12:00 pm EDT, June 19, 2015

Why J.K. Rowling needs to never let ‘Harry Potter’ go (opinion)

Andrew responds to a TIME article in which someone tries to tell J.K. Rowling what to do.

An opinion piece published on TIME.com this week asks that J.K. Rowling stop sharing new Harry Potter canon.

I’m here to say that is Riddikulus.

The author of TIME’s piece, Tyler Vendetti, asserts that Rowling is taking the magic out of her series by continuing to give us “all” the details that she didn’t offer in the original books even eight years after Deathly Hallows was published.

What Tyler — who doesn’t state if she’s read the Harry Potter series — fails to realize is that Rowling’s Wizarding World is extremely detailed. Extremely. Detailed. It would actually be impossible for Rowling to ever reveal “all” the information about the Wizarding World because it is never ending. The fictional world she created is so detailed in her books that it yields a much deeper world that our imaginations will never know the boundaries of.

There are so many questionable parts to TIME’s piece that I think it’s safe to assume Tyler is not a Potter fan, nor has she ever stepped foot near one.

Let’s review parts of his article:

“Nobody wants to read an extensive biography of an imaginary character. That level of detail isn’t necessary or desirable.”

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Tyler, there’s a site called “Pottermore” that millions of people registered for so they could learn “more” about “Potter.” There’s also an Encyclopedia in the works that will one day see a release, and it’s physically impossible for Harry Potter fans to stop clamoring for it.

“I think you need to stop releasing Harry Potter short stories.”

With that sentence Tyler offered a link to TIME’s report on fictional character Rita Skeeter’s report on the trio attending the Quidditch World Cup post-Deathly Hallows which Rowling published last year. She didn’t realize that neither Rowling nor Pottermore billed that as a “short story” because it’s simply not a short story. It was media outlets like TIME (and, I admit, Hypable) who wanted fans to click on the article, describing it as such to get fans pumped up.


In fact, the only piece Rowling has published which fans could officially consider a “short story” is the 800-word hand-written tale following James and Sirius in their younger years. Tyler addressed that one too:

“Withholding the details of Sirius Black and James Potter’s adolescence, for example, allows readers to speculate alternative narratives and create their own connections. It inspires discussion at book groups and encourages the exploration of character development.”

In other words, it starts a conversation, which is the best thing any book or piece of art can do. Filling in all the details restricts that creative movement.”

A single short story about one night in James and Sirius’s lives — which Rowling penned for charity — does not take away the reader’s ability to “speculate alternative narratives.” It only gives them more to speculate over.

Tyler is the type of person who would ask me “But what do you TALK about?!” after I tell him I host a Harry Potter podcast with 278 episodes (279 after this weekend!).

“If you’re going to grow as a writer and as a person, you need to keep your eye on the future and not dwell on the past. You need to challenge yourself to create new places, new stories, and new ideas.”

Look, I don’t think Rowling needs any life tips. She has her life and career on lock.


A sample of Rowling’s notes from the planning of her series

In fairness, the author of TIME’s article isn’t the only one who thinks Rowling needs to stop it with the random Harry Potter factoids on Twitter, Pottermore, etc. There are many people, including genuine fans, who think she should let the story go.

No matter where you fall on the fan spectrum it’s important to remember that these golden nuggets of information only further open up Rowling’s world for more imagining and more speculating thanks to her detailed writing. Thus, they’re critical in keeping the fandom healthy. By continuing to reveal information like Moaning Myrtle’s full name or an extensive Witch and Wizard timeline, Rowling is fueling the fire that we all miss so much from the years while she was still writing the series.

J.K. Rowling inspired a generation of readers and continues to do so to this day. Two weeks ago everyone lost their minds when Rowling proclaimed that all of us went to Hogwarts. It was one of the most popular articles on Hypable in June, because people want to believe that they really did go to Hogwarts.

Hogwarts, and the interesting tidbits Rowling continues to share about Harry’s world, will always be there to welcome you home — To welcome you back into the world that we all still love and treasure so much.

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