COUTESY PETRA GRIMM
Maya Grimm of Maui was one of 12 from the audience selected to ask author J.K Rowling a question at Carnegie Hall.
Hawaii winners recall magical night with ‘Potter’ author
Not exactly off to see the Wizard, down the yellow brick road, but hey, it comes close. For one enchanted evening, 1,000 hard-core Harry Potter muggles chosen in a Scholastic Books contest held court with author J.K. Rowling.
One catch: It was held in Carnegie Hall, as in New York City. Hawaii winners Maya Grimm, 8, Jason Miwa, 21, and Karen Newman, 49, each with one guest, had to get from here to there on their own.
And so they did, gladly. "It was fantastic!" said Newman, of Honolulu, who once lived near Carnegie Hall and still had friends in the area. "It was a mixed audience of all ages. With so many adults, Rowling was a little more candid."
As in revealing that Dumbledore is gay?
"The audience went bananas! They erupted into cheers and applause. I was dumbfounded because I didn't see it coming."
Miwa not only considers Rowling "a great author, exciting and easy to read," he was excited by the magnificence of Carnegie Hall, "the nicest place I've ever seen."
"I thought Miss Rowling was very nice and personable, and I'm a huge fan. I've read her books multiple times. The evening was terrific and I'll always remember it."
Although Petra Grimm and daughter Maya live in isolated Hana, Maya has visited Petra's native Europe and already prefers Paris to New York. As for Petra, the Carnegie Hall event "was the best time I ever had, I must say, and I used to be a fan of rock-band shows."
Rowling is "the most aware, extremely funny, confident person. She's great, that woman," said Petra. "She read half a chapter and brought the characters totally to life, very funny and sad at the same time."
"My favorite parts were when she was reading and then when she was signing," said Maya. "She signs so fast! And she changes her voice for each character."
"Amazing woman, the way she handles it," said Petra. "She's grown into her role in life the way Harry grew into his in the books."
"She's a genius. Amazing to chat with her and realize she's a billionaire, and she's working like crazy to sign 2,000 books in an hour," said Newman. "And she did it. They had it down to a science, and after she signed a book, the Scholastic people put a 3-D sticker on the page to authenticate the signature."
Maya was one of 12 chosen out of the audience to ask Rowling a question, and Petra marveled that her little girl did so calmly in front of a couple thousand people. And a good question, too. Here's the transcript:
QUESTION: In the "Goblet of Fire," Dumbledore said his brother was prosecuted for practicing inappropriate charms (Rowling buries her head, to laughter) on a goat; what were the inappropriate charms he was practicing on that goat?
ANSWER: I think that he was trying to make a goat that was easy to keep clean (laughter). That's a joke that works on a couple of levels. I really like Aberforth and his goats. But you know Aberforth having this strange fondness for goats -- if you've read book seven -- came in really useful to Harry, later on ... so, that is my answer to YOU.
So, you don't have to look behind the curtain to find the Wizard. She's making magic right there on center stage.