some links, and some opinions

So, I was working on a blog post — around a week ago — and then I found an article that I wanted to link to. And then another article. And then I realized I had some things to say about each of the articles I was linking to.

And then it was a week later and I had a very long, and rather disjointed, blog post. Which was not yet yet done.

Okay, time to fish or cut bait — or some such appropriate cliche.

Here are the links — which are mostly about Harry Potter, so perhaps I should mention that I’ve never read any of the books and I’ve only seen two or three of the movies.

 
J.K. Rowling Just Can’t Let Harry Potter Go

I think that there are two different questions here:

1. Rowling said she was done with the Potter world, and now she’s decided she’s not. Big whoop. History is full of performers who retired and then un-retired later. People sometimes marry partners they’ve already been divorced from at least once.

People change their minds. This is sometimes a really good thing, since some decisions turn out to be wrong. Also, circumstances change.

2. On the other hand, I don’t agree with adding to, or revising, a fictional universe by social media. The only thing that counts is what’s in the stories. In a hundred years, the books will still be there, and the rest will have fallen away.

Did Shakespeare ever mention in a casual conversation in a pub that Ophelia was an excellent chess player?

Nobody knows and nobody cares.

 
JK Rowling tells of anger at attacks on casting of black Hermione

On one hand, I like the fact that, in theater, race isn’t that big a deal for performers (unlike movies). In the versions of Les Miserables that I’ve seen, for example, the Thénardiers have always been white, but Éponine, their daughter, has been played by various actresses who are not white.

On the other hand, I really like the fact that Rowling apparently never specified Hermione’s race in the books, and nobody noticed. I always think it’s great to tweak the assumption that so many people make — that all fictional characters are white (and straight) unless it’s explicitly stated otherwise.

 
Comma Queen: Whichcraft–That vs. Which

I need to watch this one again. I get the concepts “restrictive” and “non-restrictive” (I’m pretty sure), but the examples for “that” and “which” are still fuzzy for me.

(Here’s my shorthand for “restrictive and “non-restictive” as applied to commas, by the way: “Jan Sleet’s daughter, Ron, came into the room.” It gets a comma because Jan Sleet only has one daughter, so “Ron” is extra information. If the great detective had more daughters, then you’d need the name to know which daughter was being referred to. In that scenario — no comma.)

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4 Responses to some links, and some opinions

  1. Maggie says:

    It’s understandable that JK Rowling will never be done with the Harry Potter world in her own mind, but to keep talking about it on social media is lame… unless she’s planning to publish another book. I agree with you: what’s in the published books is “canon.”

  2. The first use of “canon” for a fictional universe was for Sherlock Holmes, and that definition is so strict (the 56 short stories and the four novels, period) that it excludes some works written or co-written by Arthur Conan Doyle himself.

  3. SB Roberts says:

    Much to some of my friends’ surprise, I’ve only seen the Harry Potter movies and that was just last year. (Seems wrong to go to a place that involves Harry Potter without having the foggiest idea what’s going on.) I was just too interesting in Tolkien at the time to be interested.

    And I agree. It’s fine to go back and get re-involved in a fictional world after the fact, but it’s also important to know when a story is done. It’s a fine line.

  4. Well, if the fans disapprove on some sort of moral basis, like she’s breaking her word, she should quote the character from The Producers (without the German accent): “You are the audience. I am the author. I outrank you.”

    If they’re just worried that it won’t be good, the solution is to make sure it is good. 🙂

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