, to his shame, to be a carer. He was cut out to go out on to the world stage and be a brilliant man. He knows that about himself, and he’s ashamed of it.”

    Jo reveals and explores that Dumbledore was not a caring person and he struggled with this and the shame of it the rest of his life. It puts into prime importance that this brilliant, analytical man was swayed by the “weakness” of fatherly love for Harry, even while he’s analytically orchestrating Harry’s future traumas. It also shows the diminished importance of the gender of DD’s infatuation.

    I loved her comments on Neville and the actor who plays him.

    I also like her comment about the “evil” Slytherins, because there’s been critcism about them not being part of the Hogwarts battle:
    First, in a discussion of Snape, about sorting too soon: “with these people being sorted into Slytherin, someone with the capacity to change themselves also has the capacity to change Slytherin.”
    “JN: And how much is it that being sorted into Slytherin is sorted into good guys and bad guys…
    JKR: They’re not all bad. I know I’ve said this before. I think I said it to Emerson – they are not all bad and– well, far from it, as we know, at the end– they may have a slightly more highly developed sense of preservation than other people, because– A part of the final battle that made me smile was Slughorn galloping back with Slytherins. But they’ve gone off to get reinforcements first, you know what I’m saying? So yes, they came back, they came back to fight. But I’m sure many people would say, well that’s common sense, isn’t it? Isn’t that smart, to get out, get more people and come back with them?”

    (1) Quasi-sentience of wands. Fascintating and informative. “They’re not exactly animate but they’re close to it. As close to it as you can get in an object because they carry so much magic.” This was an hinted at during Harry’s first visit to Ollivander’s–“the wand chooses the wizard.”

    Interesting that wands are loyal, have affinity for their owners and are not given up easily. That wands will switch allegiance, although not fully, if properly won in a serious adult fight (vs. a school duel, practice or dueling for fun). It makes me think of a lost dog, taken in by loving owners, who becomes a full, loyal member of that family for years. Yet, if his previous loving owner shows up, old love shoots through his heart and he’ll be slobbering joyfully for his old master. The dog is then conflicted between loyalties.

    I’m puzzled, though, by: “Oh, yeah, Ron. The blackthorn wand from the snatcher. So that would be sort of rough and ready, common, or garden, a wand favoring the person who had the skill to take it.” What’s the difference? Isn’t loyalty loyalty?

    “But there are situations in which the emotional state of wizards where a lot hangs on a duel, that’s something different. That’s about real power and that’s about transference that will have far-reaching effects in some cases.” So the wands are sensitive to their owners’ emotions. This could be quite impactual in fights such as at the MoM. Perhaps this is why Harry’s wand could be repaired as Harry showed his loyalty to it, by keeping it close to his heart.

    “However, the Elder Wand knows no loyalty except to strength. So it’s completely unsentimental. It will only go where the power is. So if you win, then you’ve won the wand. So you don’t need to kill with it.” Perhaps this is because this wand was made by unemotional Death (or at least a very powerful wizard).

    In the books the magic is in the person, the wand an instrument. I don’t think this contradicts, because magic power would have to be funneled through something able to carry it, channel it. Wizards couldn’t have simply cut off a tree branch and used it as a wand.

    (2) I like that love is dangerous (so dangerous the Mom door must be locked) and is studied to learn of it’s impact for good or evil. If people took that seriously, our world would be a better place.

    (3) Harry as Horcrux. Really a worthy addtion to canon. I’m glad Jo isn’t going into any explanation of how a Horcrux is made; this shows that her books are for healthy edification not evil education. She confirms Harry as “accidental ‘Horcrux.'” The other Horcruxes were deliberately put into inatimate objects, yet the accidental fragment seeks and attaches a living container, possibly because it was half of the remaining Voldy and not put somewhere by choice. This would also be why Voldy became incorporeal–he had not enough soul left to sustain a body. I love that Harry isn’t contaminated by this remnant of an evil soul in his brain; this is why he was able, with this parasite within, to overcome LV’s inhabitation in OotP. Interesting that this remnant wasn’t recognized and claimed by LV at that point. And now we learn why the Sorting Hat was conflicted. Why could the Hat detect the soul remant when LV couldn’t? Because it was Godrick Gryffindor’s?

    Been wagging long enough!

    Curious Black has just whapped Fullatricks and I see vengeance in her eyes…

  2. Arabella Figg says

    I had a feeling I was missing something about the wands, after rereading your question, John. I went to the Wand cores essay, Dragon’s Blood, Wand-Cores, and 3 of the 5 Keys, 12-31-06.

    You write: “Ms. Rowling says Ollivander prefers feather, hair, and heartstring because he “has decided that those are the three most powerful substances.” This makes all three wand cores pointers to Christ, even independent of the traditional symbolism of unicorn, phoenix, and dragon’s blood/Philosopher’s Stone. What are the most powerful wand stuffers? Those that draw from or focus best the power that is the fabric of all things, seen and unseen. This power is Love. What better way would there be to represent this in story than to use pointers to Love Himself? We have that in Ollivander’s preferences for Phoenix feathers (the Resurrection bird), Unicorn hair (traditional symbol in poetry, tapestry, and story for Christ), and, via its connection with the dragon blood-red tincture of the Philosopher’s Stone’s Elixir, Dragon heartstrings.”

    Perhaps I’m dense as Crabbe and Goyle, but I’m not sure how to connect this with Rowling’s statement about quasi-sentience of wands. This is why I need the good Professor.

    Kittlies are fully sentient and they let you know it…

  3. Arabella Figg says

    And I should add that I’m not sure because wands are also used by evil WizWorld folk to do evil. So if wand sentience is tied to Christ symbology, what would that mean?

    Kitties are always sure of themselves…

  4. There may be some yin yang in some of these wands. Remember tom’s wand was yew wood which is from a tree with pretty dark evil symbolism. Could be that you have a choice to use the wand for good or bad. The will of the wand holder I guess could be the answer.

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