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Q: Will there be, or have there been, any “late blooming” students in the school who come into their magic potential as adults, rather than as children? By the way, I loved meeting you, and hearing you speak, when you came to Anderson's in Naperville. I can hardly wait until you tour again.

JKR: Ahhh! I loved the event at Anderson’s. It was one of my favorites. That is completely true. No, is the answer. In my books, magic almost always shows itself in a person before age 11; however, there is a character who does manage in desperate circumstances to do magic quite late in life, but that is very rare in the world I am writing about.

(src: Barnes and Noble interview with J.K.Rowling, March 19, 1999)

Who was JKR referring to in “there is a character”?

Clearly, it not a student; so the most obvious guess of "Neville Longbottom" is wrong – both due to “no” answer regarding the question itself, and the fact that Neville bloomed in his 6th/7th year, well before you can legitimately term “quite late in life”.

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    I can't really prove this, but for some reason I thought this is something Rowling has changed his mind about and the desperate magic event didn't get into Hallows. – b_jonas Sep 16 '13 at 21:24
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    b_jonas is correct. JKR changed her mind and decided to pull that plot line. There is a quote in an interview where she says this, in a Q&A session. Perhaps the Carnegie Hall interview? – Slytherincess Sep 16 '13 at 21:27
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    Here it is: Snapedinhalf: You promised that someone will do magic late in life in book 7. I’ve now read it three times but cant work out who it might have been! Please help!! JKR: I’m sorry about this, but I changed my mind! My very earliest plan for the story involved somebody managing to get to Hogwarts when they had never done magic before, but I had changed my mind by the time I’d written the third book. JKR web chat with The Leaky Cauldron 07.30.07 I imagine it may have been Petunia. – Slytherincess Sep 16 '13 at 21:35
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    Maybe make it an answer ? – Kalissar Sep 16 '13 at 21:37
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    @Slytherincess: JKR debunked the idea of Petunia doing magic at least a year before that interview: web.archive.org/web/20060224124944/http://www.jkrowling.com/… (archived copy of her site). Not to say that it was never on the cards, but it’s an interesting data point. – alexwlchan Nov 28 '13 at 10:46
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Per Slytherincess' comment, JK Rowling had intended to introduce a muggle/squib character in the last novel that would somehow learn to do magic but then simply decided to take the story in a different direction and never wrote about this individual (e.g after she'd given the interview above);

Interviewer: You promised that someone will do magic late in life in book 7. I’ve now read it three times but can't work out who it might have been! Please help!!

J.K. Rowling: I’m sorry about this, but I changed my mind! My very earliest plan for the story involved somebody managing to get to Hogwarts when they had never done magic before, but I had changed my mind by the time I’d written the third book.

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    And she wouldn't even say who? :-( – Kevin Feb 15 '14 at 22:33
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    @Kevin - Not as far as I can tell. There's plenty of speculation (the-leaky-cauldron.org/features/essays/issue15/hbs) but my guess is that it was a character that never got written – Valorum Feb 15 '14 at 22:37
  • Great answer! Why is this CW? Because of Slytherincess's earlier comment? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 15 '14 at 22:44
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    Yes. Thievery should not be rewarded :-) – Valorum Feb 15 '14 at 22:52
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    @Richard - it's not thievery if she dropped the idea and abandoned it. I'd feel differently if it was a comment from 1 day ago... but it's from months ago – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 15 '14 at 23:05

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