Did J.K. Rowing pull a George Lucas?
In a recent interview with Wonderland Magazine, the wizard saga's author says one of the book's central couples, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger (played in the film series by Emma Watson), is together for all the wrong reasons.
"I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That's how it was conceived, really," Rowling says, per London's Sunday Times which published excerpts from the Wonderland interview. "For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron."
But Rowling's second thoughts don't stop there, apparently. In fact, it sounds as if they approach Lucas-ian levels of revisionism. Blares the Sunday Times' headline, "J.K. admits Harry should have wed Hermione." (In the books and movies, Harry marries Ron's sister Ginny; Ron and Hermione end up as husband and wife, too.)
In a tweet that perhaps summed up initial reaction to the Rowling quotes, the Harry Potter fan site MuggleNet.com wrote, "Harry/Hermione WHAT?"
What's behind the outrage? And why — maybe, just maybe — is it wrong? A rundown:
4 Reasons Fans Are Upset
1. They're "mourning the death of [their] childhood." It says so right there in this tweet from an aggrieved reader. The basic gripe: We, the generations of fans who have been reading the books, watching the movies and debating the minutia since as far back as the late 1990s, don't appreciate having our memories messed with.
2. They're stunned, frankly. "In the series, J.K.Rowling hinted so many times Ron and Hermione would end up together ... I think most people were thrown a curveball," says Kat Miller, MuggleNet.com's creative and marketing director.
3. They're tired of being thrown curveballs, maybe. "She's been kind of doing this a lot since the end of the series," Miller says of Rowling. At a reading in 2007, for instance, Rowling said she always thought Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore was gay. (That revelation proved more surprise than outrage.)
4. They think everything was fine the way it was. "Claiming that [Ron and Hermione] shouldn't be together would mean rewriting a large part of the series, and basically all of 'Half-Blood Prince' and 'Deathly Hallows,'" went one fan comment on MuggleNet.com. "In other words, the books would be completely different and in my opinion not as good."
5 Reasons Fans Shouldn't Be Upset
1. Rowling has the right to change her mind. "Authors change their minds all the time after the fact," Amanda Cockrell, director of the children's literature program at Hollins University said via email. "Rowling just has a huge stage on which to announce her second thoughts."
2. She is not pulling a Lucas. The "Star Wars" creator, who has the right to change his mind, too, went far beyond thinking out loud about his artistic regrets: He changed and re-released his movies. At this point, there is nothing to suggest that Rowling's musings are anything more than musings.
3. We haven't read the Wonderland interview in its entirety. It's being released on Thursday. In a post last weekend, MuggleNet.com suggested that fans hold their fire until seeing the Rowling article (which also includes an interview with Watson) in its entirety and in context.
4. Ron and Hermione's marriage wasn't exactly universally blessed. There is, in fact, a subset of Potter fan-fiction writers who reject how Rowling paired off her characters in the epilogue to "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."
5. The Potter legacy will be about the books and the films — and not quotes Rowling gave to a magazine. Today, a kid will pick up "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." She won't have any idea what Rowling said or didn't say to Watson. She'll just read, and if she likes it, she'll read the next book and the next after that. If she ever discovers Rowling's postmortem thoughts, she'll probably consider them a curiosity; she and her generation and the generations to follow will not take comments personally. Says Miller of the current uproar, "This is only going to affect the people who grew up with the books."
Which, granted, is a lot of people.