When Forced to Love the Potter we don't Know
Book lovers owe J K Rowling a lot. For many of us who grew up with the boy who survived, life became more magical for having expanded to include him in it. Thanks to her efforts, millions of readers were birthed throughout the world who would have otherwise remained television-addled zombies. She taught us valuable lessons on love and hope, discrimination and intolerance without ever a trace of pedantic pontification. It was also nice of her to work doggedly on the series and deliver the seven books as promised without keeping readers dangling uncomfortably on tenterhooks.
Having acknowledged Rowling’s awesomeness, let’s move on. Some of the Potter maniacs (like myself) were less than ecstatic when she sold the movie rights, thereby forcing Daniel Radcliffe and the exquisite Emma Watson into our imaginations. The casting choice for the latter was particularly galling, since the book clearly describes Hermione Granger as ‘bushy-haired’ and ‘long-molared’, whereas Emma Watson is the cutie girl who grew up to be a hottie. And then there was the endless stream of merchandise, which was foisted on us by vested commercial interests. How are we supposed to believe in Harry Potter’s innocence and the purity of his soul when he has become a hack coercing us to buy crap we don’t really need? But these were minor offenses compared to what came later.
Rowling has taken to releasing endless titbits of Potter-related information in interviews or via social media. Some revelations were momentous like the bombshell, which exploded to reveal Dumbledore was gay or that Harry and Hermione should have ended up together (gasps!) while others were trifling—Teddy Lupin is in Hufflepuff. This compulsive need, she seems to have, to return to the wizarding world for regular nip and tuck procedures with the occasional augmentation, enhancement or implant while not outright grotesque, does seem indicative of a process addiction that does not bode well for the writer and reader both.
Those who devoured her books, word for word, tend to feel cheated. Shocking alterations to the key characters, even if they make sense, would have made even more sense had they been worked properly into the narrative. As for the rest of the tweaking, why not give it a rest already?
It is the sort of thing that makes one suspect if all this is a marketing ploy to keep interest levels high, since there has been official confirmation that there is a Harry Potter sequel play and three prequel films, all of which will also be released as books. Hopefully, Rowling knows better than to damage the world she has so painstakingly created by reducing dear Harry to a soul-sucking sell out, fouler than a dementor.
Chandramouli is the bestselling author of Arjuna, Kamadeva and Shakti