Last night, the author of the Harry Potter series and the recently released adult fiction novel, The Casual Vacancy, appeared on stage in front of 2,000 fans at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City, marking her return to the United States after an extended absence. Fans from all over the country gathered together to celebrate the evening and quite a few of the MuggleNet staff were present for the occasion.
Prior to the event, many fans gathered in beautiful Central Park at the Bethesda Fountain in an effort to present Ms. Rowling a unique photo creation that featured fans spelling out “J.K. Rowling in NYC!”, which you can see in one of the images above. During this event, MuggleNet also gave away a few prizes including: 2013 calendars from WB, some beautiful iPhone cases with MuggleNet’s latest partner 10-9 Nano, and some merchandise from the Harry Potter: The Exhibition. Special thanks to MuggleNet fan and friend Josee Leblanc for putting this all together.
So let’s get into the event with Ms. Rowling itself: First introduced was author Ann Patchett (Bel Canto and State of Wonder) who would lead a question and answer with Ms. Rowling. Then, “The Queen” herself, J.K. Rowling, was introduced to a long and loud standing ovation. The event kicked off with Patchett thanking Rowling for not only her literary accomplishments, but also for what her books have done for book stores the world over. Ms. Rowling laughed as she shared that her husband Neil did NOT want her opening her own book store in Scotland.
Some of the noted questions came from Patchett regarding The Casual Vacancy structure and characters, with everyone agreeing that the “Harry”-figure of this story is definitely Krystal Weedon, while the “villains” are Obbo and Simon at two different ends of the spectrum. Rowling also admitted that the character she does not personally like in the book is Gavin, as he is a deplorable character.
A memorable piece came when a question was raised around 50 Shades of Grey, which both Rowling and Patchett admitted to not having read. Patchett stated, “Everyone has told me that the writing is terrible.” However, Rowling did compare the two books when she comically stated, “The difference is that people have sex in my book, but they don’t enjoy it!”
Although many of the questions were directly from Patchett, she did finally get to ask some questions that were submitted by audience members. One of the questions was regarding which fictional place Rowling would like to live. She thought for a moment about Derbyshire with Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and she also stated that she would love to live at Hogwarts, having spent 17 years of her life there already (but that was the obvious answer). In the end she chose the bedroom of the female lead from one of her favorite childhood books.
The conversation then turned to how old children should be to read The Casual Vacancy. She mentioned that the reading she did in England had a nine-year old boy sitting in the front row, and the passage included a lot of swearing. Rowling stated that most 14-15 year olds could probably handle the book but not any younger than that. This statement made my 15-year old daughter very happy as she was in attendance with me and is now anxious to read the adult novel.
Following the program, fans were ushered out row-by-row to receive a new copy of The Casual Vacancy and have the author sign it. This process took quite a long time, but was very well organized. The David H. Koch Theater needs to be applauded as they went above and beyond with the entire affair that followed the ticket disaster from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Theater, where the event was originally scheduled to occur.
On behalf of MuggleNet, THANK YOU J.K. Rowling for a truly magical night!
If you were at the event last night, let us know how your experience went in the comments below.