Why I Love J.K. Rowling (and Wish She’d Stop Writing Sequels)
This is a guest post from Rachel Brittain. Rachel was raised on Star Wars and Harry Potter and when she just couldn’t get enough of those stories, she decided to start writing her own. She’s dabbled in film, but spends most of her time writing novels and short stories and playing around in her own imaginary worlds. She loves musicals and baby animal gifs and all things geeky. You can follow her writing and random musings at rachelbrittain.com. Follow her on Twitter @rachelsbrittain.
My love for Harry Potter goes way back—like, way back. I started reading about our favorite boy wizard so far back in grade school that I almost can’t remember a time before I knew about Hogwarts and magic and shape-shifting animals. Harry Potter helped me discover a love of words that turned me into an avid reader and set me on the path to becoming a writer. I’ve gone to Wizarding Worlds and played Quiditch on the playground and gone to midnight premiers and been sorted (proud Gryffinpuff, thank you very much). So when I say my love of Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling is deep and enduring, I mean it.
But I really wish she would put the world of Harry Potter to rest.
I know, I know, Potterheads around the world are either grabbing their torches and pitchforks to come find me or nodding emphatically at their computer screens. I get it. We Potterheads are a passionate bunch, but hear me out.
I loved the original series, and I waited up solving all those middle-of-the-night clues to get early access to Pottermore, but eventually some things started to just…lose their glow. I loved learning about character backstories, but then information about some of the other wizarding schools just didn’t sit right with me. I grew up reading Harry Potter fanfic and imagining my own scenarios for what magic might look like for the next generation. And I’m sorry but one Wizarding School in America? That’s just not happening, my friends. There are way too many cultural divides in this country, and you also cannot convince me for one second that America would have the same kind of secrecy laws. Just look at our debates about gun control, and I think you’ll start to get the picture.
And then came The Cursed Child. Look, I’ll be honest, I kind of expected to hate it. I got the hardback version of the screenplay for my Dad’s birthday and read it before wrapping it up for him, and, because my expectations were so low, and because I had read a lot of the issues people had with it (it reads too much like fanfiction, the characterizations are out of left field, etc.), I actually wound up liking it more than I expected. It wasn’t anything spectacular, and most of the complaints people had were valid, but it wasn’t terrible either. But another admission? I don’t really hold it as canon. Yeah, yeah, I know, JKR herself has said it is, but guess what? I was an English Major. I read Barthes, okay, and this is one of those times when I am wholeheartedly sticking with “The Death of an Author.” (Which is not nearly as morbid as it sounds, I promise.)
And almost a year after it was released, I still haven’t watched Fantastic Beasts. I’m sure I will at some point. I’m not opposed to seeing it or anything, but the fact that I wasn’t anxiously awaiting its release, the fact that I’ve had opportunities to see it since and haven’t leapt at them—well, I think that’s pretty telling.
I still love Harry Potter, and I’m always going to get excited about things related to the original series. Maybe someday I’ll even get excited about some of the sequels—and, hey, I definitely wouldn’t turn up my nose to an actual prequel series about the Marauders written by Rowling—but in the meantime, I’m content to reread my faded Mary Grandpré editions and remember that the little boy wizard who sparked my love of stories will always be with me. Until the very end.