J K Rowling on Oprah & other Harry Potter notes (including tie-in to Emily Dickinson)

Ha ha ha. I've been so busy READING the Harry Potter books (and workign 60 hours a week) I haven't had time to listen to the news or watch TV that much. Therefore, I completely missed the fact that Rowling was on Oprah last week. Someday when I have time I will have to explore this part of Oprah's site, with features from the interview, some more: http://www.oprah.com/showinfo/Harry-Potter-Phenom-JK-Rowling

I just finished re-reading "Tales of Beedle the Bard". I am in the middle of "Deathly Hollows" and I thought it would be a good time to stop and read the book Dumbledore had bequethed to Hermione in his will. It's Hermione's translation into contemporary English that was published for the wider audience in 2008, you know. Along with notes from Albus Dumbledore to accompany each tale. (These notes, by the way, are hilarious. I burst out laughing when I read about the existence of the wizarding version of "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus", which is titled "The Hairy Heart: a Guide to Wizards Who Won't Commit".)

The central story to book #7 is "The Tale of the Three Brothers," an apparently true tale (wink wink)about three brothers who meet Death on a bridge they magicked to get across a river instead of dying while crossing the violent waters. Death was angry he was cheated of three lives and pretended to award them gifts for outwitting him, when, in fact his plan was to give them things that would bring them to death soon.

I don't know about anyone else who loves Harry Potter and also lover American poetry, but I immediately think of this poem when I read "The Tale of the Three Brothers", especially considering the end of the tale, when Ignotus Peverell takes off his cloak and "then he greeted death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, and equals,they departed this life."

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labour, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

~Emily Dickinson

I know that Albus Dumbledore read Alexander Pope (see p. 96 of Beedle), so perhaps Rowling reads Emily?

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