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Harry Potter creator JK Rowling tells schoolchildren she is scared of spiders

By Auslan Cramb

JK Rowling created a whole world of monsters in the Harry Potter books, but has confessed to schoolchildren that what really scared her was spiders.

She revealed during a tea party to mark the publication of The Tales of Beedle the Bard that she had been afraid of spiders since she was a child.

The multi-millionaire author said she gave the same fear to the character Ron Weasley, and then discovered that Rupert Grint, the actor who plays him in the films, was also afraid of spiders.

“I feel sorry for him, because I kept putting Ron in these situations where he had to encounter them,” she added.

She was responding to questions from 200 excited schoolchildren who were invited to join her for a reading at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Rowling read from one of seven original hand-written copies of the book of fairytales, which was first mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Profits from the eight million copies printed will go to a children’s charity co-founded by the author.

She gave six original copies as a “thank you” to the people who helped her most over the past ten years and gave a seventh copy to the Children’s High Level Group charity to auction.

The author said she decided the book had to be published after Amazon bought the copy for £1.95 million and fans complained that “only someone with £2 million” could afford the tales.

Rowling also revealed, perhaps not surprisingly, that “story writing” was her “best thing” at school, saying: “I used to like it when my stories were read out to the class.”

However, she may have disappointed some Edinburgh schoolchildren when she said that the locations in Harry Potter were not based on any buildings in the city.

“There are no real places that I took for places in the Harry Potter novels. The odd person may have given me the odd idea for a character in Harry Potter, but not really places,” she said.

The CHLG charity was set up to support vulnerable children in Eastern Europe and will make almost £15 million if all the copies of the tales are sold.

They appear in the last book of the Harry Potter series as a volume of wizarding fairytales left to Hermione Granger by the Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore.

They contained clues that were to prove crucial to Harry Potter’s final mission to destroy Lord Voldemort but only one of the five stories, ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’, was recounted in the novel.

The new book contains another four tales and is expected to become the biggest selling book this Christmas.

Original article can be found here at the Telegraph I December 5, 2008

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