Harry Potter author JK Rowling recently confirmed the internet rumors that she was writing a series spinoff. "Harry Potter and the Slacker Sibs," the first in a new series about the wizard's midlife crisis and confrontations with the increasingly radicalized fundamentalist Dumbledorian religion.
I was able to catch a few minutes with the bombshell, blockbuster authoress as she was passing through Heathrow recently on the way to another party on her private jet as it conveyed her to a weekend getaway of summer partying on the French and Greek coasts. She was eager to discuss the new spin-off series, especially after the disappointing early sales of "Tales of the Beetle Bard."
The storyline will begin with Harry in his late thirties according to Rowling. Just as he has been appointed to Dumbledore's old post at Hogwarts, he discovers Ginny has moved back in with her parents, his son Albus has been suspended for selling intoxicating potients to his peers and Lily has joined the radical Dumbledorian religion.
Since I knew it would be first on reader's minds, I asked about the heated rumors on the internet of a possible extra-marital affair between Harry and Hermione.
"Since Potter's an adult now, as are most of my readers, I will be able to take this new series in some adult directions." When pressed about the possibility of explicit sex scenes, Rowling demurred, adding only that "the rumors about a possible Harry and Hermione affair is accurate, but much more innocent than speculations presume."
When I pressed (and ordered a fourth round of Brandy Alexandars) Rowling opened up and confirmed that the desire to see the virginal Hermione (and her on-screen actress) deflowered is "very strong, especially with teen-aged boys and older men who assume they would be up to the task themselves." And the author insists that the presence of Hermione's children, Rose and Hugo, didn't seem to satisfy that curiosity. "Men always want details," she sighed, "even if they aren't forthcoming themselves."
"It will occur in backstory, before the final battle with Voldermort," Rowling admitted, speaking confidentially. "One of those 'what if' moments so many of us have had that we never pursued aftweward. And readers will certainly realize what a stand-up guy Ron is to carry on as though Rose were his own child."
The heart of the series will be Harry's attempts to come to come to grips with his highly unmotivated children, Lily and Albus. Harry's memoirs have made him extremely wealthy even if he has to split it in a divorce settlement and his children behave as though they are entitled to anything they want.
I asked if she added the Dumbledorian religion as subconscious retaliation to the fundamentalist Christians who think her books are bad influences on kids. Rowling poo-pooed the idea. "Those people don't read. How would they know. The books haven't affected my kids."
She paused to take a phone call from her daughter Jessica, "Put the Crowley books back in my library. They're just for research. And, no, you may not take my Xanax to your friend's party," she said, but smiled as she closed her cell phone.
"You know how children are," Rowling confided. "Tell them they can't upgrade the Jaguar for another year and they trash the Rolls. And you walk into their bedroom without knocking and you're likely to find them dropping X with the Osborne kids. And you can't threaten to cancel their platinum credit cards because their attorneys will try to up their share of the trust. All of those daily foibles become material for the new series."
I also asked about the fate of other familiar characters such as Ron Weasley, and Neville Longbottom. Rowling waved me off. "Who cares about them? Haven't you noticed that most of the kids you knew in school became boring adults? I'm going to check Ginny into rehab and keep Hermione around for sexual tension, but other than that, it's a new cast and new characters."
This led us into the question of the much-speculated new character Lolita Lovegood, the seventh-year student who tempts Harry to violate his moral code as Hogwarts "Protection from the Dark Arts" teacher.
Rowling showed her irritation with the display of a single finger. "I'm tired off people wandering around my ideas like they were in a panty drawer. Those f__s deserve to be shot." I nodded sympathetically at this justificable outburst and she regained her composure. "The book's about Harry Potter; not Humboldt Potter," she sighed. When asked if that was a denial, Rowling coyly added, "Well I can't give away the whole book now, can I? Let's just say Ginny might find some Goth lipstick in unexpected places."
Rowling didn't deny that finance played a small role in her decision to launch a spin off so soon after declaring the series dead with "Deathly Hallows." "Do you know how much jet fuel has gone up recently? You Americans have it cheap with your four-dollar gallons. It now costs me more to fly to Dover than it used to cost to fly to the Mediterranean. And the price of recreational drugs has gone through the roof."
"Life has changed now that I've been to Harvard," she admitted. "Before, everybody secretly thought I was something of a bimbo who just happened to stumble onto a best selling children's series. Especially after they discovered that stories about my composing Harry Potter in a coffee shop while unemployed were closer to urban legends than factual reporting."
The authoress excused herself and leaned into her purse for a second then straightened up and dusted off the tip of her nose. "Now people know my success is much more than dumb luck."