If you have read Melissa Anelli’s book, Harry, A History and you think you know all of the insider information that J. K. Rowling has revealed to the webmistress of The Leaky Cauldron, you’re in for a surprise. Melissa’s website has a section called “Vault 27” in which she has released previously unpublished interviews with J. K. Rowling. In one such interview Rowling revealed the working title of the seventh Harry Potter novel:
MA: One of them was the Hallows of Hogwarts.
JKR: Yeah, well, all those titles were mine.
MA: You just sent a list –
JKR: Yeah, I sent them a list of plausible titles, including the real one. Hallows of Hogwarts for years was going to be the title of the seventh, and it was wrong, just wrong.
MA: They aren’t all of Hogwarts.
JKR: Exactly. It changed completely, so Deathly Hallows was definitely the right way to go. I like the title of Deathly Hallows.
In The Lord of the Hallows: Christian Symbolism and Themes in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, I explained that the term hallows can refer to the shrines or relics of saints. Book seven is esentially a quest novel involving a search for relics.
The numerous parallels between the Grail Hallows of Arthurian legend and Rowling’s Deathly Hallows are discussed in detail in my book. Of particular interest are the Grail Hallows described in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Medieval romance Parzival. This romance involves a quest for a Grail Stone or “phoenix stone” which is a certain type of “stone of resurrection,” a term which alludes to the alchemical Philosopher’s Stone. The Parsival legend also mentions another Grail Hallow– an object of great power–the Holy Lance that pierced Christ’s side, mentioned in John 19:34. In legend it would be renamed “The Spear of Destiny.” The Grail Stone and the Spear of Destiny, of course, have Wizarding World counterparts in the Resurrection Stone and the Wand of Destiny.
Melissa Anelli has given us an intriguing list of fake titles for the seventh Harry Potter book. Just insert “Harry Potter and the” in front of each one:
Heart of Ravenclaw
Quest of the Serpent
Heir of Gryffindor
Wand of Gryffindor
Ring of Destiny
Revenge of Dumbledore
March of the Death Eaters
Return of the Dark Lord
Curse of Nagini
Hallows of Hogwarts
Wand of Grindelwald
Another fascinating excerpt revealed more of Rowling’s thoughts about the conflict between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, especially with regards to the symbolic Christian interpretation of the novels that I have proposed.