JK Rowling actually based a serial killer on online trolls

Author JK Rowling. (Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

JK Rowling has based a serial killer in her new book on trolls she ran into on the internet.

The Harry Potter author spoke to NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast about her new detective novel Career of Evil, written under pen name Robert Galbraith.

The writer – who has been candid about online abuse in the past – made a surprising revelation about the source of some of the more disturbing elements of the serial killer’s beliefs.

Host Barrie Hardymon remarked: “The glimpses of the murder we get are terrifying… women are objects, it is some of the worst kinds of misogynistic language that we generally seen – not on the page, but in the news!”

Ms Rowling explained: “I took it from two sources – I don’t mean that I literally copied it down from two sources, obviously I created it – but it was inspired by them.

“One was accounts that [serial killer] Ted Bundy himself left, which I think were among the things that gave me nightmares.

“He was articulate on the subject of how he felt about women and to a degree articulate about what he had done. Reading those accounts greatly informed the perspective of the killer in the book.”

She added: “The other source of this mindset – and it’s very depressing to say it – but literally, with a few clicks of a computer mouse you can find forums, where men do discuss women in exactly these terms.

“To be clear, we are talking about psychopaths – but psychopathy latches onto things.

“I do not feel that way about my own gender, so I needed to do some proper research to understand the language that somebody like that would use.
JK Rowling actually based a serial killer on online trolls
Referring to the author’s passionate defences of equality – including through themes woven through the Potter novels – Hardymon asked: “You have been refreshingly protective about marginalised groups – you’ve called out the misogynistic trolls on Twitter, your previous work [Harry Potter] is about protecting the disenfranchised, and this is a real theme that goes through all your work. Is this another extension of that?”

Rowling said: “I would never have such a grand aim for a detective book! I am happy to think that any book could change any mind, however I’m realistic – the kind of person who could think in these terms is beyond reach.”

JK Rowling recently gave her blessing to the marriage Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore and Gandalf from Lord of the Rings.