Don't Get On J.K. Rowling's Bad Side

Be warned: you definitely don't want to get on J.K. Rowling's bad side, at least according to a new rumor involving actor Stephen Fry. Apparently, when Fry was recording the Harry Potter audiobooks he found out this lesson the hard way. Then again, would we expect anything less from the woman with a proven track record of pointed comebacks on Twitter?

As reported by the Daily Dot based on several online accounts, Stephen Fry recently told a story during a live stand-up show of when he first met the famed Harry Potter author. At that point, the books hadn't yet become the international phenomenon they quickly grew to be, and Fry only knew that Rowling was a children's author with a book popular enough that she was working on a sequel. He rather patronizingly told her, "Good for you."

Years later, Fry was doing the audiobook for Prisoner of Azkaban, the third book in the series, when he came to the sentence "Harry pocketed it," and had some trouble getting it right. To be fair, it is a hard phrase to pull off — try saying "pocketed it" three times fast and see for yourself. After a string of fruitless takes, Fry called Rowling and asked if he could perhaps substitute the phrase "Harry put it in his pocket" instead. Apparently, Rowling "thought for a moment, then said ‘no’, and hung up," according to online reports. And, perhaps coincidentally, the phrase "pocketed it" then appeared in each of the next four books.

Poor Stephen Fry.

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Of course, even if this story is true, it doesn't mean that Rowling put the phrase "pocketed it" in her books just to bedevil poor Fry. Still, in addition to being very, very Slytherin, the move seems consistent with Rowling's modus operandi of not taking insults quietly, which is especially evident on Twitter. Rowling has spoken out in the past about abuse she receives on Twitter, and she also often takes down trolls in 140 characters or less, from Islamaphobes to people trying to body shame Serena Williams to those who don't like Dumbledore being gay to your general misogynists. Whether Rowling felt compelled to take revenge on her audiobook voice actor or not, she is not one to take insults lying down.

As for Stephen Fry, he seems to have managed to get through the challenge alright, and wound up recording audiobook version for all seven Harry Potter books, "pocketed it"s and all.