Setting up an interview with Harry Potter’s foul nemesis was, shall we say, not easy. His CAA agent was no help, and repeated inquiries to the Ministry of Magic, an unbelievably Byzantine bureaucracy, went unanswered. Finally, though, through a mutual acquaintance in the book business, a meeting was arranged. Voldemort insisted on Balthazar, his favorite New York brasserie, where he maintains a running tab with no objection from the terrified management. He was already seated at a choice banquette, a half-bottle of Côte-Rôtie at hand, when I arrived. Strangely, despite his loathsome appearance, no one seemed to be paying him any attention. As I nervously sat down, I had no inkling how brief our conversation would be.
MTV: Thank you for doing this, Mister, uh…what shall I call you?
Voldemort: Avert your eyes.
MTV: I beg your pardon?
Voldemort: I said avert your eyes. I am He Who Must Not Be Seen.
MTV: I thought it was He Who Must Not Be Named.
MTV: Okay. Well, how do you prefer to be addressed?
Voldemort: I am Lord of the Dark Regions, Patriarch of the Abyss, Hierophant of the Black Rite…
MTV: That’s kind of long for —
Voldemort: Call me Tommy.
MTV: Okay. Now, in this new Harry Potter book —
Voldemort: Voldemort book.
MTV: I’m sorry?
Voldemort: This new Voldemort book. Don’t believe the hype.
MTV: In this new, uh, book, the Harry-versus-Voldemort story comes to an end, doesn’t it?
Voldemort: For one of us it does, yes.
MTV: Can you tell me —
Voldemort: Potter dies, of course.
MTV: And you?
Voldemort: I become the new Headmaster of Hogwarts.
Voldemort: Do you have a problem with that?
MTV: But how could it possibly work?
Voldemort: I’ve made some changes.
Voldemort: Well, all of the classes will henceforth be taught by my Death Eaters.
MTV: Good Lord!
Voldemort: Yes, I think so.
MTV: I suppose you’ve done away with Defense Against the Dark Arts?
Voldemort: Not at all. I’ve simply installed a loyal follower who’ll cleanse that course of its liberal bias.
MTV: And that would be …?
Voldemort: Hermione Granger.
MTV: What?! I don’t believe you!
Voldemort: What fools ye mortals be, truly.
MTV: Any other changes?
Voldemort: Well, I’ve turned Hagrid’s cottage — what a pit, by the way — into a sports bar. Tommy’s Place, I call it. There’s a happy-hour special for Muggles every Wednesday: drinks half-price, departure doubtful!
MTV: You’re creeping me out.
Voldemort: Thank you.
MTV: How do you feel about this being the last book in the Potter series?
MTV: This is it: the end, finito. Jo Rowling says there’ll be no more books — no more Potter or Voldemort.
Voldemort: That Mudblood tart! Who does she think she is?
MTV: Well, she created you, for one thing.
Voldemort: Watch it.
MTV: I mean she told your story. But now it’s over.
Voldemort: Rave on, worm. My story will never be over. There will be many more books.
MTV: But if Harry Potter’s dead …
Voldemort: They’ll be better books. They’ll be Voldemort books!
MTV: Whoa — Okay, okay. I think that does it, actually. Any final thoughts for Potter fans?
Voldemort: Meet the new boss, baby!
MTV: Thanks, Tommy.
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