Correction appended, Dec. 15
J.K. Rowling had few qualms about killing important characters in the Harry Potter books but she has revealed she regrets allowing the death of one of her creations.
In a new short essay uploaded to the Pottermore website, Rowling describes her guilt at killing one minor character: Florean Fortescue.
Fortescue, the owner of the Diagon Alley ice cream parlor, first meets the boy wizard in the third novel, The Prisoner of Azkaban, when he gives Harry Potter free ice creams. He is mentioned again in the sixth book, The Half-Blood Prince, when Bill Weasley says that Fortescue, a “good man” was “dragged off” and later killed by Voldemort’s servants, the Death Eaters.
On Pottermore, Rowling writes: "I seemed to have him kidnapped and killed for no good reason. He is not the first wizard whom Voldemort murdered because he knew too much (or too little), but he is the only one I feel guilty about, because it was all my fault."
Rowling adds that she had originally planned for Fortescue to be the "conduit for clues" to help Potter in his search for the deathly hallows in the final book but she found a better character to play that role. "The problem was that when I came to write the key parts of Deathly Hallows I decided that Phineas Nigellus Black was a much more satisfactory means of conveying clues," she writes.
This essay is the latest addition to the Pottermore Christmas series, in which new pieces of writing and surprises are being uploaded to the site over 12 days.
Correction: The original version of this story misstated which book Fortescue is mentioned in again. It is the sixth book, The Half-Blood Prince.