J.K. Rowling’s Airport Voodoo That She’ll Do Do

Thanks to some schmoozing at the airport — or perhaps black magic spells cast on TSA agents — the next Harry Potter manuscript is safe.

National security may have been compromised, and protocols were ignored, but millions of obsessive fans will breathe easier, knowing that author J.K. Rowling was allowed to bring her manuscript on board her flight to London. This was back in the heady days of the complete prohibition on carry-on luggage to and from the UK.

    Had security agents not relented, she said on her website, she might not have flown, she said in a posting dated Wednesday. “I don’t know what I would have done if they hadn’t — sailed home probably,” she wrote.

As long as she doesn’t sail with Carnival, that is…

Rowling says she won argument with U.S. airport security to take ‘Potter’ manuscript aboard [USA Today]

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  1. Greyseeker says:

    Ok. If *I* had something like $2 billion dollars or whatever her net worth is, I don’t think I’d be flying commercial. I kind of think I would have my own jet so that exactly this sort of thing doesn’t happen…

    But that’s just me.

  2. Brianron says:

    I thought TSA has a ban on self-important people.

    I can just picture her on the plane, manuscript held tightly to her chest, eyes flashing side to side, scanning for undercover manuscript-thieves, not daring to put it in the overhead bin. Refusing all food and drinks because that would require her to take one hand off the manuscript. Oops, I’m sorry, THE HARRY POTTER MANUSCRIPT.

  3. Brianron says:

    I thought TSA banned self-important people from all flights.

    I can just see her in her seat, manuscript hugged tightly to her chest, sweat running down her forehead as her eyes flashed quickly side-to-side scanning for manuscript thieves, refusing all food or drink because that would require her to take one hand off her manuscript. Oops, I’m sorry. I mean THE HARRY POTTER MANUSCRIPT.

  4. Paula says:

    If I were like the second richest woman in the UK I’d be winning arguments against the TSA aaalll the time

  5. creamsissle says:

    This makes me hate the series even more.

    As I understand, they initially refused to comply with her request…but then caved in once she threatened to cast a spell, turning them all into toads. Sadly, her Nimbus 2000 didn’t fit in the overhead bin and had to be checked.

  6. LafinJack says:

    I can just see her in her seat, manuscript hugged tightly to her chest, sweat running down her forehead as her eyes flashed quickly side-to-side scanning for manuscript thieves, refusing all food or drink because that would require her to take one hand off her manuscript. Oops, I’m sorry. I mean THE HARRY POTTER MANUSCRIPT.

    You laugh now, but you forget that her paranoia is warranted because her fans are even crazier than she is.

  7. acambras says:

    Oh, I don’t know… I’m not a Harry Potter fan (don’t care one way or the other, really), but if I’d been working on a project for months, I’m not sure I’d want to put it into my checked bags. Just like people put jewelry, medicine, and anything else they can’t afford to lose in carry-ons, I’d want to carry on the manuscript, too.

    I hate self-important people more than anything, but I can see where Rowling is coming from with this one.

  8. Caged Wisdom says:

    I can’t believe people are making a bigger deal about Rowling’s reaction than about the idiotic situation she was in. I don’t claim to be a Homeland Security expert (unlike the Cracker Jack government employees running the program and ex-McDonald’s employees manning the metal detectors), but how does a bundle of paper represent a security threat? Why was this even an issue for Rowling in the first place?

  9. RandomHookup says:

    Something doesn’t smell right about this. AFAIK, the TSA was never stopping anything new except liquids/gels when the alert went up. I understand that the UK authorities were not allowing ANY carry on items, including books, for sometime after. Could be the random “make up a rule on the spot” screener, but it smells fishy.

  10. …the TSA was never stopping anything new except liquids/gels when the alert went up. I understand that the UK authorities were not allowing ANY carry on items, including books, for sometime after.

    Shouldn’t the rule be applied to flights going to the UK as well? It would defeat the purpose of banning carry on items if they allowed planes from outside to country to come in with carry on items. Not that I agree with banning paper, I’m just saying that if they have that rule it ought to include flights coming into the country.

    Regardless, who in their right mind would check an item worth millions of dollars, especially something that can’t be replaced.

  11. Chouldn’t she have just put the manuscript on one of those nice little thumb drives and printed it off when she got there?

  12. “Shouldn’t the rule be applied to flights going to the UK as well?”

    Well, the point at the time was that the terror cell in question (or at least the terror morons in question; I don’t know if they were organized enough to constitute an official cell) was based in the UK and was targeting flights originating from the UK (and going to the US).

    Because these cells are geographically local and have extremely limited contact with other cells (part of why al Qaeda is so successful at avoiding eradication), the immediate threat was considered basically exclusive to UK-to-US flights. Other UK-originating flights were included because otherwise the thwarted UK-to-US terrorist might get on a UK-to-Paris flight and pull the same trick.

    I just flew through Heathrow and for all the whining UK-based airlines using Heathrow have been doing about inconvenience to passengers with ongoing restrictions and tougher security and longer lines, it really wasn’t that bad (except for the place where we had to stand in a massive security line with 800 of our closest friends and the AIR CONDITIONING WAS NOT ON. People who have been on planes for 8 to 16 hours and are standing in a security line in a very warm room to connect to ANOTHER plane DO NOT SMELL GOOD.) It was a helluva a lot more efficient and thorough than U.S. security at the post-9/11 general threat level.

  13. Chouldn’t she have just put the manuscript on one of those nice little thumb drives and printed it off when she got there?

    Jo writes long-hand.

    …a large part of it is handwritten, and there was no copy of anything I had done while in the US…

    the immediate threat was considered basically exclusive to UK-to-US flights.

    Ah, ok.
    In that case, maybe the screener wanted to sneak a peek at what she’s written so far.