Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
A bunch of thieves stole 7,500 copies of the novel three days before its release date. In response to all these leaks, J.K. Rowling issued a personal statement begging the thieves, "not to ruin the pleasure and enjoyment" of Harry Potter’s fans (source: "Don’t Ruin It for the Fans, J.K. Rowling Begs Potter Raid Gang," Adam Powell and Jaya Narain, Daily Mail, June 18, 2003).
We have always found the way that Lily Potter’s death continues to influence and shape Harry’s life to be truly moving. So it makes sense to us that J.K. Rowling has experienced this kind of loss in her own life. She told interviewers: "In the first draft — I had only been writing Harry for six months before [my mother] died — and in the first draft I finished off his parents in a rather flippant way — and then mum died, and I just couldn't finish off his parents in that flippant way, I couldn't, not now knowing what it felt like to lose a parent. That's very, very different" (source). No wonder she writes Lily with such sympathy and care in Order of the Phoenix!
When Rowling wrote Sirius’s death scene she found herself weeping: "Well I had re-written the death, re-written it and that was it. It was definitive. And the person was definitely dead. And I walked into the kitchen crying and Neil [Rowling’s husband] said to me, ‘What on earth is wrong?’ and I said, ‘Well, I've just killed the person.’ Neil doesn't know who the person is. But I said, ‘I've just killed the person.’ And he said, ‘Well, don't do it then.’ I thought, a doctor you know.... and I said ‘Well it just doesn't work like that. You are writing children's books, you need to be a ruthless killer’" (source).
We’ve always thought it would have been fun to play Harry, Ron, or Hermione in the Harry Potter films. And all three of the actors (Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, and Emma Watson) have expressed their appreciation for the opportunities they’ve had. At the same time, Emma Watson – now at Brown University – has given us a whole new perspective on what it would really be like to star in these films: "I have such structure when I’m working on Potter. I get told what time I get picked up. I get told what time I can eat, when I have time to go to the bathroom. Every single second of my day is not in my power. Being at college, I took pleasure in the smallest things. Like, ‘I’m going to wake up at 10 o’clock if I want to.’ Or ‘I’m going to eat a sandwich now.’ It was so liberating! I’d be smiling to myself, and friends would say, ‘Emma, what’s wrong?’ And I’d say, ‘I don’t now. I’m just … happy’" (source).
Emma Watson's father kept her on a $75-a-week allowance until she was 17. He then told her that she’s got about $30 million in the bank, thanks to her role as Hermione Granger. That’s a surprise we’d all like to receive! (source).
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, a reporter asked Daniel Radcliffe if J.K. Rowling has given him any advice on playing Harry. He replied, "I did ask her for some advice on the fifth film. I talked to her about Harry’s emergence as the leader of Dumbledore’s Army. She said it was very important because it’s the first time we see Harry be a leader, and eventually he’s going to have to lead large numbers of people" (source).
Before Book 5 came out, an anonymous man in Britain came across the proofs for the novel dumped in a field in Outney Common (source: "Harry Potter and the Riddle of the Proofs: Copies of Tightly Guarded New J.K. Rowling Book Found In a Field and Offered to Tabloid," Fiachra Gibbons, Guardian Home Pages, pg. 8, May 7, 2003).