You would all like me to tell you exactly what happens in books six and seven and then to erase your memories so that you can read them. -- J.K. Rowling, 2004 interview
What follows are excerpts from an August 2004 interview in Edinburgh, after publication of "Order of the Phoenix" but before "Half-Blood Prince." Upon rereading it this morning, I've pulled out some hints/clues/advice/fun stuff.
First, though, if you're interested in a long but well-thought-through essay on the Snape question, try "Severus Severed."
Now, back to those interview excerpts. To read the full interview, here's the link. The full transcript has some good tidbits, such as Rowling all but confirming that, yes, Aberforth Dumbledore is the barman at the Hog's Head Tavern, and explaining the origin of the avada kedavra curse (it's Aramaic.)
[One question] I am surprised no one has asked me since "Phoenix" came out – I thought that people would – is why Dumbledore did not kill or try to kill Voldemort in the scene in the ministry. I know that I am giving a lot away to people who have not read the book. Although Dumbledore gives a kind of reason to Voldemort, it is not the real reason.
When I mentioned that question to my husband – I told Neil that I was going to mention it to you – he said that it was because Voldemort knows that there are two more books to come. As you can see, we are on the same literary wavelength. [Laughter]. That is not the answer; Dumbledore knows something slightly more profound than that. If you want to wonder about anything, I would advise you to concentrate on [that question]. That might take you a little bit further.
How did Dumbledore get his scar in [of?] the London Underground?
You may find out one day. I am very fond of that scar.
Also, will we see more of Snape?
You always see a lot of Snape, because he is a gift of a character. I hesitate to say that I love him. [Audience member: I do]. You do? This is a very worrying thing. Are you thinking about Alan Rickman or about Snape? [Laughter]. Isn’t this life, though? I make this hero – Harry, obviously – and there he is on the screen, the perfect Harry, because Dan is very much as I imagine Harry, but who does every girl under the age of 15 fall in love with? Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy. Girls, stop going for the bad guy. Go for a nice man in the first place. It took me 35 years to learn that, but I am giving you that nugget free, right now, at the beginning of your love lives.
... [later, answering another question] Why do people love Snape? I do not understand this. Again, it’s bad boy syndrome, isn’t it? It’s very depressing. [Laughter]. One of my best friends watched the film and she said, “You know who’s really attractive?” I said, “Who?” She said, “Lucius Malfoy!”
Is there more to Dudley than meets the eye?
No. [Laughter]. What you see is what you get. I am happy to say that he is definitely a character without much back story. He is just Dudley. The next book, Half Blood Prince, is the least that you see of the Dursleys. You see them quite briefly. You see them a bit more in the final book ... I am sorry if there are Dudley fans out there, but I think you need to look at your priorities if it is Dudley that you are looking forward to. [Laughter].
Will there be a book about Harry’s Mum and Dad, about how they became friends and how they died?
So it would be “Harry Potter: Episode One”. [Laughter]. No, but a lot of people have asked that. It is all George Lucas’s fault. You won’t need a prequel; by the time I am finished, you will know enough. ... I think that by the time you have had the seven books you will know everything you need to know for the story.
[answering another question] People ask questions like, “Will there be an eighth novel and will Harry be in it?” There are questions that I simply can’t answer. Fans are very good at that, and I have to be very awake. I think that you want to know, but you don’t want to know as well.
You would all like me to tell you exactly what happens in books six and seven and then to erase your memories so that you can read them. I know, because that is how I feel about things that I really enjoy. I would kind of like to do it, but at the same time I know that I would ruin it for everyone.