Kit Steinkellner
February 28, 2015 11:03 am

Oh happy day! We just learned from The Guardian that a bibliography of JK Rowling’s work is going to be published which means ALL the behind-the-scenes Harry Potter secrets!

It took five long years for Sotheby’s director of children’s books (and fellow author himself) Philip Errington to compile the 544-page JK Rowling: A Bibliography 1997-2013, a feat Rowling herself describes as “slavishly thorough and somewhat mind-boggling.”

In addition to normal bibliography stuff (detailed information on each and every single edition of a Rowling book), Errington scoured the Bloomsbury archives and interviewed the good people of Bloomsbury to get us ALL the inside scoop on Harry Potter’s publishing history.

Here are our favorite tidbits we’ve heard so far:

JK Rowling had a LOT of trouble writing Prisoner of Azkaban

An undated letter from Rowling to her editor Emma Matthewson reads:

“Finally! I’ve read this book so much I’m sick of it, I never read either of the others over and over again when editing them, but I really had to this time… If you think it needs more work, I’m willing and able, but I do think this draft represents an improvement on the first; the dementors are much more of a presence this time round, I think.”

Her editor was super-nice to worried Rowling, replying in August 1998 and calling the book “…just great Jo – quite a huge, teetering tottering plot that never quite falls down! What a feat!”

Rowling was still have trouble, though. In November of ’98, she writes to Matthewson,“An annoying little speech bubble has just popped onto my screen saying ‘looks like you’re writing a letter. Would you like some help?’ This laptop is too clever for its own good … I am so sick of re-reading this one that I’ll be hard put to smile when it comes to doing public readings from it. But perhaps the feeling will have worn off by next summer… ”

In the rewrites for Chamber of Secrets, we lost a Nearly Headless Nick song

It’s all good, JK Rowling has since posted “The Ballad of Nearly Headless Nick” online, NHN fangirls can relax, now.

Alternate titles for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire included…

Harry Potter and the Death Eaters, Harry Potter and the Fire Goblet, and Harry Potter and the Three Champions.

Harry Potter personnel would pass the manuscript off with the sneakiness of the Hogwarts’ Marauders

The Guardian reports an anecdote about Rowling’s then-agent Christopher Little passing off the manuscript of Order of the Phonenix to Bloomsbury chief executive Nigel Newton. As Newton explains:

“So I drove to The Pelican, a pub off the Fulham Road not far from Stamford Bridge, in a state of high alert. And I went in and there was a massive Sainsbury’s plastic carrier bag at this feet … he said nothing about that and I said nothing and he just said ‘Drink?’ and I said, ‘a pint, please’. So we stood at the bar and drank our pints and said nothing about Harry Potter. But when we left I walked out with the carrier bag. It was a classic dead letter drop.

So I put this bag into the back of my car and drove it home. By this stage the series was so enormous that I was almost frightened to be in physical possession of it … I shoved it under the bed. I had another typescript sitting there … so I stuffed [the] top four pages of David Guterson’s East of the Mountains on the top and then stayed up all night reading it, which my wife did find a bit odd … There was no question of showing any of it to her. Even then I was putting bits of it in the safe.”

We are SO excited for this book, we wish it were coming out tomorrow, we can’t wait to learn all the behind-the-scenes HP secrets!!

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