Anelli, Melissa. "American Editor Levine on HBP: 'There are a lot of answers,' The Leaky Cauldron, June 16, 2005

TLC attended yesterday's unveiling of Scholastic's 30-day countdown clock at its New York City store. Kids from a nearby elementary school gathered around the huge Half-Blood Prince display and answered trivia questions posted to them by Arthur Levine, the main editor of the Scholastic edition of Harry Potter, and Barbara Marcus, the executive vice president of Scholastic. The kids chanted Alohomora, and the two execs pulled back curtains to reveal the countdown clock.

See pics of the event here; cycle through by hitting "next" at the bottom of each! (These pics were taken by Leaky designer extraordinaire, John Noe.)

After Mr. Levine and Ms. Marcus were through with the event, they were kind enough to stick around to answer some of our questions. Levine said:

"[Fans] will like the fact that they are finally getting a lot of answers ... You have moments when you say, 'Wow, Harry is really growing up,' which is not something you would have said three books ago. ... Gosh, Hermione? You know, 'You go girl.'"

There's more in the video; we threw in a little uptempo music to reflect the mood of the day as well as the free, fun attitude of Mr. Levine and Ms. Marcus. (Make sure you watch to the end. There's also a little joke for the sharp-eared fan in there, if you can spot it.) These files are brought to you by the good folk at Streamload.

The Scholastic 30-Days-to-HBP Countdown
Arthur Levine and Barbara Marcus Talk to TLC

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The Interview (transcription by Sue Upton)

After montage of event, Barbara Marcus and Arthur Levine together, waving at camera: "HI LEAKY CAULDRON!"

They turn to huge Half-Blood Prince Countdown clock and Book Cover: "And LOOK, look what's about to happen!"

Barbara Marcus: "It's incredibly exciting, and all the activities are starting to come in, and everyone is trying to get really creative now, and thats all very exciting. We just wanna make sure that it all, everything goes perfectly."

Arthur Levine: "I think they will like the fact that they finally are getting a lot of answers. Definitely J.K. Rowling has paced the books in a very deliberate way, and this is book six. She only has two more, and so she really has to start (BM: "Including this one.") yeah, and book seven ( BM: "Don't get [inaudible], Melissa will write, "Oh my god, there's a book eight!") [Laughter.]

AL: "No, of all people, I know the Leaky Cauldron know what the score is! But, you finally, there are a lot of, there are a lot of answers.[He nods several times] And I think that is the most satisfying thing for fans."

AL: "I guess for me the most satisfying thing is to see the continuing emotional development of the characters. To see them, to actually see them growing up, which is something that, as in with your children, you don't neccessarily notice on an ongoing basis but you have moments that you say, 'Wow,' you know? 'Harry is really growing up,' you know. And it's not something you would have said three books ago [laughter]or when he first got to Hogwarts, or... Gosh, Hermione? (Nods) You know, "YOU GO GIRL." [laughter]

BM: "We knew that from the begining though."

AL: "Right we knew that, but she didnt always - but she's come a long way. So I think the character development is for me, the most satisfying."

BM: "Aren't we lucky? I mean that's the word that always comes into mind, aren't we lucky to have had this experience?"

AL: This may sound odd, but I'm just not that aware of the larger phenomenon. It's not my job to be aware of the larger phenomenon. It my job to be focused on a book, on Jo as the author, and this, the sixth of a seven book cycle. [It's like having the] sense of having been watching an artist paint, but the Sistine Chapel or something like that, and seeing the last bits color going, coming into the picture, finally. ... Espeically the night of [the book release], that has always been the point of that I allow myself to feel that pleasure of seeing kids online, and adults, at midnight for a book."

BM: "Mature worldly kids, and there are tons of worldly mature kids out there and adults who turn around and go go, 'OK, the next Harry Potter is coming out. I'm gonna go back and read the first ones again.' I mean that's so [touches heart] How amazing? How amazing is that?"

AL: "The idea that a pub[lication] date is part of America's cultural awareness is unique. This author has set up this incredibly elaborate puzzle, you know, putting a little piece here, a little piece there and still it's continually amazing that this little tiny minor detail from book two suddenly becomes a plot point - I'm making that up by the way, that's randomly chosen from my head [laughter].

BM: "You never know who the kid, that's the other unbelievable thing, you never know who the kid that is gonna be connected and is so passionate about it. You think you do, but you don't."

BM: "The readers drag you back to that moment of, 'This is why this is such a big deal.' It's the readers, it's the book, it's having the opportunity to have known J.K. Rowling, all that, has been so amazing."

AL, standing with Cheryl Klein, continuity editor on HP: And, the Half-Blood Prince is - [Cheryl clamps her hand over Arthur's mouth and smiles smugly while Arthur reveals the secret behind her hand (or so we think)].