Your Universe Belongs to Us Now, So Shut Up and Spend Your Money

Disclaimer: I’m not a Harry Potter fan. Haven’t read any of the books. Have seen some of the movies and thought they were all right. But I can’t ignore this. It is getting too big. Or at least annoying.

A few days ago, author J.K. Rowling revealed a juicy bit of Harry Potter backstory when she told a reporter that Albus Dumbledore is gay.

That news was greeted by me with some eye rolling, but I put it aside and forgot about it. After all, an author in her position needs to do a little headline grubbing to make sure that the books keep moving off the shelves, especially when there are two movies yet to be made. Although this isn’t exactly the way I would have gone about doing it, especially when the Harry Potter series is supposed to be a done deal, but that’s just me.

But apparently this isn’t the first time she has spilled aftermarket information about the Potterville. She’s also dropped hints about what some of the characters do in life after Hogwarts. I know that a writer’s head is full of their little worlds, including a lot that never gets included in the finished product. However, Ms. Rowling is supposedly working on two separate book projects right now, and her mind is supposed to be on those. The Harry Potter universe is finished, according to her.

I’ve been through this. There’s a lot of stuff I didn’t put in my books that was cool. I even know what happens to some of the characters after the events in a given book – and at least one character has one more book full of adventures that will probably never be written. Deciding which part of the story to tell is a part of the creative process.

But it sounds like J.K. has either not had a lot of experience in dealing with rabid fans (“What was the combination to Kirk’s safe in episode 26?”), or else she feels compelled to spill details before and after the seven books take place. Either that or she has gotten an inflated sense of her own importance as author of these books, and feels compelled to trickle out more details – especially if it’s a slow news day and the press keeps asking.

A shame, because what she’s done two things. She’s started the wheels of disenfranchisement turning within her fan base, and she has opened the floodgates for Potter-themed slash fiction. Not saying that there wasn’t any before hand, but her current behavior is almost inviting it. She’d better not complain about it.

If she’s going to keep doing this, she needs to do either one of two things. First, she could go the Tolkien route, shaping all the outlines, notes, and cocktail napkin scrawlings into a book of pre- or post-history. That would be better than tormenting fans like she is and put more money into her coffers (not that she needs any more, but you get the point).

Second, she could just plain shut up.

I know which one I’d prefer.

Meantime, here is an insightful piece from the Dallas News about the whole subject that pretty much sums up my feelings about the situation.

By the way did you know that Andy Birch…


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