C’mon, Joanne Kathleen, no takebacksies: An open letter

Dear Joanne Kathleen Rowling,

Joanie. Honey. Darling. I love and respect you (we all do), but these waves of “revelations” about the Harry Potter series need to end now, before the J.K. in your name really does start to stand for “just kidding,” as I mistakenly assumed it had for a solid 12 years of my life. Pro tip: The time to have unfounded misgivings about character development choices is during the actual writing process.

For those who haven’t a clue to what I’m referring, J.K. Rowling recently let out in an interview that she feels Harry and Hermione should have ended up together, and not Ron, who would, presumably, be left with two options without revising literally the entire series: marry his sister, Ginny (a lovely girl, I’m sure, but something tells me her audience wouldn’t be so receptive to the idea) or to become the most pathetic and red-headed third wheel in literary history. This is not the first time J.K. Rowling has come out and “revealed” something about the Harry Potter universe to which her collective fandom responded “whaaaa?”, though it is perhaps the most consequential. Last time, Rowling decided that we all needed to know that beloved headmaster Albus Dumbledore was, in fact, a homosexual, and the non-bigots of the world responded with a resounding “and this changes, what, exactly?”* This new revelation, on the other hand, is the story-writing equivalent of handing in a test and decades later wishing that on the multiple choice question, “Who was the first president of the United States?”, she had not selected “A) George Washington” but instead “B) Benedict Arnold” because in her later years she identified more with his inner struggle. The story is over and done with, and we liked it the way you wrote it the first time, thankyouverymuch. In the immortal words of aphoristic twitter genius @ninjasexparty, “If you love something, let it go (If it comes back, it is yours. If it does not, it’s probably because you suck).”

Joanne, you’re on the verge of George Lucas-ing, which is to say shaping and enriching my childhood in 30 thousand ways only to spend the rest of your life actively trying to destroy it. Greedo shot first, George? Really? We won’t even get into Jar-Jar Binks, the ’N SYNC cameo that almost happened, the wretched “graphics enhancements,” or the incredibly uncomfortable pseudo-eugenics/elitism discourse that midichlorians as genetically responsible Force creators generates. And we certainly won’t speak of you literally destroying the original Indiana Jones movies. But I digress.

Putting Harry and Hermione together as lovers is ultimately an act of injustice not towards us, but towards Ron Weasley. You, J.K., claim that you put Ron and Hermione together as an act of “wish-fulfillment, for reasons having very little to do with literature and more to do with clinging to the plot as [you] first imagined it,” but the fact of the matter is: all writing is, in one way or another, wish-fulfillment, and personal reasons are no less valid than “reasons of credibility.” Credibility? In a world with magic, dragons, flying cars and wizards, you find the fact that a brilliant, pretty girl like Hermione would love a rambunctious, humble, straight-up human person like Ron, incredible? What is incredible, if we’re gonna talk this talk, is that an orphaned child who has experienced years of domestic and emotional abuse, multiple murder attempts, and unbelievable amounts of stress (having the weight of the entire world on one’s shoulders) would experience not only zero PTSD but also “be able to make Hermione happy in a way that Ron could not.”

You also claim that you had wanted to kill off Ron much earlier but changed your mind. What the hell have you got against the poor pimply bastard? You aren’t George R. R. Martin, and you shouldn’t strive to be. You are the author, you wanted to write it that way, and so you did. A crucial part of Harry and Ron’s developing relationship throughout the years is their grappling with Ron’s insecurity as being neither the destined nor the brilliant part of the trio. In other words, Ron is us. My mother always says (and so does yours, I bet), that when you’re unsure, go with your first instinct because it’s always right. It is. And it was. So Joanne, leave Harry behind, it’s time to move on.


Your dedicated reader,

Joshua Multer


*Aside from the counterproductive detail it adds to Albus’ backstory regarding his (now also sexual) relationship with the dark wizard Grindelwald, as highly personal detail appears wholly out of place in a narrative which otherwise serves as an effective critique of the media’s probing obsession with celebrity figures and simultaneous refusal to acknowledge their basic humanity.

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