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12 Post-Potter Revelations J.K. Rowling Has Shared

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Any proper Harry Potter fan will insist that the series didn’t truly end with the release of the seventh and final book in July 2007, nor did it end with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in theatres in July 2011. There’s no more obvious testament to the wizarding world’s enduring legacy than J.K. Rowling herself, the author who has so much left to give to fans who are always eager to hear more. She continues to release new material via the Pottermore website and has yet to quash rumors of a forthcoming authoritative Harry Potter encyclopedia (though she hesitates to use the e-word).

But some of Rowling's most surprising insights about the fates of Harry and friends have come straight from her own mouth in various interviews given since Deathly Hallows closed the book on their stories. Here are some of the most essential insights from those interviews—though if the past few years are any indication, they won’t be the last. Note: If you haven't read all the books or seen all the movies, spoilers abound!

1. Dumbledore was gay

Harry Potter Wikia

When a fan got the chance to ask Rowling whether beloved headmaster Dumbledore, with his twinkling blue eyes, had ever been in love, the answer must have been wildly unexpected: not only had Rowling “always thought” of Dumbledore as gay, but his one great love had been his former best friend and Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, whom he ultimately defeated in a duel the likes of which were never surpassed by any two wizards since. By Rowling’s account, Dumbledore’s infatuation with Grindelwald may have blinded him to the danger which his plans of benevolent-but-totalitarian wizarding domination posed to the entire magical world. Rowling never explicitly states whether or not Dumbledore’s affections were ever returned, but either way, there’s a wrenching sense of tragedy in Dumbledore’s love life that never was.

2. Ron and Hermione’s relationship may have been a mistake

Harry Potter Wikia

In an interview with Emma Watson, otherwise known as the real-life Hermione Granger, Rowling dropped one of the biggest bombshells of her career when she confessed her sense that pairing off Ron and Hermione had been a mistake. She admits that at the time, she had pushed a Ron/Hermione relationship for “very personal reasons” and as a form of “wish fulfillment” in service of her original ideas of where the books would go, not because the two were a particularly “credible” couple; in retrospect, she thinks it would have made sense for Hermione to marry Harry instead.

Rowling’s most recent statement contradicted not only her published work, but her previous interviews, in which she claimed that Harry and Ginny were true “soul mates,” whereas Ron and Hermione operated on an opposites-attract level: “[They] are drawn to each other because they balance each other out. Hermione's got the sensitivity and maturity that's been left out of Ron, and Ron loosens up Hermione a bit, gets her to have some fun. They love each other and they bicker a bit, but they enjoy bickering, so we shouldn't worry about it”—and yet she has now joked (unless she wasn’t joking) that Ron and Hermione would have needed to seek relationship counseling. Fans predictably erupted at what they saw as Rowling’s unwanted editorializing on books long gone to print, though early fans of a Harry/Hermione pairing were quietly vindicated; either way, the books have been written, and there’s always fanfiction for all the rest.

3. Tonks and Lupin almost lived, but Ron and Arthur Weasley almost died

Authors are allowed to change their minds, but when it comes to matters of a character’s life or death, there’s a lot to consider. It seems inconceivable now, but Rowling admits that about halfway through the series, when she “wasn’t in a very happy place” in her own life, she considered going back on her previous commitment to herself to keep the Golden Trio alive, and almost killed off Ron Weasley. In retrospect, she now believes that she wouldn’t really have been able to do it, but at the time, she entertained the notion “out of sheer spite.” Luckily for Ron, Rowling’s fit of pique passed, and he was spared.

Arthur Weasley’s near-death was a subject of more serious deliberation: Rowling felt uncomfortable with the idea that the entire Weasley clan should survive (since purely on a statistical basis, that would have been hugely unrealistic), and she thought Mr. Weasley might be the one to go. She granted him a reprieve when she realized what a huge blow such a loss would deal not only to Harry, in whose life Mr. Weasley played the most stable father figure, but to Ron. As half an orphan—half of what Harry had been all his life—he would have lost his humor, and Rowling decided that she needed to keep Ron “intact,” thereby sparing Mr. Weasley. The honor of being the Weasley to die in battle therefore fell to Fred: Of the two twins, Rowling had always written George as the more sensitive one, and Fred as “the funnier, but also the crueler of the two.” Hoping to circumvent fans’ expectations that George, the more passive of the pair, should be the obvious choice to die, Rowling decreed that Fred had to go.

Rowling never intended for Lupin or Tonks to die in battle. Although she wanted to spare Ron the loss of a father, she did later decide that she needed a character to lose both parents as a means of bringing the orphan story full circle. Teddy Lupin, like both Harry and Neville, grows up without a mother or father, instead entrusted to the care of relatives; yet Rowling intended to show that unlike the two other boys who grew up without a traditional nuclear family, Teddy was able to grow up with loving caregivers in a world that, after Voldemort’s fall, was “a better place.” She also emphasizes that Teddy benefits from an even better godfather than Sirius: Harry becomes a true father figure to Lupin’s son, and despite his orphanhood, Teddy turns out okay.

4. Harry and Voldemort are blood relatives

Harry Potter Wikia

Clever fans may have sussed this out on their own simply by connecting some of the dots regarding ownership of two of the three Deathly Hallows, family heirlooms that were passed down from descendant to descendant before one reached Harry Potter and another, Lord Voldemort. When Albus Dumbledore gifted the Cloak of Invisibility to Harry on his first Christmas at Hogwarts, he had merely been keeping it safe on behalf of Harry’s father James, a direct descendant of Ignotus Peverell, its original owner and one of the “Three Brothers” whose story is fictionalized in an old wizarding fairy tale. The Resurrection Stone, having been set into a ring, passed similarly between generations from Cadmus Peverell to the Gaunt family and eventually to final surviving patriarch Marvolo Gaunt, Tom Riddle, Jr.’s maternal grandfather. When Marvolo died, his son Morfin inherited the ring, and it was from him that Lord Voldemort-to-be claimed the heirloom he believed to be his birthright. From there, it seems reasonable to assume that Harry and Voldemort might share a common ancestor through their pureblood connections, and Rowling confirmed that they are in fact distantly related through the Peverells. Then again, with the insular nature of wizarding lineage, Rowling notes, “nearly all wizarding families are related if you trace them back through the centuries.”

5. Harry and Dudley made amends

Harry Potter Wikia

The two cousins parted uneasily after a childhood of fearing, tormenting, and misunderstanding one another, with “I don’t think you’re a waste of space” remaining the kindest words Dudley ever spoke to Harry, yet in that brief instance offering some hope that the two might someday reconcile. Though Rowling sadly quashed the notion of Dudley appearing at King’s Cross in the Epilogue beside his own wizarding child, citing a conviction that “any latent wizarding genes would never survive contact with Uncle Vernon’s DNA,” she does say that he remains on “Christmas card terms” with Harry, who in turn makes an effort to drop in to see his cousin when in his neighborhood. Though their children manage to play together, Harry and Dudley merely “sit in silence” as they watch; some things never change.

6. Snape was remembered as Headmaster

Harry Potter Wikia

In the triumphant final scene after Voldemort’s defeat, Harry enters the Headmaster’s office to rousing applause from the moving portraits of Hogwarts’s former Headmasters and Headmistresses, but one figure is conspicuously absent: Severus Snape. Having abandoned his duties prior to dying, Snape would not have been considered worthy to take his place among the other, more revered Hogwarts heads. However, Rowling believes that Harry would later have insisted on Snape’s portrait being hung as deserved.

7. Neville’s parents never recover

Harry Potter Wikia

As if the slew of heartbreaking deaths during the Final Battle weren’t enough cause for fans to curse Rowling’s unwillingness to write too many happy endings, she also shared in an interview that Frank and Alice Longbottom never surfaced from their torture-induced madness. The long-time residents of St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, placed in the incurable wing for continuing palliative treatment after overexposure to the Cruciatus Curse by Bellatrix Lestrange and her fellow Death Eaters, remained forever unaware of their son’s heroic role in avenging their fates.

8. Harry and Ron stayed Hogwarts dropouts

After so many incidences of Harry and Ron shamelessly copying Hermione’s notes and each other’s homework, it wasn’t hard to see this one coming: Only Hermione bothered to go back and finish her final year of education after Voldemort so rudely interrupted everyone’s studies. She took her N.E.W.T.s—presumably scoring top marks across the board—and would have been the only one of the trio to participate in the Hogwarts graduation tradition of riding the boats back across the lake, reversing the process by which she and her fellow first-years arrived.

9. The Golden Trio became high-ranking government employees

Harry Potter Wikia

Luckily, Harry and Ron’s lack of formal qualifications didn’t stop them from realizing their dream of becoming Aurors, officers of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement’s elite branch dedicated to combating the use of the Dark Arts. At age 17, Harry became the youngest Auror ever employed by the Ministry of Magic, and ascended to a position as head of the department just nine years later, under his friend and fellow Order of the Phoenix member Kingsley Shacklebolt as Minister for Magic. Hermione took a more conventional path through the Ministry ranks: Starting off in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, she continued her crusade for house elves’ rights before transferring to a position high within the Department of Magical Law Enforcement to help scrub wizarding law of its antiquated pureblood prejudices. Together, Kingsley and the Trio spearheaded a total reform of the Ministry from its old, corrupt ways. They were joined by Percy Weasley, whose change of heart suited him well as an official in the new Ministry.

10. Neville earned a reputation for being cool

Harry Potter Wikia

Awkward, fumbling Neville Longbottom has always had defenders, since the day he valiantly stood up to his own friends and begged them not to get into any more trouble (clearly not understanding what he’d gotten himself into by befriending Harry, Ron, and Hermione). He proved his mettle time and again, particularly as a member of both the original and reunited Dumbledore’s army, and not least when he beheaded Nagini with Godric Gryffindor’s own sword. After the Battle of Hogwarts, no one could deny that Neville was a great wizard in his own right, despite all those melted cauldrons in his youth. He earned his grandmother’s respect and a position as the new Hogwarts Herbology professor. Upon marrying Hannah Abbott, the new landlady at The Leaky Cauldron, he also gained some cachet with his students: they would’ve found it “very cool,” according to Rowling, that he lived above the pub.

11. Harry got a sweet new ride

Harry Potter Wikia

Though Sirius Black’s motorbike succumbed to damage during the mid-air battle between the Death Eaters and the Order of the Phoenix trying to transport Harry to safety, its broken bits found safe refuge in Arthur Weasley’s backyard tinkering shed. Mr. Weasley’s fascination with fixing all things magic and Muggle served him well, and he finally found time after the Second Wizarding War to repair the bike and return it to Harry.

12. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were immortalized on Chocolate Frog cards

Harry Potter Wikia

The three friends were all honored for their efforts in destroying Voldemort’s Horcruxes and defeating “the most dangerous dark wizard of all time” with commemorative Chocolate Frog cards, to be distributed alongside the sweets as collectible items. Like Albus Dumbledore, Ron Weasley considered this the greatest achievement of his life.

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Ernest Hemingway’s Guide to Life, In 20 Quotes
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Though he made his living as a writer, Ernest Hemingway was just as famous for his lust for adventure. Whether he was running with the bulls in Pamplona, fishing for marlin in Bimini, throwing back rum cocktails in Havana, or hanging out with his six-toed cats in Key West, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author never did anything halfway. And he used his adventures as fodder for the unparalleled collection of novels, short stories, and nonfiction books he left behind, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea among them.

On what would be his 118th birthday—he was born in Oak Park, Illinois on July 21, 1899—here are 20 memorable quotes that offer a keen perspective into Hemingway’s way of life.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen."

ON TRUST

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them."

ON DECIDING WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT

"I never had to choose a subject—my subject rather chose me."

ON TRAVEL

"Never go on trips with anyone you do not love."

Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INTELLIGENCE AND HAPPINESS

"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know."

ON TRUTH

"There's no one thing that is true. They're all true."

ON THE DOWNSIDE OF PEOPLE

"The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness, except for the very few that were as good as spring itself."

ON SUFFERING FOR YOUR ART

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

ON TAKING ACTION

"Never mistake motion for action."

ON GETTING WORDS OUT

"I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast—talk them or write them down."

Photograph by Mary Hemingway, in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE BENEFITS OF SLEEP

"I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"

ON FINDING STRENGTH 

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."

ON THE TRUE NATURE OF WICKEDNESS

"All things truly wicked start from innocence."

ON WRITING WHAT YOU KNOW

"If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water."

ON THE DEFINITION OF COURAGE

"Courage is grace under pressure."

ON THE PAINFULNESS OF BEING FUNNY

"A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."

By Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. - JFK Library, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON KEEPING PROMISES

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."

ON GOOD VS. EVIL

"About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."

ON REACHING FOR THE UNATTAINABLE

"For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed."

ON HAPPY ENDINGS

"There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."

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12 Fantastic Facts About A Wrinkle in Time
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Madeleine L’Engle’s acclaimed science fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time has been delighting readers since its 1962 release. Whether you’ve never had the chance to read this timeless tale or haven’t picked it up in a while, here are some facts that are sure to get you in the mood for a literary journey through the universe—not to mention its upcoming big-screen adaptation.

1. THE AUTHOR’S PERSISTENCE PAID OFF.

She’s a revered writer today, but Madeleine L’Engle’s early literary career was rocky. She nearly gave up on writing on her 40th birthday. L’Engle stuck with it, though, and on a 10-week cross-country camping trip she found herself inspired to begin writing A Wrinkle in Time.

2. EINSTEIN SPARKED L'ENGLE'S INTEREST IN QUANTUM PHYSICS AND TESSERACTS.

L’Engle was never a strong math student, but as an adult she found herself drawn to concepts of cosmology and non-linear time after picking up a book about Albert Einstein. L’Engle adamantly believed that any theory of writing is also a theory of cosmology because “one cannot discuss structure in writing without discussing structure in all life." The idea that religion, science, and magic are different aspects of a single reality and should not be thought of as conflicting is a recurring theme in her work.

3. L’ENGLE BASED THE PROTAGONIST ON HERSELF.

L’Engle often compared her young heroine, Meg Murry, to her childhood self—gangly, awkward, and a poor student. Like many young girls, both Meg and L’Engle were dissatisfied with their looks and felt their appearances were homely, unkempt, and in a constant state of disarray.

4. IT WAS REJECTED BY MORE THAN TWO DOZEN PUBLISHERS.

L’Engle weathered 26 rejections before Farrar, Straus & Giroux finally took a chance on A Wrinkle in Time. Many publishers were nervous about acquiring the novel because it was too difficult to categorize. Was it written for children or adults? Was the genre science fiction or fantasy?

5. L’ENGLE DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO CATEGORIZE THE BOOK, EITHER.

To compound publishers’ worries, L’Engle famously rejected these arbitrary categories and insisted that her writing was for anyone, regardless of age. She believed that children could often understand concepts that would baffle adults, due to their childlike ability to use their imaginations with the unknown.

6. MEG MURRY WAS ONE OF SCIENCE FICTION'S FIRST GREAT FEMALE PROTAGONISTS ...

… and that scared publishers even more. L’Engle believed that the relatively uncommon choice of a young heroine contributed to her struggles getting the book in stores since men and boys dominated science fiction.

Nevertheless, the author stood by her heroine and consistently promoted acceptance of one’s unique traits and personality. When A Wrinkle in Time won the 1963 Newbury Award, L’Engle used her acceptance speech to decry forces working for the standardization of mankind, or, as she so eloquently put it, “making muffins of us, muffins like every other muffin in the muffin tin.” L’Engle’s commitment to individualism contributed to the very future of science fiction. Without her we may never have met The Hunger Games’s Katniss Everdeen or Divergent’s Tris Prior.

7. THE MURKY GENRE HELPED MAKE THE BOOK A SUCCESS.

Once A Wrinkle in Time hit bookstores, its slippery categorization stopped being a drawback. The book was smart enough for adults without losing sight of the storytelling elements kids love. A glowing 1963 review in The Milwaukee Sentinel captured this sentiment: “A sort of space age Alice in Wonderland, Miss L’Engle’s book combines a warm story of family life with science fiction and a most convincing case for nonconformity. Adults who still enjoy Alice will find it delightful reading along with their youngsters.”

8. THE BOOK IS ACTUALLY THE FIRST OF A SERIES.

Although the other four novels are not as well known as A Wrinkle in Time, the “Time Quintet” is a favorite of science fiction fans. The series, written over a period of nearly 30 years, follows the Murry family’s continuing battle over evil forces.

9. IT IS ONE OF THE MOST FREQUENTLY BANNED BOOKS OF ALL TIME.

Oddly enough, A Wrinkle in Time has been accused of being both too religious and anti-Christian. L’Engle’s particular brand of liberal Christianity was deeply rooted in universal salvation, a view that some critics have claimed “denigrates organized Christianity and promotes an occultic world view.” There have also been objections to the use of Jesus Christ’s name alongside figures like Buddha, Shakespeare, and Gandhi. Detractors feel that grouping these names together trivializes Christ’s divine nature.

10. L’ENGLE LEARNED TO SEE THE UPSIDE OF THIS CONTROVERSY.

The author revealed how she felt about all this sniping in a 2001 interview with The New York Times. She brushed it aside, saying, “It seems people are willing to damn the book without reading it. Nonsense about witchcraft and fantasy. First I felt horror, then anger, and finally I said, 'Ah, the hell with it.' It's great publicity, really.''

11. THE SCIENCE FICTION HAS INSPIRED SCIENCE FACTS.

American astronaut Janice Voss once told L’Engle that A Wrinkle in Time inspired her career path. When Voss asked if she could bring a copy of the novel into space, L’Engle jokingly asked why she couldn’t go, too.

Inspiring astronauts wasn’t L’Engle’s only out-of-this-world achievement. In 2013 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) honored the writer’s memory by naming a crater on Mercury’s south pole “L’Engle.”

12. A STAR-STUDDED MOVIE ADAPTATION WILL HIT THEATERS IN 2018.

Although L’Engle was famously skeptical of film adaptations of the novel, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay (13th; Selma) is bringing a star-filled version of the book to the big screen next year. Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Mindy Kaling, and Zach Galifianakis are among the film's stars. It's due in theaters on March 9, 2018.

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