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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 July, 2005, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
Chancellor praises Potter books
Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown praised JK Rowling's literary 'success story'
Chancellor Gordon Brown has said the Harry Potter books are one of Britain's "greatest exports".

"I think JK Rowling has done more for literacy around the world than any single human being," he added.

Mr Brown said that the character he would most like to be was Harry Potter, due to his courage and intelligence.

The Chancellor was interviewed by ITV for a programme to mark the sixth book's release, as was Secretary of State David Blunkett.

'Went through hell'

Mr Blunkett, Work and Pensions secretary, said he would like to take tips from Harry Potter on coping with women.

"When he does, perhaps we can learn from it," he said.

Promotional material for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The sixth book goes on sale at midnight on Friday night

Mr Blunkett added that he would like to see Potter's friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley become an item and would most like to be Sirius Black, a character which died in the fifth book.

"He actually was prepared to sacrifice, he went through hell and he was destroyed in a good cause," he said.

Mr Blunkett is a self-confessed fan of the books, having chosen it as his specialist subject for Celebrity Mastermind.

Meanwhile, a boy in the US has returned a copy of The Half-Blood Prince which was accidentally sold to him.

Sylum Mastropaolo, from New York state, bought the book on Monday morning and returned it to US publishers Scholastic after reading a few pages.

"We're going to do the right thing," said Sylum's stepfather, Mike Muldoon.

"We don't want to ruin it for other kids and take away from the experience of everyone reading it together."

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