TRL: 2000 JKR Interview Footage Posted

It was Joanne Rowling Murray’s 57th birthday yesterday, and, if Troubled Blood is any measure, birthdays are a very serious business to the author. We expect her friends and family sent the requisite cards and presents. The Presence herself was silent on her Twitter platform with respect to those celebrations, in contrast with years pastHarry Potter fandom, which has at the major sites and conventions done everything possible to eradicate all mention and memory of the author, of course, celebrates today as the birthday of The Boy Who Lived.

In keeping with the practice of Cormoran Strike, at least until the last chapter of Strike 5, we neglected to post anything here on the subject. The faculty drew a blank about what to get the woman who already has every material thing she wants and, like the Strike of old, we didn’t remember the date in time to send her a token card. Here’s hoping she’s more forgiving than Robin is in these things; as there is exactly zero evidence that Mrs. Murray knows we exist, it’s more than a stretch to imagine her being put out by our collective neglect of her birthday.

All that being said, I was delighted yesterday to watch some archival footage of Rowling circa 2000 being interviewed on a train — yes, literally ‘Rowling rolling along’ — that our friends at found and posted. I share it with you here, albeit a day late, as a birthday present to our thousands of loyal readers, the Serious Strikers, Potter Pundits, and Scamander Savants in thanks for your sharing your time and thoughts with us. Be sure to watch the video through to the end for Rowling’s comments about being photographed with Jerry Hall; it’s worth the wait.

If The Presence has dropped in her by accident (or one of her children or paid staff has searched the internet for birthday good wishes to share with her?), a message of thanksgiving: “Happy Birthday, Mrs. Murray! Thank you for the years of challenging reading and discussion we have enjoyed within, without, and around your wonderful stories. May God grant you many, many years.”


  1. Seriousreader says

    This footage is fascinating. I’ve been looking at her interviews from that early time.
    I have a question, would love to hear some thoughts – why at this early stage was Harry Potter so famous and successful? Only the first book was out at that point. It’s a great, funny, very readable book with great characters, however the plot doesn’t make that much sense, some big coincidences etc, plot weakness, (how did they know that was the night quirrell would go get the stone and end up there same time as him?). Don’t get me wrong I still love it.
    But it’s not as deep and complex as later books, and there’s not the overarching mystery abs sense that there’s a big secret that grew over the series.
    So why, at the point where only one book was out, was there that level of fame? Crowds coming to see her etc? Was it lots of money poured into marketing?
    Why was there already this mythic sense about her and the genesis of Harry Potter? Maybe her careful answers (firmly 7 books, end written, strict plan, he walked into my head).
    It’s almost magical this instant fame and popularity after book one.

  2. The interview took place in 2000, I assume just before or after the publication of ‘Goblet of Fire,’ the fourth book in the series. Potter Mania was reaching its first of several incomprehensible peaks.

  3. Serious reader says

    Oh my mistake. But there was still a huge amount of publicity & popularity, after just the first book. I think I got confused with another interview recently posted from 1998, so only one book out.
    Id still love thoughts on this.

  4. Hi Serious reader!
    You’re thinking of the 1998 interview which I wrote up here:
    And I completely agree with you – I too was very surprised to find her getting this kind of TV interview as only the 2nd book is published. The interviewer explains that he’s come looking for her because she has been highly commended for the Carnegie – and she’s also won the Smarties award (voted for by children) – which is a sign of the way that the first book really travelled by word of mouth among children, in a way that already seemed highly surprising. I think the other reason is the large amount of money Scholastic decided to buy it for. The bidding war over the American rights ended up with a highly unusual amount being paid for it – and that immediately gave the second book newsworthiness in the UK. I think journalists sniffed out that there was the makings of an unusual story here – and the ‘single mum on benefits’ angle sealed that for them. So it was a combination of those three things – the prizes, the advance, the origin story – I think, which made it ‘news’ and began the Potter juggernaut which was to take off is such unprecedented style!

  5. Seriousreader says

    Thank you for that answer – that’s a good explanation.

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