J.K. Rowling changed her mind.
Ron and Hermione shouldn’t have ended up together at all. If they did, she speculates, they would have needed some serious relationship counseling.
“I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I’m absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that,” Rowling told the Sunday Times.
While I doubt there’s an author living or dead who has zero regrets on what they’ve written or left unwritten, I guess I just wish Ms. Rowling would quit telling us this stuff.
It’s time, maybe, for her to make like Pontius Pilate and say “quod scripsi, scripsi” – “what I have written, I have written.”
It is finished.
The series is finished. And even though I was a late adopter, I loved it. I re-read each book in the series in preparation for the release of the next. My husband waited in one of those midnight lines to get the hardback copy we’d pre-ordered months earlier. I cried, and I’m not afraid to admit it.
I love Harry Potter. I was a proud, proud mama the day my son finished reading his British copy of the first in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I also understand the pressure on authors to plug their books and play the celebrity. But I wish Rowling would quit ruining the magic of my suspended disbelief by giving all this extra-canonical commentary.
This is where I’m going to sound like a fuddy-duddy and possibly a fundamentalist, although I hope I’m neither. The Christian canon closes with a warning that no one should add to or take away from what’s been written. And maybe that’s sage advice for the novelist too. At least most of the time.
Rowling made a similarly unfortunate extracanonical comment back in 2007, when she declared, before a packed audience in Carnegie Hall that “Dumbledore is gay.” The audience “gasped, then applauded.”
At the risk of unfairly judging Rowling’s motives, I felt irritated at the way she chose to reveal this information after the books were finished. If Dumbledore was gay, why did she keep him in the closet? It seems likely that she did so because neither she nor her publisher wanted to risk the ire — and the possibility of decreased sales — from certain segments of the population. Her books were already controversial among conservative religious circles, who feared (absurdly, in my view) that the books dabbled dangerously in witchcraft.
Declaring Dumbledore’s sexual identity after the fact — without having written it into the books themselves — seems to me like a way garnering approval from one side without risking disapproval from the other. That’s not particularly courageous.
As to the current issue — whether Ron and Hermione really belonged together — I can’t see why Rowling hasn’t left well enough alone…except, perhaps, as a way to bring the books back to people’s attention. We know sales of Harry Potter books are anything but slow, and Rowling herself is still busy writing books, so what gives? Is she bored, or just unwilling to let go of the magical story of her beloved boy wizard?
I don’t know, but I’m ready for the Harry Potter canon to be closed, without any more illuminations from its author. What she has written, she has written. Take a lesson from the Beatles and let it be.