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J.K. Rowling bibliography reveals secrets of the 'Harry Potter' books

March 16, 2015


An exhaustive new J.K. Rowling bibliography being published in the UK reveals secrets behind the workings of her Harry Potter books, the Guardian reports. "J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997-2013" by Philip Errington includes correspondence between Rowling and her editor and details the revisions of the Potter works in progress.

Rowling herself blurbed the book. "As someone who respects comprehensive research, I am in awe of the level of detail and amount of time Philip Errington has dedicated to this slavishly thorough and somewhat mind-boggling bibliography," she writes.

Among the secrets fans will discover:

— Alternative titles considered for "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" were "Harry Potter and the Death Eaters," "Harry Potter and the Fire Goblet" and "Harry Potter and the Three Champions."

— The manuscript of "The Order of the Phoenix" was handed over in a London pub, spy-style: brought in by an agent who left it behind with the editor, never mentioning the enormous sack containing the manuscript.

— Working on "The Chamber of Secrets," which her editor had said was "overlong," Rowling wrote, "I’ve done more to it than you suggested, but I am very happy with it now, which wasn’t the case before. The hard work, the significant rewrites I wanted to do, are over, so if it needs more cuts after this, I’m ready to make them, speedily..."

— In its edits, that book lost a song for the ghost Nearly Headless Nick. The song was later posted online by Rowling.

In addition to being an assiduous bibliographer, Errington is Sotheby’s director for children’s books. "J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997-2013" includes definitive information about published editions of all the Harry Potter books — so readers can know if they have a true first edition.

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McClatchy-Tribune Information Services