It seems that a lot of Harry Potter questions (including my last one) are answered based on tidbits of info that J.K. Rowling provided in various interviews.

I have two related questions (I'll post them separately):

Question #1 of 2. Did it ever happen that she provided information that was later proven completely wrong (either from later books or later interview)?

  • Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view.
    – Adamant
    Aug 3, 2016 at 6:27

1 Answer 1


It definitely DID happen, at least once.

In "The Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Three," (The Leaky Cauldron, 16 July 2005)

ES: ... [the third question] It’s the one about Grindelwald, which I’m sure you’ve been gearing up for us to ask.
JKR: Come on then, remind me. Is he dead?
ES: Yeah, is he dead?
JKR: Yeah, he is.
ES: You don’t have to answer but can you give us some backstory on him?
JKR: I'm going to tell you as much as I told someone earlier who asked me. You know Owen who won the [UK television] competition to interview me? He asked about Grindelwald [pronounced "Grindelvald" HMM…]. He said, “Is it coincidence that he died in 1945,” and I said no. It amuses me to make allusions to things that were happening in the Muggle world, so my feeling would be that while there's a global Muggle war going on, there's also a global wizarding war going on.

Of course, as we know from Deathly Hallows, Grindelvald was definitely NOT dead in 1945, since he is held in Numengard after being defeated by Dumbledore; and will only be killed in 1998 by Voldemort.


Define irony: in that same interview later, JKR said the following:

JKR: I've never, to my knowledge, lied when posed a question about the books. To my knowledge. You can imagine, I've now been asked hundreds of questions; it's perfectly possible at some point I misspoke or I gave a misleading answer unintentionally, or I may have answered truthfully at the time and then changed my mind in a subsequent book. That makes me cagey about answering some questions in too much detail because I have to have some leeway to get there and do it my way, but never on a major plot point.

  • As an aside, not only did she provide information in interviews that was contradicted by later books, but she did so in books as well (see an exceptionally well timed question from TangoOversway) Feb 6, 2012 at 1:09
  • I dug up the interview with Owen Jones for another answer, and I don’t think he actually says that Grindelwald dies in 1945; he talks about his “defeat”. See accio-quote.org/articles/2005/…. Obviously she still says Grindelwald is dead when he isn’t, but this is evidence of memory slips.
    – alexwlchan
    Jan 10, 2014 at 20:41
  • 1
    Also, it pains me I cannot remember the name, but she tells a fan there will be a character with their name. Said character never shows up (Rowling possibly addresses this in a FAQ, I'll dig around when I can).
    – Mac Cooper
    Mar 13, 2014 at 19:43

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