So JK Rowling changed my life. That much is a fact. I am part of the #HarryPotterGen. It’s, like, the one generational marker I care about. I don’t have school spirit (I don’t even know how to say alma mater) but I do bleed blue for Hogwarts. Or green, rather, as I am a Slytherin.
And maybe it’s that part of me–the logical, snarky, suspicious part–that makes me so frustrated with what JK Rowling has been doing to me and my sacred headcanon. Like, I know I owe you everything but can you just…not?
She recently released a backstory on the American wizardry school. And I then endured articles and posts about what house do you belong to and I even took the quiz because, again, Potterhead over here. But I was sorted into some unpronounceable, unrecognizable house that I didn’t have an ounce of feeling towards and it was then I realized…my childhood has been bastardized.
In a clashing of two worlds I dearly care about, I suddenly find myself feeling like Ian Malcolm trying to reason with a world thirsty for dinosaurs. Like, hello:
Is it a perfect parallel? No. Is it still applicable? Damn straight! Because what you call the continuation of a magical world, I call
the rape of the
Just kidding. No time for rape jokes.
The English major in me rankles at the way the author (Her Majesty, JK Rowling) won’t just die. Not literally of course–I mean, I’m not an evil Slytherin. But I could really go a month…or two years…or even the rest of my life without a tweet from Rowling saying “oh actually” and then dropping a bomb we’re just meant to roll over and take because she said so.
No thanks, JK.
And you might wonder, “gee, Shelby, why do you care? Aren’t those books so 2007?” To which I say I WOULD LIKE THEM TO BE! But instead we got Fantastic Beasts, and, sure, that looks magical (if a little white). A behind-the-scenes to a story already in the canon. I’ll sit back and I’ll take it. But then she wrote a play. A non-prequel but definitely a sequel to what she’d already put to page. And after reading various spoilers on line, The Cursed Child is exactly what I feel JK Rowling has become. But I won’t spoil it here because I’m not a monster. And some people are really excited about it and, hey, some people really love it. But to me…it’s like JK Rowling became one of us: she can’t get enough and so she just writes her own fanfiction now. New stories half-baked and maybe ill-conceived; little easter eggs in 140 characters or less; jumping ships and altering lives; even pronunciation lessons nobody asked for.
Remember when she was like “I will never write a sequel this is it this is all you get.” And now it’s like “JK IS MY NAME FOR A REASON MOFOS!”
And you know what? I REBEL.
This is my unpopular opinion: JK Rowling is parsing out her soul into little pieces, her own horcruxes, tiny snippets of a world she can’t leave alone out of fear of becoming irrelevant.
Just…STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO THINK OK?!
But I’m a glutton for punishment. As a Harry Potter nut, I lap it allllll up. If there’s a HP quiz, article, spoiler, or whatever, I open it. So there’s this American school suddenly. I read about it. I get sorted. And…I feel nothing. I read about this poor man’s Hogwarts and all the personality traits of its houses, expecting to feel some kinship like I do to Slytherin. But it didn’t happen. You know why? Because it’s not real.
And I know, I know, Harry Potter’s not real either. But in a lot of ways…it is. That was a revolution. An era. An entire world of wonder and instant nostalgia. I’m rereading them right now and they still hold up. I love that people who read them are having kids now and making their kids read them and so it lives on! For good reason! The story, the magic, the originality and opportunity to escape and disappear into a world that felt tangible and important. That’s what I loved. What I love.
Not the encyclopedic undressing and explaining that JK rolls out in lazy tweets and half-finished short stories. Those are not part of the #HarryPotterGen. That’s just her Frankenstein’s monster. The best, most relevant pieces of herself that she’s trying to milk. And I get the urge. She’s living every writer’s dream, being able to explore a world beyond what fit in her contractually obligated 460 pages. I don’t necessarily think she’s greedy to keep such a stranglehold on her legacy, but I think I’m definitely over it.
Every time I read Harry Potter I don’t want to think well Hermione and Ron don’t end up together irl. I don’t want to finish the epilogue and laugh at Albus Severus Potter like boy you don’t even know what shit’s about to hit. I don’t want to think of who she thought of saving or who she thought of killing, how James felt when he was sorted into Hogwarts or how Trelawney was a bit of a drunk. I don’t want to imagine the American Wizardry school participating in the Goblet of Fire with their stupid names and their stupid banners. I don’t need to know anything beyond those pages and what it felt like when the last one ended, when the final scene closed, and when I was left with the promise that Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.
So stop diverting my attention please.
And I know I have the option to just not care. I don’t mean to drag everyone down with me. But I just had to say something. Because I’m not a Pukwudgie whatever that is. I’m a Slytherin. And, coincidentally, I ship Ron and Hermione so hard I will fight you. So you take your Fantastic Beasts and your Cursed Child and just leave me with the OGs please.
Like, you gave me a gift now let me enjoy it. Death of the Author, ma’am. Leave it be.