An Open Letter To J.K. Rowling

Dear J.K Rowling,

Even as I write this my fingers tremble on the keyboard, my armpits slippery with sweat. How can I, a lowly mortal of the blogosphere, address your divine genius? Yet here I am.

First of all, I want to thank you. I cannot be certain that your writing has made the world a better place, or, indeed, that the written word is capable of such a thing. I can only assure you that your creativity has made my world a little more compassionate, a little more beautiful. You’ve made my life just a little brighter. I thank you for the ways Harry’s anxiety has helped me deal with my own. I thank you for Hermione, who has shown me that being bookish doesn’t mean you can’t also be a badass. Most of all, I thank you for the dedicated fanbase your work has inspired.The Harry Potter fandom has brought me so much joy, so many wonderful friends, and so much more insight into my own creativity and mind. This is something I can never thank you for, because it cannot truly be put into words.

There’s just one teeny tiny thing that I can’t keep quiet about any longer.

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Please, Jo, for the love of Merlin, leave the Wizarding World alone. Stop telling us “what you really meant,” when you wrote this or that. You did a brilliant job on those books, you don’t need to keep dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. As a matter of fact, I’d prefer it if you didn’t.

Stating after the fact that one of your character was gay doesn’t suddenly mean your works were a paragon of progressive thinking and representation. As a matter of fact, I think ambiguously suggesting that a character is LGBTQIA+ is very harmful, but I will write more about that in a future blogpost. What bothers me is that you never stated Dumbledore’s homosexuality in the books. Sure, when you declared him gay in an interview, it was a huge deal to the LGBTQIA+ community and I appreciate that. Also, a lot of bigoted Potterheads were outraged. Now, I’m all for challenging bigoted ideas, but I wish you’d done it more unambiguously. Stating Dumbeldore’s sexual orientation post-books made it much easier for homophobes to disregard the information. I wish you hadn’t commented. I wish you’d have left more of the interpretation to the imagination of the readers.

Recently, a lot of information was released about America’s Wizarding School Ilvermorney. The background and inner workings of the school were released through Pottermore. As a matter of fact, lots of background information regarding the Wizarding World has been made public this way. I wish you wouldn’t keep adding to the story, and if you do, I wish it was in the shape of an actual story.

Of course, the rise of social media is part of the problem. The lines between creator and audience are getting blurred by the internet, so that any author is always, always, capable of changing or clarifying the meaning of his or her works.

John Green: I think in the age of the internet—in the age of social media—it’s just much harder to separate the artist from the art. Particularly when the artist is constantly inserting himself into the conversation on Twitter or Tumblr or whatever. Source.

Jo, your 2014 “reveal” regarding Hermione and Ron’s relationship absolutely takes the cake. You wrote a series of books where romance was not elementary to the plot. None the less, as the series developed, hundreds of fans got mixed up in the debate: should Hermione be with Harry or Ron? I, personally, am a complete Romione shipper and I always have been. So when you said the following in an interview, I was more than a little taken aback.

J.K. Rowling: “I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That’s how it was conceived, really. 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.”

“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. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people’s hearts by saying this? I hope not.” Source.

Please do not say stuff like this about your own work. Don’t say: “I should have written it differently.” Why would you even say that? If you do regret writing a certain plot development, keep quiet about it because it just looks like badly thought-out writing. Also, I disagree with the idea that making a plot decision for emotional reasons is inherently a bad idea. I don’t know about you, but I personally enjoy fiction that’s based on emotions rather than the cold, hard, logic of the real world.

If you do want to change something about the storyline, if, for example, you want to show us that Hermione and Ron’s romantic relationship would be problematic, go back into the fictional world. Write a short story about it, or something. But please don’t just throw around words like they’re facts within the fictional world. It doesn’t work like that.

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Besides, I do agree with you that Ron and Hermione’s relationship would be problematic. They are not, like the stereotypical high school sweetheart couple, incredibly compatible. But they do love each other, and I think there’s something a little creepy about being so compatible with your romantic partner that you don’t need anyone else in your life. That’s an unhealthy level of codependence. *Cough Edward and Bella cough.*

Jk, the only time you said something about the Potter universe that I didn’t find annoying, it was to encourage personal interpretation

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Note how the Tweet doesn’t specify Hermione’s ethnicity. In fact, the phrasing of the tweet encourages each and every individual writer to interpret the words the way they choose to. That’s the kind of authorial comment I can get behind. Please, more of that and less of the “factual” statements.

Just because I’m a huge fan doesn’t mean I can’t be critical. I still absolutely adore you and I greatly admire your work.

Love,

Julia

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