Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Harry Potter Imperatives

I’ve been following the Harry Potter Must Die/Harry Potter Must Live debate with mounting irritation. I get the fun of the fan speculation about what will happen in the final volume and I have no problem with J.K. Rowling catering to that by dropping a few hints. But I’m frankly appalled at literary folk issuing imperatives to Rowling, particularly when the spectre of “letting down her fans” is invoked. She’s the author. It’s her book. Let her write the damn thing the way she thinks it ought to be written. We can chew over our responses to what she’s done after we’ve read it. I realize that much of the commentary is intended to be in fun. But even in jest the idea of prescribing how an author ought to proceed with a work-in-progress raises my hackles.

9 comments:

Booklad said...

I agree with you completely, Kate. Not enough common sense (like yours) being used in this situation. It seems that Rowling/Potter have moved into another realm where readers/critics/fans feel they own the author and the book and have some sort of say it it's creation. Didn't Dickens experience something like this with "Little Dorrit"? I remember American fans fighting over the death of a character in that book. Ach, sometimes I just want to go to a cabin with a load of books and just read. But then wouldn't be able to read your blog.....never mind.

litlove said...

I agree! It ought to be a crime to try to prejudice the work of an author. Discuss it when it's done.

Jordan said...

That's such a good point. People are so wrapped up in what "should" happen they're totally losing sight of the fact that it is indeed her work. They don't have to like it, and if she were to write it the "popular" way for that very reason, then shame on her.

Gata said...

Reminds me of the trouble Conan Doyle received when he killed of Sherlock Holmes...he of course caved and used the famous "I didn't really die" response. Would it have been different if he'd hinted Holmes' death before "The Final Problem".

Anyway, the whole Potter thing is too hyped to me anyway. Give me Beatrix Potter anytime.

Stefanie said...

Here! Here! And Amen!

Mr. Faust said...

You might find it odd, but I agree with you, too. I was just using the opportunity of her talking about it as a springboard to discuss the pros and cons of bittersweet endings and whether or not to kill off a protagonist.

Let the lady do what she wants. The way things are going, I probably won't read it anyway.

Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

Exactly...let her write the friggin' thing for goodness sake!

LK said...

JK Rowling should watch out -- someone might hobble her feet and force her to burn the manuscript!

danielle said...

Maybe this is why she wants to kill Harry off and be done with it all! I read that a lady actually smacked Conan Doyle over the head with her purse after he offed Sherlock!