Ellen Desmond discusses the latest stream of worrying tweets from J. K. Rowling, as she continues to slaughter the Harry Potter series by outright refusing to let it die.
At first, it was appreciated. The books had all been published, the films had had their final moment, but no one was quite ready to say goodbye to Hogwarts. J. K. Rowling began to tweet tidbits and trivia about the world of Potter.
We liked it.
Or, at least, our broken hearts had us believe we did, as we held on for dear life while watching our childhoods pass away before our eyes.
“Dumbledore is gay,” was among the first of many random, if not entirely irrelevant claims, which Rowling added in following the end of the Battle of Hogwarts.
Not that any of us would have minded a gay Dumbledore. In fact, a gay Dumbledore would have been just great in my opinion. Had she only, you know, in some way worked it into the plot before she had seemingly put the official lid on the entire project.
The nature of her additional information fluctuated a bit after that. While it was sad to learn that Neville’s parents never recovered, we really couldn’t have cared less that Harry, Ron and Hermione were eventually commemorated on Chocolate Frog Cards.
Soon, it all started to get a little bit excessive. Last year, she wrote a new Harry Potter story every day for each of the 12 days of Christmas. It got even worse with the announcement of upcoming theatre escapades: “Due to the epic nature of the story we’ve been working on, Harry Potter & the #CursedChild will be in two parts!” That single informative tweet brought the upcoming Potter‐themed film and/or theatre projects count to five, including soon to be released movie trilogy Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Five more Harry Potter projects? It’s worse than the Saw series.
I had originally planned to make this a humour article but to be honest, the more I read her tweets, the more I’ve become increasingly concerned for Rowling’s personal well‐being. In September, the internet world witnessed her stating: “Happy Birthday Hermione Jean Granger. I miss writing you!” That’s quite frankly an extraordinarily worrying thing for her to say to someone she made up inside her head as part of a fictional children’s novel.
All of a sudden though, the whole thing moved from worrying to pretty much just pathetic: “Draco turns 35 today. I’m not invited to the party, mainly because I keep telling girls they’re misguided to fancy him.” This conjures up images of Rowling sitting at home with her cats, feeling left out of a fictional 35th birthday party; scrolling through Facebook and Snapchat, riddled with imaginative FOMO.
Even worse, recently came what must be my personal favourite online moment of 2015. When tweeting about one of Scotland’s wins in the Rugby World Cup, Rowling wrote: “WE WON!!!!!! And Sirius Black was born on the 3rd of November x.”
I’m sorry, what sort of tweet is that? That is two entirely unrelated statements, in one tweet composed by this allegedly world renowned wordsmith. In fact, one could go so far as to argue that that is surely the prime opportunity for not one, but two tweets?
She’s killing it. She’s forthrightly slaughtering what should have been the perfect childhood story for us all to leave behind and later nostalgically revisit with newly found perspectives. She’s like an embarrassing mother ruining Harry’s reputation in front of all his friends.
Though I laugh at these tweets from Rowling, and the fact that she shows up online every day with something else plucked from her gameshow wheel of needless facts, it also makes me that little bit sad inside.
Unlike most young children who read Harry Potter and pick a favourite character, for seven year old me, Rowling was the heroine. I didn’t want to go to Hogwarts. I have always been inspired by the award winning, creative genius of a woman who wrote Hogwarts. But I definitely don’t want to be like a sad, delusional lady, flogging a dead horse in front of millions of online followers ‐ many of whom now retweet her only ironically.
For example, someone I know posted online recently describing the way they imagine Rowling waking up every morning and spinning a giant bingo cage of possible outcomes for Harry Potter characters: “Hagrid is…[spins wheel]…pansexual. And eventually…[spins wheel]…goes on to join ISIS,” the joke read.
I think Rowling has more to offer than she currently is, and someone needs to tell her that sometimes the best artists know when it’s time to stop. The Lord of the Rings series, for example, still hasn’t been anywhere near as worn out as Harry Potter has been, because Tolkien gave up the ghost eventually.
The epilogue of Deathly Hallows (where everyone falls in love in an impossibly happy and disgusting ending) put the nail in the coffin of the series crudely enough for even the most dedicated among us, before having to subsequently watch an ongoing, slow death of our favourite fantasy world.
It’s time to let it go, Rowling. Harry’s dead: “it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”