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Anne Rice answers some pop-culture questions

Anne Rice at book signing
Anne Rice at book signing

Over the past three years, the “Anne Rice Examiner” has asked the iconic author of over 30 novels including “The Vampire Chronicles”, “The Lives of the Mayfair Witches” and her latest “Prince Lestat”, scheduled for release October 28th, 2014, literally hundreds of questions on any number of subjects.

Her answers, no matter the topic, are always honest and straight to the point and, rarely, has she chosen not to respond.

Lately, on her widely popular Facebook page, Anne Rice has posted her fondness for the Harry Potter movie series, as well as, recommending other movies and books she feels her fans and followers might enjoy.

Always eager to share her opinions on a variety of pop-culture topics, the “Anne Rice Examiner” decided to ask the author some of our toughest questions to date, such as, “Should Harry Potter have been told he was the last horcrux?” and “Should Hermione have wound up with Harry or Ron?"

Here are her answers:

1 - Do you think movies that are written based on novels are better when the script is written by the author?

I have no real opinion on that. The script for "Rebecca" 1940 was a masterpiece and it was not written by the author of the novel. Same with "Gone with the Wind" which satisfied generations of book lovers and film lovers. For me, it's a matter of doing justice to the novel, being faithful to what makes the novel great or famous or memorable or worth adapting. And the best script writer is the one who respects the material and respects the audience. Could be the author. Could be somebody else.

2 - Do you appreciate a movie more when it strictly adheres to its source material no matter how long it might be?

Not necessarily. I expect a film based on a book to be a great film; and that often means condensing the material, and I respect that. "Gone with the Wind" leaves out a lot. But it works. Apparently the "Harry Potter" movies work and they leave out a lot. All changes and all condensing has to be done with great respect for the goals of the underlying work. I think that is what matters. I love David Lean's "Great Expectations" and he had to leave out a lot from the original Dickens novel. The real key is understanding what can be changed and what can't. ---- I was very blessed that John Wilder wrote the script for the miniseries of my novel "Feast of All Saints." He was faithful to the book; and when he added material he added material that was in the spirit of the book. He understood the book so well.

3 – Who is your favorite fictional literary hero and heroine and why?

Pip in "Great Expectations" is my favorite hero. Jane in "Jane Eyre" is undoubtedly my favorite heroine.

4 – Many of your books deal with the question of good and evil; why are you so fascinated by the true nature of both concepts? Do you believe it is impossible to be truly good or truly evil and why?

I'm not sure we can ever know why a topic or theme obsesses us. No matter what I write, I end up talking about good and evil, and the complexities of determining what they are. And I do think that most human beings are mixtures of what we call good and evil. A fiction that betrays that complexity has never been of interest to me. ---- What drew me into the Vampire Chronicles was the mystery of how Louis, my vampire alter ego, could be good, yet bad. Same with Lestat --- whom I see as heroic. The longer I live, the more I experience, the more I question the value of the word, "evil." I think we use it to describe others, especially those who hurt us. That's not really a responsible thing to do. As a society, I think we need to be more specific about the behavior of those whom we fear or oppose. Calling people "evil" just doesn't really work anymore. ---- This does not, at all, mean that I am a relativist. I'm not. And frankly, I've never met a real relativist. We all have a deep sense of right and wrong, and we should. But "evil?" We're worn out that word cursing those who compete with us for resources, or do destructive and damaging things to us. We need some new language if we are ever to understand "evil." --- For centuries we've seen biological death as "evil," telling ourselves "the wages of sin is death," and indulging in talk of a "Fallen World" and "Original Sin" which somehow resulted in "Death" but what does all this amount to? We all die. Biological death is part of the evolving physical universe in which we live. Has it been good for us to speak of a natural process like "death" as "evil?" I don't think it's good for us now. I can conclude that much.

5 – Who are some of your favorite fictional evil characters and why?

Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights" is certainly one of my favorites, but I don't really think Heathcliff is irredeemably evil. I love the complexity of the character. Frankly, I don't much like totally "evil" characters. I don't tend to find them interesting or believe in them. I'm much more interested in characters who have a complex backstory and a deep psychology.

6 – You recently mentioned that you had a marathon viewing of all the Harry Potter movies, in your opinion, was Dumbledore right or wrong for keeping Harry as a “sacrificial lamb” necessary for the ultimate destruction of Voldemort, without telling him even as he got older?

I don't really feel qualified to say. I haven't read the books yet. I do not know. I can't say I liked that revelation very much as I was watching the film. I suppose I found it disappointing. But I don't know. I was deeply impressed with the films, with the great imaginative world that J.K.Rowling had created. I didn't really question what was happening so much as I absorbed it.

7 – Do you agree with the fairly recent announcement by JK Rowling that Hermione should have been with Harry and not Ron? Why or why not?

I'm not familiar with the announcement. As I said above, when I watched the movies, I did not question much what happened. I was swept up in the world J.K. Rowling had created and I loved her vision and her characters. But I will tell you this: I personally wanted Harry to be with Hermione, and I was certain that they would be together, and I was a little disappointed that they didn't come together. But this was minor for me. I believe in fully respecting the author's choices in such matters. On the other hand, well, I really was pulling for Hermione and Harry to be together. This reminds me of what happens in Dickens' "Great Expectations." Dickens didn't think that his main character Pip deserved to have Estella, his childhood love, and so he wrote an ending in which they were not to be together. When Dickens showed the draft to his friend, Bulwer Lytton, his friend advised against this. So Dickens wrote a second ending in which Pip and Estella do have hope of being together. I, as a reader, always wanted Pip and Estella to wind up together. The second ending is the only one I accept.

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