Q&A with Paulo Coelho discussion

Witch of Portobello

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message 1: by Vespiglet1 (new)

Vespiglet1 | 2 comments Hi Paulo!

I love your books...I am presently reading The Witch of Portobello, but I am finding it difficult to read. This is the first time that I was not able to eat up your books at once. I read the Valkyries in one sitting, same with The Fifth Mountain.
When I say "difficult", I have trouble defining it. It's not the words or the plot. It's not that I don't like it--I actually do. I'm just having trouble finishing it. Maybe Athena stirs in something really weird...She just seems like such a a character I am having trouble relating to. I'm wondering if others out there feel the same.
I know this is a stupid question you will probably detest, but I just have to ask: What did you think readers will get from Athena? I know, each story has a gift for a particular reader...but just from the creator's mouth, I'd love to hear it.
Sorry and many thanks!


message 2: by Camille (last edited Feb 28, 2008 07:39PM) (new)

Camille | 1 comments Dearest Paulo Coelho,

Thank you for sharing your perspective with the world so beautifully. The Alchemist changed my life and continues to affect my decisions today. It is the only book of yours I had read until I heard of The Witch Experiment. What a WONDERFUL and clever idea! I bought The Witch of Portobello the day I heard of the film project and finished it quite quickly.

I'm like Vesper in the sense that I had a different experience reading this book than reading The Alchemist. My problem was that I was trying to imagine every possible way for the directors to render each of your words on film. That was distracting me from experiencing the book so I had to make myself stop.

I was able to forget about the film adaptation except when I was reading about Athena's sexuality. That's what I want to ask you about.

I wish I could write a whole beautiful book to try to give you an understanding of who I am and my perspective before I ask, but so far that's not part of my personal legend. I'll just say about myself that The Alchemist was part of my realization that I can work to find my personal legend and make it reality and The Witch of Portobello was part of my realization that every one of us has their own personal legend and we all help each other get there. I believe in the idea that it takes a village to raise a child.

Anyway, my question is about the sexuality in The Witch of Portobello. I was completely comfortable reading about Athena's dancing, Andrea and Heron's sexual relationship and even Athena and Andrea's humbling physical nakedness, but because I couldn't stop thinking about the film adaptation in regard to sexuality I was totally distracted.

Words are different than film and I'm extremely cautious to respect sexuality as sacred. Your words gave it that reverence in my mind.

What are your thoughts about reverencing sexuality and paying it the respect I believe it deserves in your writing?

How will you promote your thoughts on this topic in adapting your book to film?

Do you have any concerns about losing your intended meaning in any words pertaining to sexuality in the film?

That turned out to be more than one question. I guess I'm curious about your personal convictions about sex in the media.

It's a touchy subject to me because I believe it's one of the most beautiful and sacred things in the world and part of so many stories in books and films because it's such a deep part of humanity, but it seems to be mocked and disrespected easily.

What are your thoughts about adapting your characters' sexuality to film?

Thank you!

message 3: by Jesse (new)

Jesse (jesseschulman) | 1 comments Dear Mr. Coelho,
First I fell in love with Veronika, and then it was Santiago. But truth be told, Athena was my favorite character. She danced her way into my imagination. The Witch of Portobello is an excellent book, my friend. Definitely one of my all time favorites.


message 4: by Paulo (new)

Paulo (paulocoelho) | 52 comments Mod
Dear Vesper,

I can't predict how readers will react to my characters. You must bare in mind that my characters are mirrors of my soul and that it's magic to see how they might be perceived.


message 5: by Paulo (new)

Paulo (paulocoelho) | 52 comments Mod
Dear Camille,

I don't want to control people's interpretation and I am eager to see how they will adapt the book into the screen.
I trust my readers to be faithful to the message of the book.


message 6: by Paulo (new)

Paulo (paulocoelho) | 52 comments Mod
Dear Jessika,

thank you for your kind message.


message 7: by Vespiglet1 (new)

Vespiglet1 | 2 comments Hi Paulo!

I understand. Perhaps if I would rephrase my question: Who is Athena from your perspective? Perhaps the genius of your work is that you've built her character from a variety of perspectives. I am trying to understand her.

This is also rather personal and I will honor your decision if you should wish to keep mum about it. In "Confessions of a Pilgrim," you mention Aleister Crowley with so much contempt for him. I could not understand why the name sounded so famiiar, but I saw that the tarot cards I have been using (a gift) were made by him. Can you tell me what it was that for you makes him the most evil person of all? I would really like to know but I respect your silence if you should wish. Thank you!


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