33

I'm curious if JK Rowling has ever contradicted the books in an interview or a tweet.

Does anyone know of any examples of her directly contradicting known Harry Potter canon?

The tweet calling Harry Potter and the Cursed Child canon, though I believe HP:CC directly contradicts HP canon, does not count as an answer, as that was indirect.

  • Have an answer and an upvote! :) – Bellatrix Jul 5 '18 at 2:09
  • 18
    Tempted to post an answer about Hermione''s ethnicity. I'm trying to decide if I need the downvotes and the hassle..... – Valorum Jul 5 '18 at 7:44
  • @Valorum OK by me. – TheAsh says Reinstate Monica Jul 5 '18 at 12:44
  • Is this after the Trump "pore" tweet? – Manoj Kumar Jul 5 '18 at 15:29
  • @Valorum it's an event that happened that answers the question, so provided you note it is purely historical fact, you should be OK – Gaius Jul 14 '18 at 8:09
40

Yes - she stated that Grindelwald was dead, and he wasn’t.

In an interview in 2005, two years before the final book, J.K. Rowling says that Grindelwald is dead.

ES: Our other “Ask Jo” question (the one about James and Lily’s sacrifices), was from Maria Vlasiou, who is 25, of the Netherlands. And then the third is from Helen Poole, 18, from Thirsk, Yorkshire – also one of the “Plot Thickens” fan book authors. It’s the one about Grindelwald, which I’m sure you’ve been gearing up for us to ask.

JKR: Uh huh.

ES: Clearly -

JKR: Come on then, remind me. Is he dead?

ES: Yeah, is he dead?

JKR: Yeah, he is.
- Leaky Cauldron interview (16 July, 2005)

However, in the seventh book, he’s shown to be alive, until the Dark Lord kills him. In this case, she was wrong about something that wasn’t published yet. (I’ll look for other examples and update).

She said Brazil won the World Cup 5 times - no Latin team did yet.

In Quidditch Through the Ages, it’s mentioned that Peru is likely to be the first Latin American country to win the Quidditch World Cup, meaning none had won yet when this was published.

“Argentina and Brazil both reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in the last century. Undoubtedly the most skilled Quidditch nation in South America is Peru, which is tipped to become the first Latin World Cup winner within ten years.”
- Quidditch Through the Ages

Quidditch Through the Ages is up to date to at least 1994, since it mentions a game played that year, so it can’t possibly have been written and not updated with new content since before 1994.

“The exception to this general rule is Japan, where Quidditch has been gaining steadily in popularity over the last century. The most successful Japanese team, the Toyohashi Tengu, narrowly missed a win over Lithuania’s Gorodok Gargoyles in 1994.”
- Quidditch Through the Ages

However, in the Quidditch World Cup writings J.K. Rowling published on Pottermore, she says the Brazilian team won the Quidditch World Cup five times, while also saying that the time that could theoretically be accounted for by Quidditch Through the Ages being published before it happened, since it’s at least as current as 1994, was when they weren’t playing well and having bad years.

Brazil has won the Quidditch World Cup five times, but the nineties and early noughties were generally considered wilderness years for this once great side. Manager José Barboza has reinvigorated the national game, bringing in younger players from every corner of the country. With an average age of only 22, this is the least experienced side remaining in the tournament.
- Quidditch World Cup 2014: Daily Prophet Reports (Pottermore)

In the Pottermore writing on Quirrell, she contradicts the timing.

In “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, Quirrell was possessed by the Dark Lord after he failed to get the Stone from Gringotts, so the Dark Lord decided to watch him more closely.

“Since then, I have served him faithfully, although I have let him down many times. He has had to be very hard on me.’ Quirrell shivered suddenly. ‘He does not forgive mistakes easily. When I failed to steal the Stone from Gringotts, he was most displeased. He punished me … decided he would have to keep a closer watch on me …”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)

However, in the Pottermore writing, J.K. Rowling says that the Dark Lord possesses Quirrell immediately upon encountering him and realizing he taught at Hogwarts, instead of after he was already serving the Dark Lord but failed to get him the Philosopher’s Stone.

Though Hagrid was correct in saying that Quirrell had a ‘brilliant mind’, the Hogwarts teacher was both naive and arrogant in thinking that he would be able to control an encounter with Voldemort, even in the Dark wizard’s weakened state. When Voldemort realised that the young man had a position at Hogwarts, he took immediate possession of Quirrell, who was incapable of resisting.
- Professor Quirrell (Pottermore)

  • 5
    That seems like her contradicting canon before the canon was canonized, in which case she didn't really contradict canon. – Alex Jul 5 '18 at 2:46
  • 23
    The Quirrell issue is not necessarily a mistake, if you consider "possession" and "growing a face on the back of someone's head" to be different things. Voldemort possessed Ginny, Nagini, and Harry presumably without having to grow his face on the back of any of their heads. So the timeline was that Voldemort possessed Quirrell first. Then, when Quirrell failed to steal the Stone from Gringotts, he grew his face on the back of Quirrell's head to keep a closer eye on him. – BolteAltamont Jul 5 '18 at 4:06
  • 3
    Of course, it seems Voldemort's possession of Quirrell was not as strong as his possession of, say, Ginny, since Ginny fully blacked out and was under Voldemort's complete control, whereas Quirrell seemed more like a fearful servant prone to mistakes. This can probably be explained by the fact that Ginny was possessed by a soul fragment in a Horcrux, while Quirrell was possessed by a severely weakened soul fragment not really bound to anything. Still, Voldemort was able to exert some measure of influence over Quirrell which can still be called "possession." – BolteAltamont Jul 5 '18 at 4:11
  • 5
    @Kevin Not when it says they are “tipped to become” the first. That’s definite future. I agree the Quirrell one isn’t a contradiction. Voldemort possessed Quirrell in Albania (and to some degree kept him possessed); latching parasitically on to the back of his head wasn’t possession as such, just being more hands-on (heads-on?) with him. The first one isn’t really a contradiction either: the Leaky Cauldron interview took place in 2005; Voldemort killed Grindelwald in 1998. At the time of the interview, Grindelwald had been dead for seven years, so she was quite right. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 5 '18 at 7:41
  • 2
    @OrangeDog In the books Quirrell is not actually mentioned to be wearing a turban when Harry meets him for the first time at the Leaky Cauldron. It is not until the second time Harry sees him, at Hogwarts, that he sees him in a turban. – BolteAltamont Jul 5 '18 at 15:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.