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J.K. Rowling settles that Stephen Fry petty revenge tale once and for all

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As a Harry Potter fan, you may have read a tale of “petty revenge” featuring the books’ author, J.K. Rowling, and Stephen Fry (V for Vendetta), the narrator for the U.K. edition of her series’ audiobooks (Jim Dale narrates the U.S. edition) in which she gets back at him after he’s “condescending” to her during the recording process.

But as the author stated on Twitter on Tuesday, the whole thing isn’t true at all.

“Good story, but it isn’t true!” Rowling clarified. “Stephen Fry wasn’t condescending, he was completely lovely, and the phrase isn’t in four books!”

As the story went (detailed in the tweet above), Fry hadn’t read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — or Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone if you live across the pond — so when he came in to record his audio narration for the first book and Rowling told him she was writing a sequel, he’d supposedly responded, “Good for you” in a condescending manner.

However, as the now-debunked story continues, years later when the book series was already quite popular, Fry later ran into a small hiccup while recording the audiobook for the third book in the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The QI host had some trouble pronouncing the phrase, “Harry pocketed it.” Instead, he’d keep saying “Harry pocketeded it” unless he attempted to say it very, very slowly.

So as the now-fake story goes, Fry called Rowling and asked her if he could say, “Harry put it in his pocket instead, to which Rowling said no and hung up, before going on to include that specific phrase in each of the next four books.

The tale was first related by two different Reddit users waywardwoodwork and Wolfpony a year ago, after they’d attended one of Fry’s live stand-up shows where he’d first relayed the story. Since then, the tale has spread like wildfire throughout the Harry Potter fandom and the rest of the Internet, in large part thanks to the Tumblr “Petty Revenge Stories” which first shared the story, with many people seeking to determine its veracity. But now, thankfully, Rowling has now publicly settled the matter.