I’m not always the most sociable person. When I’m in social settings I tend to shut down a little, especially if I happen to be surrounded by people I don’t know who all seem to know each other. When I find myself in such a situation, I look for the nearest non-human entity (dogs are best, cats are fine, and fish will suffice), or retreat to a corner near the food spread and silently consume a week’s worth of calories.
But if there is one thing that can draw me out of my anti-social slump, it’s Harry Potter. For someone who often has trouble hearing, my ears can miraculously pick up the words “Quidditch” and “muggle” in a crowded room with music blaring and a political argument raging two feet away from me. When that happens, I seek out my kindred spirit and latch onto him or her with a ferocious enthusiasm that might easily be mistaken for stalking.
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That is how much I love Harry Potter. I love it so much it can induce me to talk to perfect strangers. If I had to choose between wine or Harry Potter (please, universe, PLEASE never let that happen), I would have to choose Harry Potter. So you can imagine that my robes got a little ruffled when I saw this video by Cracked earlier today.
The video, titled ‘Why J.K. Rowling is Ruining Harry Potter,’ picks apart some of the author’s creative choices, especially with regards to her creation of Pottermore. I contained my rage enough to watch the video all the way through (with several pauses during which I had to breath deeply into a paper bag), so that I could condense their opinions into a few key points. Do you agree or disagree with any of these points? And more importantly, when can we reassemble Dumbledore’s Army and seek vengeance?
1. The Harry Potter franchise is now about making money.
The Cracked folks seem to think that the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film series is being produced for the sole sake of making money. While I can’t argue with the fact that money probably has a lot to do with it (okay, probably about 97.8%), it’s a weak argument with which to attack Rowling, who already has a hundred times more money than the Malfoys and probably couldn’t give a shrivelfig about a few more million in her pocket. Making film is a business, and businesses exist to create revenue. This is hardly Rowling’s fault, and definitely not something to berate her for.
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2. Pottermore is just a bunch of dry facts.
The team at Cracked seem to think that Rowling missed a golden opportunity to give her readers a real “experience” when she decided to load Pottermore with facts about the more obscure aspects of her magical wizarding world. To prove their point, they read excerpts from her essay about the Floo Network, and then bemoan its lack of “emotional depth.”
But it’s the Floo Network, for crying out loud! We just want to know how it works! We don’t need Rowling to devote six months to penning a heartrending novella about magical transportation just to satisfy our emotional needs. Leave the “emotional depth” to the actual novels, I say. I like the fact that Pottermore serves as a magical encyclopedia. It provides straightforward answers to those pressing questions that might have popped up when we read the books for the first time (or fifteenth time, in my case). If I want emotional depth, I’ll just go back to the books, thank you very much!
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3. The names are weird.
For some reason, it cracks their cauldrons that the names Rowling has devised for the fictional characters in her Pottermore articles are strange. They poke fun at the names Dorcus Twelvetrees, Gondulphus Graves, and Helmut Weiss. Sure, they’re silly names, but they’re coming from the same writer who wrote characters like Wilkie Twycross, Xenophilius Lovegood, and Stubby Boardman. Making up strange names is kind of Rowling’s thing.
Heads up, fellas. Grasping at straws is for scarecrows trying to put on weight.
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4. Pottermore is bad for fans (who deserve better).
Apparently, because we bought the books and saw the movies, we deserve more than Pottermore. But it’s not as if we threw money at Rowling and got nothing in return. Her books provide hope and entertainment and inspiration to countless people from all walks of life and her ideas have sparked projects that provide employment and opportunities for thousands of people worldwide. Rowling doesn’t owe us anything. She’s already written the most amazing series of all time and to top that all off, she throws out sassy tweets every now and then to remind us of how awesome she is. The woman isn’t obligated to do anything more than what she’s already done, so the fact that Pottermore exists at all should be quite enough for any of us.
“You’re the author of this story, so go write another story,” says one of the Cracked commentators after complaining that Pottermore is nothing more than an infodump full of made-up names.
Listen, mister. I’d love nothing more than an endless supply of Harry Potter books. But Rowling is just one woman and, if you haven’t noticed, she’s been pretty busy working on other projects. So maybe take that bowtruckle out of your butt and simmer down because Rowling is a treasure and she doesn’t owe us a thing.
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