In 2007, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released. The seventh book in the series concluded the adventures of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger. The three finished Hogwarts, defeated Lord Voldemort and went on to live happily ever after. In short: series done. With this finale came the expected sadness. The adventures were over and, short of fanfiction, there would be no future installments to talk about with friends. What a horrible existence. Thank god for J.K. Rowling.
Less than four months after she finished with Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling came out to announce the important facts not already covered by her book series. Burning questions were answered and finally everyone knew: Dumbledore was gay. Obviously questions were asked after this revelation by a thankful reading public. Gratitude-filled inquiries like: “What does this have to do with the series?” and “Why did she say that?” and “Who really cares?”. Yes, everyone was happy. J.K. Rowling especially. For an arbitrary declaration, she got to see her name once more decorate the headlines. It was like casting a magic spell.
Evidently J.K. Rowling enjoyed the response to her post-series declarations so much that she decided to do it again. Very recently, the author has come out with new information: Hermione should have ended up with Harry Potter. It’s funny how well those old questions reapply themselves here.
Rowling isn’t the first author to be unable to let go of her beloved creation. Look no further than J.R.R. Tolkien to see an author who became consumed with his created universe. The difference here is: Tolkien kept writing books to expound upon the history of Middle-Earth. What a sucker. J.K. Rowling hasn’t made a significant contribution to Harry Potter in years and her name still keeps making headlines.
True, Rowling could write another book. One shaped by her personal growth and more reflective upon the universe, but that would be too drastic. A book like that would completely change the tone of the series and might, in all likelihood, discard or contradict everything said in previous installments. I mean, no other book in history has done that, at least no other really famous book in history… like really really famous:
Okay but when is lightning going to strike twice?
I know I’ve been really tongue-and-cheek, but a serious comparison does exist here for Rowling. George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, angered his fans for years with constant and continued changes to his creations. Lucas’ defense was simple: he made it, he decides what’s best. But is that true with major works? There is a real argument to be made that creations such as Harry Potter and Star Wars have become bigger than their creators. They have entered the public space and thus: belong to the public.
That same public does not want the change. If J.K. Rowling has new insights to say on Harry Potter then new books should be written. Sequels, prequels (look how well those worked out for George Lucas), just something new. At the moment: no such plan exists. There was a joke released last year that claimed Rowling was working on new installments, but it was just that.
Who knows what the future will bring for Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling. Maybe next year she’ll announce that she regrets writing the fifth book, or that Harry should have ended up with Ron or that she never should have written that unbelievably sappy epilogue to end her series. The good news for the fans is this: Harry Potter won’t change. There is an advantage to books over movies: it’s that much harder to make Special Editions.
One thought on “Leave Harry Potter Alone, J. K. Rowling!”
My wife and I were talking about this, and two things make Rowling different from Lucas in this case:
1) Nothing Rowling said is actually printed in the books, so it can be easily ignored while reading.
2) She has actually admitted she may have made a mistake.
Lucas instead forced the special editions, and never claimed that they or the prequels may have been problematic.
So long as that remains true, I don’t really have a problem with Rowling speculating. I’d be more afraid if she did write her own Simarillion.