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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