It’s funny what lengths some people go through to keep a secret. But in the case of famous Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, I suppose such lengths are to be expected, especially when it comes to the last installment of the wizarding series. I plucked out a copy of Time magazine from the bookstore a couple of days ago and saw an article on Harry Potter and the ten steps the whole Potter brain trust team took to ensure that nobody gets a hold of a copy or even a page of the most-awaited book until July 21, 2007.
It was called “The Epic Saga of the Seventh Manuscript.” Or, how the supersecret final Potter tale went from finished draft to hardcover in 10 very careful, complicated steps.
1. Rowling, who dreamed up Harry while on a train from manchester to London, finishes the story on Jan. 11, 2007. The final book will weigh in at 784 pages.
2. Scholastic lawyer Mark Seidenfeld picks up the pages in U.K. For safekeeping, he uses the manuscript as a seat cushion all the way back to the U.S.
3. Seidenfeld hands off copies of the draft to Arthur A. Levine (Rowling’s American editor) and Cheryl Klein (the Potterologist), who look for problems.
4. Meanwhile, artist Mary GrandPre reads a copy and works her end of the magic, crafting illustrations. She has called the Harry Potter books a “candy store for an illustrator.”
5. Back to Rowling. Editors’ notes in hand, she revises the first draft, then hands it off to her agent, Christopher Little…
6. … who orchestrates another handoff to Klein, who has flown to England for the mission. “I felt very special, I felt like I had a secret.” she says. Klein’s cover is almost blown when she is stopped by airport security.
7. Klein gets the manuscript safely back to Scholastic. What happens in that Chamber of Secrets and at the presses is the process-that-shall-not-be-named.
8. Potter is printed, somewhere. The record-breaking first run of 12 million dwarfs the number for the first novel: initially a mere 50,000 made it to stores.
9. In GPS-tracked boxes toted by FedEx, the books fan out across America. To limit leakage, millions of copies arrive at bookstores within an eight-hour window.
10. Finally, if all goes to plan, on July 21 at 12:01 am., the magic moment. bedtimes around the U.S. ar delayed for the sake of reading.
The whole set-up almost seems like a fun spy movie to me. However, there have been very real attempts to steal copies of the 7th book (that were thankfully thwarted). It’s not like Rowling and the rest of her team are trying to be selfish about Harry Potter. In fact, they’re trying to protect something more than intellectual rights. There is such a thing, according to the article, as a “magic moment.” It is the moment when a person opens the book for the very first time and reads the pages without having any knowledge about what would actually happen.
Personally, I know what the “magic moment” is all about. While there are other readers out there who read the last few pages first (in order to see if they would like the ending), I prefer reading things through the end. No spoilers for me.
And then a few weeks ago, rumors about a Harry Potter spoiler came out. The spoiler infiltrated the net and there was even an article about it on froodee. Thankfully, I have decidedly steered clear of the whole thing and at the moment, I still am spoiler-free. Plus, here’s some good news to fans all over the world. They’re saying that the spoiler is not valid and that “Gabriel,” the person who caused the whole ordeal, has not offered a shred of evidence on his “findings.” Besides, using the reason that his move was a “counterattack against a work that promoted the Neo-Paganism faith…?” Can anyone say, medieval? It’s a waste of time, in my opinion, to even give this person the time of day. Time spent worrying over him could be time spent anticipating Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! ~:>