Newsletter 1

I Wish JK Rowling Would Leave Harry Potter Alone

Becky Stone

Staff Writer

Becky Stone loves to read stories about princesses who save themselves and firmly believes that a mug of hot chocolate paired with the right novel can solve almost any problem. Becky recently did that thing where you leave your safe, easy job to try to make money doing what you love, and is now a professional jewelry lover and freelance writer. You can find more of Becky at her blog, Diamonds in the Library, where she writes about both jewelry and books. Twitter: @DiamondsintheLi

I remember when the first new story came out on Pottermore. My dad emailed it to me right away, thinking, logically, that getting more of a thing that I love would thrill me.

It did thrill me at first. I had butterflies at the thought of more legitimate, Rowling-written Harry Potter. But for some reason, I didn’t click on the link. I wanted to wait. I wasn’t ready.

I was still waiting when the next story came out. I started to feel a faint sense of embarrassment. Why wasn’t I more excited? Shouldn’t I want more of these characters whose lives I’ve spent so much time reading about? Didn’t I want to know what happened?

With the announcement about the newest post-Potter update, The Cursed Child, I knew for sure: I do not like these sequels. I do not like them, Sam I am.

The question is: why? I love love love the original 7 books, and generally believe J.K. Rowling to be a goddess, but I cringe at the thought of endless Potter postscripts. What’s my problem?

I think the answer lies in my feelings about The Epilogue That Must Not Be Named, from the end of Deathly Hallows. 

That revoltingly idyllic wrap-up tied every loose end to every other loose end in the least imaginative way possible. It felt like Rowling was ending her series by stamping “these characters are mine, don’t you dare imagine what happened to them” all over the previous 7 books. It was a door slamming in the face of the readers’ collective experience, pinning the characters down like butterflies on a display card right when I wanted to be able to imagine them moving on into a world of infinite possibility.

I shudder at the idea that these other additions will be similarly narrow, yet I have trouble imagining the bonus material suddenly becoming amazing after the way it started out.

Here’s another issue (one that exposes the true depth of my book nerdery): how am I supposed to explain all the extra Potter bits to my theoretical future children?

It used to be simple: I would introduce them to the Harry Potter books one at at a time, at the appropriate ages, while moving heaven and earth to ensure no one showed my precious babies the movies until they had already experienced the entire series on the page.

Do I tell them about the Pottermore stories and the play? For that matter – is the play going to be immortalized anywhere, or is it a limited opportunity peek into the Potters’ future? WHAT ARE THE RULES HERE?

I think the core of the issue is this: every addition to the Potter cannon changes my relationship to the series as a whole, and I don’t want that to be changed. I liked things how they were. I’m afraid of the magic becoming diluted.

I would genuinely prefer to be excited about the additional Potter stories. It would be much more fun than this cringing, shame-and-embarrassment response. But I just can’t get on the bandwagon.

I don’t want Harry to have married his high school girlfriend. I don’t want there to be a child named Albus Severus and I don’t want him to be cursed. I am now going to put my fingers in my ears and hum.

Is anyone with me?