(Possible header template) - This page is a transcript of an external website for reference use only, and has been locked from editing. The original text can be viewed at J.K.Rowling Official Site - Extra Stuff.
Here are a few bits and pieces from my notes that you might find interesting; some scenes that were cut, a few extra details about some of the characters and some completely useless information that I thought I'd throw in anyway. There will be more where this came from, I've got a lot of notes.
Dean Thomas's background (Chamber of Secrets)
Anybody who has read both the American and British versions of 'Philosopher's Stone' will notice that Dean Thomas's appearance is not mentioned in the British book, whereas in the American one there is a line describing him (in the chapter 'The Sorting Hat').
This was an editorial cut in the British version; my editor thought that chapter was too long and pruned everything that he thought was surplus to requirements. When it came to the casting on the film version of 'Philosopher's Stone', however, I told the director, Chris, that Dean was a black Londoner. In fact, I think Chris was slightly taken aback by the amount of information I had on this peripheral character. I had a lot of background on Dean, though I had never found the right place to use it. His story was included in an early draft of 'Chamber of Secrets' but then cut by me, because it felt like an unnecessary digression. Now I don't think his history will ever make it into the books.
Dean is from what he always thought was a pure Muggle background. He has been raised by his mother and his stepfather; his father walked out on the family when Dean was very young. He has a very happy home life, with a number of half-brothers and sisters.
Naturally when the letter came from Hogwarts Dean's mother wondered whether his father might have been a wizard, but nobody has ever discovered the truth: that Dean's father, who had never told his wife what he was because he wanted to protect her, got himself killed by Death Eaters when he refused to join them. The projected story had Dean discovering all this during his school career. I suppose in some ways I sacrificed Dean's voyage of discovery for Neville's, which is more important to the central plot.
Mafalda (Goblet of Fire)
I have spoken before now about the Weasley cousin who made it quite a long way into 'Goblet of Fire' before I cut her. I really liked her as a character and did not want to sacrifice her, but she just wasn't doing the job she was supposed to do so she had to go.
Mafalda was the daughter of the 'second cousin who's a stockbroker' mentioned in 'Philosopher's Stone'. This stockbroker had been very rude to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley in the past, but now he and his (Muggle) wife had inconveniently produced a witch, they came back to the Weasleys asking for their help in introducing her to wizarding society before she starts at Hogwarts. The Weasleys agreed to taking her for part of the Summer, including the Quidditch World Cup, but regretted this almost immediately. Mrs. Weasley suspected that Mafalda's parents simply wanted to get rid of her for a while, because she turns out to be the most unpleasant child Mrs. Weasley has ever met.
Mafalda was supposed to convey certain information about the Death Eaters to Harry, Ron and Hermione, because as a nosy, eavesdropping Slytherin who likes to impress, she does not keep her mouth shut when she overhears their sons and daughters talking. Unfortunately, however bright I made her, there were obvious limitations to what an eleven year old closeted at school could discover, whereas Rita Skeeter, whom I subsequently built up to fulfil Mafalda's function, was much more flexible.
The best thing about Mafalda was that she was a match for Hermione. To the latter's horror, Mafalda was highly gifted and a real show-off, so that Hermione was torn between deploring the rule-breaking and longing to join in and beat her.
Malfoy & Nott (Chamber of Secrets/Goblet of Fire)
I liked this scene so much I tried to use it twice; unfortunately, it didn't work in either place so I finally laid it to rest in one of the cardboard boxes where I keep all my old drafts, notes, electricity bills and chewing gum wrappers.
As in the case of Dean Thomas, I know much more about Theodore Nott than has ever appeared in the books. Raised by a very elderly widower and Death Eater father, Theodore is a clever loner who does not feel the need to join gangs, including Malfoy's.
However, in this scene Theodore's father (the same Nott who was badly injured in the closing chapters of 'Order of the Phoenix') goes to visit Lucius Malfoy to discuss Voldemort-related business and we see Draco and Theodore alone in the garden having a talk of their own. I really liked the scene, firstly because it showed the Malfoys' home, and the difference between the place where Draco has grown up and number four, Privet Drive; then because we rarely see Draco talking to anybody he considers a real equal, and he is forced to see Theodore as such, because Theodore is just as pure-blooded as he is, and somewhat cleverer. Together these two Death Eaters' sons discuss Dumbledore's regime at Hogwarts and Harry Potter, with all sorts of stories that the Death Eaters tell about how this baby boy survived the Dark Lord's attack.
Mopsy the dog-lover (Goblet of Fire)
When Padfoot returns in 'Goblet of Fire', I initially had him stay with a highly- eccentric, dog-loving old witch on the edge of Hogsmeade. She kept a pack of ill-assorted dogs, was on constant bad terms with her neighbours because of the barking and the mess, and had welcomed in Sirius, assuming him to be a stray.
I think my editor was quite right to ask me to get rid of Mopsy, because she added nothing to the plot. I just liked portraying a batty dog-lover (as opposed to batty cat-lover Mrs. Figg). However, it made more sense to stow Sirius in a nice simple cave to have Harry, Ron, Hermione and Sirius's chat about Barty Crouch Jnr. without distractions.
Opening Chapters of Philosopher's Stone
There were many different versions of the first chapter of 'Philosopher's Stone' and the one I finally settled on is not the most popular thing I've ever written; lots of people have told me that they found it hard work compared with the rest of the book. The trouble with that chapter was (as so often in a Harry Potter book) I had to give a lot of information yet conceal even more. There were various versions of scenes in which you actually saw Voldemort entering Godric's Hollow and killing the Potters and in early drafts of these, a Muggle betrayed their whereabouts. As the story evolved, however, and Pettigrew became the traitor, this horrible Muggle vanished.
Other drafts included a character by the name of 'Pyrites', whose name means 'fool's gold'. He was a servant of Voldemort's and was meeting Sirius in front of the Potters' house. Pyrites, too, had to be discarded, though I quite liked him as a character; he was a dandy and wore white silk gloves, which I thought I might stain artistically with blood from time to time.
The very, very earliest drafts of the first chapter of 'Philosopher's Stone' have the Potters living on a remote island, Hermione's family living on the mainland, her father spotting something that resembles an explosion out at sea and sailing out in a storm to find their bodies in the ruins of their house. I can't remember now why I thought this was a good idea, but I clearly recognised that it wasn't fairly early on, because the Potters were re-located to Godric's Hollow for all subsequent drafts.
The Opening Chapter of Book Six
I have come close to using a chapter very like this in 'Philosopher's Stone' (it was one of the discarded first chapters), 'Prisoner of Azkaban' and 'Order of the Phoenix' but here, finally, it works, so it's staying. And that's all I'm going to say, but when you read it, just know that it's been about thirteen years in the brewing.
I am not overly fond of cats. Like Hagrid, I am allergic to them and much prefer dogs. However, there was an exception. When I was working in London in the late 1980s I used to eat my lunch in a nearby square on sunny days and a large, fluffy ginger cat that looked as though it had run face-first into a wall used to prowl around the sunbathers there; I assume it lived in a nearby house. I didn't ever get close enough to give myself an asthma attack, but I became distantly fond of this cat, which prowled among the humans around it looking disdainful and refusing to be stroked. When I decided to give Hermione an unusually intelligent cat I gave him the appearance of this haughty animal, with the slightly unfair addition of bandy legs.
Crookshanks, as anybody who has read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will have guessed, is half Kneazle. And if you don't know what a Kneazle is, you need to hurry up and buy Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (all royalties go to help some of the poorest children in the world).
I have only once set out to depict somebody I have met and, unlikely though it might seem, the result was Gilderoy Lockhart. I assure you that the person on whom Gilderoy was modelled was even more objectionable than his fictional counterpart. He used to tell whopping great fibs about his past life, all of them designed to demonstrate what a wonderful, brave and brilliant person he was. Perhaps he didn't really believe he was all that great and wanted to compensate, but I'm afraid I never dug that deep.
You might think it was mean of me to depict him as Gilderoy, but you can rest assured he will never, ever guess. He's probably out there now telling everybody that he inspired the character of Albus Dumbledore. Or that he wrote the books and lets me take the credit out of kindness.
Harry and Dudley: Future Hope?
A couple of people have told me that they hoped to see Dudley at King’s Cross in the Epilogue, accompanying a wizarding child. I must admit that it did occur to me to do that very thing, but a short period of reflection convinced me that any latent wizarding genes would never survive contact with Uncle Vernon’s DNA, so I didn’t do it.
However, I know that after Dudley’s brave attempt at reconciliation at the start of Deathly Hallows, the two cousins would have remained on ‘Christmas Card’ terms for the rest of their lives, and that Harry would have taken his family to visit Dudley’s when they were in the neighbourhood (occasions dreaded by James, Albus and Lily).
In the old days the question I was asked most often was, 'how do you pronounce the girl's name?' As I expect you have noticed, I cunningly inserted the answer to this question in 'Goblet of Fire', when I had Hermione instruct Viktor Krum how to say it properly: Her - my - o - nee. I used to hear 'Her - moyne' a lot, but my favourite mis-pronunciation ever was 'Hermy - one.' I think I like it better than the proper way.
In the dim and distant past Hermione's surname was 'Puckle', but it didn't suit her at all and was quickly changed for something a little bit less frivolous.
Hermione's birthday is September the 19th.
When we were editing 'Philosopher's Stone' my editor wanted me to cut the scene in which Harry, Ron and Hermione fight the troll. Although I had accepted most of the smaller cuts he wanted me to make I argued hard for this one. Hermione, bless her, is so very annoying in the early part of 'Philosopher's Stone' that I really felt it needed something (literally) huge to bring her together with Harry and Ron.
I have often said that Hermione is a bit like me when I was younger. I think I was seen by other people as a right little know-it-all, but I hope that it is clear that underneath Hermione's swottiness there is a lot of insecurity and a great fear of failure (as shown by her Boggart in 'Prisoner of Azkaban').
Nearly Headless Nick
In the first draft of 'Chamber of Secrets', Nick sang a self-penned ballad explaining how his head had (nearly) come off. My editor was not very fond of the song and so I cut it. However, for those who are curious, here is the story of Nick's decapitation in his own moving words.
It was a mistake any wizard could make
Who was tired and caught on the hop
One piffling error, and then, to my terror,
I found myself facing the chop.
Alas for the eve when I met Lady Grieve
A-strolling the park in the dusk!
She was of the belief I could straighten her teeth
Next moment she'd sprouted a tusk.
I cried through the night that I'd soon put her right
But the process of justice was lax;
They'd brought out the block, though they'd mislaid the rock
Where they usually sharpened the axe.
Next morning at dawn, with a face most forlorn,
The priest said to try not to cry,
"You can come just like that, no, you won't need a hat,"
And I knew that my end must be nigh.
The man in the mask who would have the sad task
Of cleaving my head from my neck,
Said "Nick, if you please, will you get to your knees,"
And I turned to a gibbering wreck.
"This may sting a bit" said the cack-handed twit
As he swung the axe up in the air,
But oh the blunt blade! No difference it made,
My head was still definitely there.
The axeman he hacked and he whacked and he thwacked,
"Won't be too long", he assured me,
But quick it was not, and the bone-headed clot
Took forty-five goes 'til he floored me.
And so I was dead, but my faithful old head
It never saw fit to desert me,
It still lingers on, that's the end of my song,
And now, please applaud, or you'll hurt me.
Some Random Facts About The Weasley Family
Ron was the only one of three major characters whose surname never changed; he has been 'Weasley' from start to finish. In Britain and Ireland the weasel has a bad reputation as an unfortunate, even malevolent, animal. However, since childhood I have had a great fondness for the family mustelidae; not so much malignant as maligned, in my opinion.
There are also many superstitions associated with redheaded people and most state that they are in some way unlucky (Judas Escariot was supposedly red-haired), but this is nonsense; I happen to like red hair as well as weasels. Although I never meant him to be like Sean, once I got Ron onto the page he often behaved like my oldest friend, who is both very funny and deeply loyal. However, there are also substantial differences between Ron and Sean. I have only once set out to faithfully depict a real human being (see Gilderoy Lockhart); everywhere else, though I might have borrowed the occasional real person's characteristic, they are at least 90% imaginary. Before her marriage Mrs. Weasley was Molly Prewett. As you will note from chapter one, Philosopher's Stone, she has lost close family members to Voldemort.
Arthur Weasley was one of three brothers. Ginny (full name Ginevra, not Virginia), is the first girl to be born into the Weasley clan for several generations.
Fred and George were born - when else? - on April Fool's Day.