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Dying to ask about Fluffy, Pansy and death

Ailsa Floyd, a third-year pupil at Lochgilphead high school, in Argyll, has won the TES Scotland seat at JK Rowling's press conference in July to launch Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Her application was supported strongly and convincingly by Steven Findlay, librarian at the school, and endorsed by Ailsa's class teachers.

Mr Findlay describes her as an avid reader. He said: "Ailsa has read all the Harry Potter novels several times and says she read the fifth book in 11 hours. At that rate of reading, she would easily be able to finish Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in time to make a useful contribution to the press conference."

Catriona Hood, principal teacher of English at Lochgilphead high, believes Ailsa is an excellent choice.

Ailsa, 14, wants to know if Fluffy is based on Cerberus from Greek mythology. She would also like to know how the author thought up the Hogwarts motto.

Mr Findlay said he has little doubt that by the time Ailsa finishes the latest Harry Potter novel, she will have many more questions that she will be dying to find the answers to.

"While she enjoys her reading and can lose herself in a story to the extent that the outside world doesn't register on her, she is also able to read critically and to think beyond the actual text," he said.

Questions from the Scottish Potter fans who entered the TES competition revealed something of an encyclopaedic knowledge, such as one query from Anita Le Tissier at St Augustine's high, in Edinburgh: "If you were part of the gang that hangs out with Malfoy - say, for instance, Pansy Parkinson - how would you feel after mocking Harry?"

Jaerin Hamilton, a Year 6 pupil at St Ronan's primary school in Innerleithen, Peeblesshire, is keen to ask JK Rowling whether any of the Hogwarts professors resembles the teachers who taught the author when she was at school.

And Christopher West, a Year 7 pupil at Stenhousemuir primary, seemed very anxious about the future. He wants an assurance that nobody else will die in the next Harry Potter novel.

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