Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff: Rowling’s Regrets About Harry Potter

JK Rowling
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Written By: Brianna Gill

Reading fictional stories gives us this inevitable yearning and emotional desire to see the story end in a certain way. When it doesn’t turn out as we, the readers, might have planned, we might find ourselves emotionally distraught or caught off guard for a short period of time. Of course we get over it in little to no time and move on with our everyday lives. But what if we’re writers of fiction? The book or story will end according to our own desires, but can the decisions that we make with a pen and paper come back later and ache at our heartstrings?

Recent interviews with J.K. Rowling tell us that she may have some “serious” regrets about the ending of the Harry Potter series. For those of you who, like myself, have read and reread the Harry Potter novels, the announcement of these interviews probably shook your world a little bit. Questions like “Was Severus Snape really evil after all?” and “Shouldn’t the Horcrux inside Harry have been killed by the basilisk in the second book?” came to my mind. Much to my surprise, however, it turns out that Rowling wasn’t overanalyzing those aspects of the story at all. Of all of the things that she could have been losing sleep over, she was most distraught over the relationships that she put together in the books.

In recent statements that J.K. Rowling has made to the media, she admits “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.”

Really, Jo?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as big of a fan of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels as anyone else in the English-speaking (and now, non-English-speaking) world. But is a slight regret of the relationship between Ron and Hermione really something to get worked up over? Is it really something that needs to be brought to a reader’s attention? All this time I thought Rowling was doing a great job of avoiding any predictable elements in her storyline, when deep down, maybe the predictable relationship would have been the best decision for her personally.

It’s not abnormal for a writer of fiction to form emotional relationships with their fictional characters; when the protagonist struggles, the writer struggles. When the protagonist is conflicted, the writer feels conflicted. Furthermore, if the writer feels that they have led the protagonist in the wrong direction, it’s not irrational for them to feel some sort of remorse. In the same way, a writer of fiction often subconsciously incorporates aspects of their own life into their protagonist and other characters. In that regard, yeah, I can see how maybe Rowling’s own personal feelings may have altered the prophecies of Harry, Ron, and Hermione relationship-wise.

So is it unfair for Rowling to admit that maybe there was a flaw in her storyline along the way? Not at all. Chances are that many, if not most, authors publish a book, but wish that they would have done something different in the storyline after the fact. However, most authors probably wouldn’t have admitted their regrets to their readers. And no, most authors haven’t sold over 500 million copies of their collected novels, creating a crazy, obsessive wizarding epidemic across the planet.

In other words, most authors aren’t J.K. Rowling.

As you could probably guess, Rowling’s confession has caused quite the uproar amongst Harry Potter fans everywhere. For some, Rowling’s statement has shattered everything that fans have known and believed to be “true” for the past 17 years. For others, Rowling’s confession has “Harmonians”––fans of the Harry/Hermione relationship––overjoyed, posting comments on Mugglenet like “To all those people who have sneered, jeered, made fun of us for supporting Harry/Hermione and called us delusional I say this to you. We the ones who stood by the Harry/Hermione ship are now having the last laugh at you.” Sounds a little intense, but these fans mean business.

Obviously fans are going to have their fair share of opinions about this matter, but I have to ask “why is this important?” Regardless of whether Ron and Hermione end up together or not, the complex, 4100-page series offers so much more than a love triangle. Honestly, the back and forth, Ron vs. Harry arguing all sounds a little too Twilight-esque. Next thing you know, Hot Topic will start selling t-shirts that read “Team Harry” and “Team Ron” as though they aren’t on the same team.

REMINDER: They are.

That being said, maybe J.K. Rowling chose to make her confession because she really needed to get it off her chest, or maybe she made the confession to give the ever-popular series a little more attention. Either way, don’t sweat the small stuff, Jo; your books are so much more than an overly-criticized epilogue and a love triangle gone wrong.


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