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1 Me: J. K. Rowling, welcome to Irregular Webcomic!
1 J. K. Rowling: Thank you for inviting me. It's an honour.
2 Me: Now, having read this prerelease copy of Deathly Hallows, the obvious question I must ask is: Will there be more Harry Potter novels?
3 J. K. Rowling: Nope, Harry's dead. End of story. No more books.
4 Me: Do you really expect us to believe that, when the last scene has Harry and Voldemort locked in mortal combat, and then they both fall over the Reichenbach Falls?
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She never did answer that question, but she did sign my copy of the book.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at one stage grew tired of writing his famous Sherlock Holmes stories, so decided to kill off the character in a climactic struggle with his nemesis, Professor Moriarty. He wrote a scene in which the two engaged in a struggle at the top of the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland. Holmes' companion Dr Watson later recounts the death of Holmes after inspecting the site and coming to the dreadful conclusion.
Doyle never intended to write more Sherlock Holmes stories, but persistent badgering by fans of the character asking for more stories in fan letters caused him to reconsider and bring Holmes back after a hiatus of three years. He had to concoct a story to explain Holmes' apparent death, before going on to feature the detective in dozens more stories written over another 25 years.
If you think a large number of fans bothered Doyle about writing more Sherlock Holmes books, can you imagine what life is going to be like for poor J. K. Rowling for the next few decades?
By an odd coincidence, I was very near the Reichenbach Falls on my last trip to Europe. We hired a car and drove around the border regions of France, Switzerland, and Italy. One day we drove from Interlaken to Lugano. On the way we passed through the small town of Meiringen. Unfortunately, I hadn't read ahead in any tourist guides for what things there were of interest in Meiringen, so we ended up driving through the town quickly and basically ignoring it.
Because it turns out that the Reichenbach Falls are just a few hundred metres walk from the centre of Meiringen. If I'd known at the time, I definitely would have stopped to take a look. And to get a meringue - since reputedly they were invented in Meiringen, and named for the town (even though the veracity of this claim is uncertain).
Let this be a lesson: If you're travelling, invest some time reading up about all the places you will be visiting or passing through, so you know what's there before you get there.
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