April 6, 2016

We Need to Talk About Harry Potter

When I was a kid, my favorite books to read fell into the fantasy genre. One day, in the 7th grade, my mom brought a book home about a boy who finds out he's a wizard and heads off to wizarding school in London.

I was hooked. Harry Potter became a defining piece of the next 9+ years of my life. I was in 7th grade when I read The Sorcerer's Stone and in my third year of college when "The Deathly Hallows" was released.

The first film adaptation of "The Deathly Hallows" came out the night before I ran my first marathon and I booked tickets in a theater in Philadelphia so that I could see it right away.

I followed the books and films religiously, desperately speculating on what would happen next to Harry and his friends.

Lately, though I'm tired of it. I've been wanting to reread the series for awhile now but I can't bring myself to because J.K. Rowling is ruining it.

It seems like every two months, J.K. Rowling comes out with some new, world-changing "fact" about the series and it's getting old.

She needs to let it go. She needs to stop tweeting new ideas and theories and let the audience speculate on their own. I'm thrilled that "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them" is becoming a film. I'd love to see more spinoffs from the film. I would love to see her write a prequel series about the original Oder of the Phoenix. There are so many ways that she can keep the Wizarding World alive without, well, ruining it.

Buzzfeed did an article last year about "new things we've learned" since the final book was released five years ago. So did Time Magazine. Some of those things don't bother me...like Moaning Myrtle's real name, or that Harry's son was sorted into Gryffindor. I appreciate that J.K. Rowling takes the time to respond to readers' questions, but some of the things she says are ridiculous.

For example:

  • Why is Dumbledore gay? Dumbledor's sexuality isn't something that my 12- or even 21-year-old self ever considered. It isn't relative to the story...at all. I don't have a problem with it...but why?
  • Her regret and apology over Fred's death are bullsh*t. She made the decision to kill him. OWN it. She can't come back years later and say that she's sorry about it.
  • On a similar note, her 'confession' that Hermione and Ron shouldn't have ended up together...well, we all felt that way, but again SHE is the one who made that decision. Undoing it now just puts the whole end of the series into question.Why did they all have to marry each other anyway? 
  • Harry became "an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic." Great. Thank you for turning this fantastic wizarding world, which was so more exciting than my childhood could ever be, and telling the world that Harry's adult life is about as exciting as real adult life. I hated the Epilogue of the 7th novel and thought the atrocious film adaptation of it merited how terrible the epilogue actually was, but for her to come out and say that Harry had this tremendously scary and exciting childhood and that now he's just an overworked government employee...well that sucks. 
  • J.K. Rowling played a very heavy hand in the film adaptations. So, why is she now telling everyone that we've all been saying Voldemort incorrectly?

If she really wants to keep the series alive, go backward. Tell us more about James and Lily, Sirius, Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. Personally, I would love to read that story, but as for the original 7, I'd prefer if they were left the way they were.

I really don't know if I'm going to read "The Cursed Child." The Pilot and I are thinking about a trip to London this summer and seeing it isn't high on my priority list. I'm just not that curious about it.

What do you think?
Are you a fan of Rowling's frequent introductions of new story lines?
Are you planning to read "The Cursed Child?"

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