Gary Susman
August 16, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Anyone writing a book about J.K. Rowling’s rare public appearances to drop hints about her final two installments in the Potter saga could call the volume ”Harry Potter and the Tight-Lipped Novelist.” Rowling appeared Sunday at the Edinburgh Book Festival, reading to her fellow Scots a passage from ”Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” just out in paperback. But during a question-and-answer session, she offered a few teasers about Book 6 (”Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince”) and the yet-untitled Book 7.

Actually, Book 7 does have a title, but Rowling said that if she reveals it, ”my agent would have me hunted down and killed,” according to The Scotsman. She hinted that, while Harry will certainly survive to Book 7, he may not make it to the final page. ”Certainly I wouldn’t want to be him — and I know exactly what’s coming next,” she said. As for what that ending entails, she said: ”There are two questions I have never been asked — and I should have been.” One is, why wasn’t Harry’s nemesis Voldemort killed when the curse he placed upon the boy as an infant rebounded against him? The other is: Why didn’t Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore kill Voldemort at their confrontation at the Ministry of Magic? She joked that her husband Neil came up with an answer to the second question: ”That’s because Dumbledore knows that there are two more books to go!”

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