60 Minutes presents a live interview with Harry Potter fan event convenor Bianca Smith.
Interviewer: Bianca, welcome to tonight's interview.
Bianca Smith: Thank you very much for having me tonight.
Raven asks: What is it about the Harry Potter
world that attracts so many admirers?
Bianca Smith: The depth of the stories. They can be read on a surface level for younger children, but it goes onto more issues such as sociology and mythology, so you can take it to the level you need. And of course, it's fun.
Tobias asks: How popular is Harry Potter in Australia?
Bianca Smith: Very popular but not as structured as it is overseas. We don't have the massive gatherings and specific get-togethers as they do in USA. We do have smaller events with, for example, at a book launch at Dymocks, 100 to 250 people, and for a trivia night we get about 30 to 50 people.
Thomas asks: The Harry Potter series certainly has changed children's love of reading, do you think that there would be any other series that would have the same impact?
Bianca Smith: Not to the same level. There are other kids' series such as Goosebumps but they don't encourage kids to move on to new levels such as Lord of the Rings and other in-depth classics.
Anastasia asks: What can we expect in the final Harry Potter book?
Bianca Smith: A lot of action, multiple deaths and I'm fairly certain on a happy ending.
bdog asks: is the last book going to be a good book or a letdown?
Bianca Smith: It has to be a good book. Each book has improved on the last. I thought book five was the best, then the next came out. The books were written as a complete series so this book was planned 15 years ago. She wrote out a plan before she started writing Philosopher's Stone.
Foso asks: What do you believe will happen in the next book?
Bianca Smith: Well of course all the horcruxes will be found. Harry will live and Snape will die.
princesspotter asks: Do you think JK Rowling will ever visit Australia?
Bianca Smith: Hopefully. Now that she has finished writing she should have more time and we can always keep writing letters and asking her to visit.
Quirkywitchdiehard4HP asks: do you think that Snape is truly evil, or will be shown for a misunderstood good guy?
Bianca Smith: Neither. He's a typical Slytherin so he's looking out for himself, so he'll eventually side with whoever wins, if he lives long enough.
Benjamin asks: Bianca, which book in the series has been your all time favourite and why?
Bianca Smith: Book six, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This is because it explains so much about the story of Voldemort growing up, Harry and the trio developing so much as characters and it was so sad when Dumbledore died.
Jack asks: Why wouldn't JK Rowling write past the seventh book, even though Harry Potter only stays at Hogwarts for seven years?
Bianca Smith: It was always her plan to just cover his time at Hogwarts and even though the end of the sixth book said he's leaving Hogwarts and it is continuing, it wouldn't be as interesting seeing his "everyday" life. At the moment we are watching him deal with the fact that he is the only one who can vanquish Voldemort and all the action that comes with that scenario.
CJ asks: Do you think Harry will die in this last book and what sort of an impact do you think it will have on fans if he does?
Bianca Smith: Harry won't die in this book, I'm certain of it. This is because the story is about good conquering evil, so we can't have the hero dying. If he was to die, the effect would be massive. So many people were crying over Dumbledore's death and we all love Harry so much more. His death would be an "international day of mourning".
Aberforth asks: How are you planning to overcome the sadness caused by the end of the series?
Bianca Smith: Eat a lot of chocolate and of course, with tissues. The last book may be coming out but the fan base won't die.
misstams asks: what do you think deathly hallows means?
Bianca Smith: The deathly hallows, from looking at translations, very much looks like the Horcruxes. These items are holy and sacred to Voldemort.
Hawkeye555 asks: What do you think the fandom's reaction will be if Harry dies?
Bianca Smith: If he did, everyone would be devastated.
Nick asks: Bianca. Do you know if there are any new characters in the final book?
Bianca Smith: Jo has said there won't be any new major characters, but we will get to meet some of the minor ones and learn a lot more about them. Such as Aberforth.
MelissaKoz asks: Who is your favourite character, out of the entire series (apart from Harry)?
Bianca Smith: Neville. He is so courageous, he has gone through almost as much trauma growing up as Harry and still stands up there and faces whatever gets put to him, and more.
Nick asks: What made you so interested in the fulfilling Harry Potter books and why?
Bianca Smith: It's really hard to pinpoint what it is. The books are well-written, excellent quality and I suppose such a hard-done-by kid conquering all and saving the world is probably everyone's escapism.
Nathan asks: What do you reckon the other two horcruxes are besides the snake, the locket, the cup, the diary, the other three?
Bianca Smith: We don't know for sure the snake is a horcrux, but the final items will each belong to one of the founders. So we will possibly see Gryffindor's sword and Hufflepuff's cup. Also Ravenclaw's possible wand.
Aberforth asks: What do you think influenced Tom Riddle's desire to conquer the world and become immortal? His mother's death?
Bianca Smith: Not necessarily his mother's death. His feeling of persecution and inflated ego. He had decided very early while still in the orphanage that he was special and was better than anybody else. And everything he has done since then is just a game of power he feels he is owed.
Amanda asks: I so don't want to finish the last book because that will be the end!
Bianca Smith: I agree totally Amanda. But as Dumbledore said he "will always be there for those who are loyal to him".
Nimue asks: What are your plans for the deathly hallows release?
Bianca Smith: Starting the day at Dymocks Melbourne and then hiding out in an apartment in the city to avoid any spoilers. I'm not leaving the room until I have finished it.
daniel asks: What' a horcrux?
Bianca Smith: A horcrux is an item that a fragment of someone's soul has been put into. In the story you can't die until all of your soul has been destroyed. If you split it and store it in items thus making horcruxes, then you can't die until each of those fragments has been destroyed.
bee asks: Do you think that Ron and Hermione will get together and if so what will this mean for their friendship?
Bianca Smith: Ron and Hermoine have had a crush on each other since book one. It will only strengthen their friendship because they are meant to be together.
bean92 asks: Where online can I find out more about HP events in Australia?
Bianca Smith: My website is www.hpeventsaustralia.com and we list all our events there. For other events that we are not necessarily involved with there is an international website called www.potterparties.com
Amanda asks: Do you think that Tom Riddle was always evil or just turned evil by people around him?
Bianca Smith: I think he was always evil. He tortured the poor bunny at the orphanage and we don't know what he did to the little boy and girl in the cave. And, he was only a small child then. He is a true sociopath.
bdog asks: Do you think there is any other series that is as big as Harry Potter, or do you think there could be?
Bianca Smith: I think there definitely could be. You see Lemony Snicket was huge and the Narnia series has been enduring. Nothing has been quite as huge as Harry Potter to date.
Bron asks: Do you know if Daniel Radcliffe really has a house in Toorak?
Bianca Smith: Yes he does. I don't know the exact address and if I did, I wouldn't tell.
daniel asks: Why does Voldermort have such a hate for Harry, why would he use his powers for evil?
Bianca Smith: He hates Harry because he knows that Harry is the only person who can vanquish him and kill him. Voldemort uses his powers for evil because he's an evil person.
bee asks: Did you picture the characters the same as what the movies portrayed them as?
Bianca Smith: I first read the books after the Philosophers Stone movie came out, so my thoughts were always influenced by the movie. The trio do come very close to how I think Jo intended them to look. Harry's hair in the first movie isn't quite as messy as it is meant to be, but they come very close.
Aberforth asks: Do you have any suggestions for people to overcome the end of the series? My friends and I are considering group counselling sessions during lunch.
Bianca Smith: Lots of chocolate it works for the demented.
princesspotter asks: Do you think people will forget about Harry Potter after book seven?
Bianca Smith: Not a chance. The books are written so they won't date. The fan base may not be as big but kids will still be reading Harry Potter in two or three generations at least.
Shadows asks: Hi Bianca, Harry Potter doesn't just attract young readers but also old ... why do you think this is so?
Bianca Smith: I think because everyone can see a little bit of themselves in at least one of the trio. Not just Harry but Hermoine and Ron as well. I'm 31 and I wish I had been at a school like Hogwarts. I know a family where it gives them a great chance for them all to read the books together and what great "together" time it is.
EJC asks: What do you most want to see and least want to see at the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Theme Park, Orlando?
Bianca Smith: The idea of walking through Hogsmeade has me saving up for the airfare now. It will be brilliant to have a meal in the leaky cauldron. The only bad part would be the slight commercialisation, but then again it is in a theme park.
Charmed asks: What is your opinion of organisations that ban books like Harry Potter?
Bianca Smith: They do need to be more open minded and let kids and adults have their own thoughts and idea. Many groups have banned the books and unfortunately often without reading them. They are a great fantasy and the kids understand they really won't be going to Hogwarts when they are 11.
zane asks: If you could be one person from the books, who would it be and why?
Bianca Smith: Tonks. She is very hard working, very intelligent, a klutz just like me but very brave. She should be in Ravenclaw.
bee asks: Bianca, are you organising the Harry Potter party at Dymocks in Melbourne and if so, what can we expect?
Bianca Smith: I am working with the team at Dymocks Melbourne for the launch. We have the National Children's Choir performing songs from the movie and there will be lots of dress-ups, giveaways and fun.
nomad asks: Do you know how much input Jo had in the production of the movies?
Bianca Smith: Jo has had a fair bit of input, whenever there are any queries the directors do turn to her for clarification. She wrote the actual scene of Harry's parents dying in the first movie and has made some changes to the others to make them fit with the story.
bdog asks: Bianca, do you think that JK Rowling is going to write another completely different series?
Bianca Smith: She's already working on a picture storybook. She hasn't announced any plans yet. As with the other fans, we are waiting for the encyclopaedia.
Blake21 asks: Is there anything else that you are a fan of, other than Harry Potter?
Bianca Smith: Yes. Sports wise, Formula 1. I shall be watching the French Grand Prix tonight. Also art house movies.
princesspotter asks: I feel like I can really relate to certain characters in the books. Do you ever look at Harry when you're trying to find courage?
Bianca Smith: Yes. Not many people have been as hard done by as Harry. I don't know of anyone else who grew up with their bedroom in a cupboard under the stairs. Who was bullied from birth and still had such a capacity to love.
Interviewer: Bianca, unfortunately we are out of time, do you have anything you would like to say before we finish?
Bianca Smith: Thanks everyone for all your questions and I hope you are all looking forward to the next movie and book as much as I am.
Interviewer: This concludes our live chat with Bianca Smith, July 1, 2007.