Author has written 5 stories for Harry Potter.
I can be considered a 'senior' HP fandom netizen, in more ways than one. :) I'm 'senior' in terms of age - closing in on 50 years of existence on the planet (making me a member of the Baby Boomer cohort) and also 'senior' in terms of the fandom, having been around the various HP fandoms since 2001.
A Brief History
I became a Harry Potter fan in December of 2001, the result of an exchange deal I made with a college-age nephew who was desperately seeking copies of JRR Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" series. I offered to lend him my personal collection (including a battered 1958 pocketbook of 'The Hobbit') in exchange for his set of the Harry Potter books (at the time, it was only up to Goblet of Fire).
I spent the Christmas vacation thoroughly fascinated with JKR's universe - reading all four books at one go (with breaks for meals, nature calls and sleep when my brain shut down in protest) - and found myself re-reading the books again.
Like so many others, I started surfing the web for any information on when Book 5 (Order of the Phoenix) would come out - and stumbled on to the fascinating, enervating and sometimes contentious world of the Harry Potter fandom. I joined several forums - especially the still-iconic Fiction Alley.org, found myself boarding the HMS Pumpkin Pie (HHr) there, joined in various chats and other activities with noted writers like LC McCabe, AngieJ (of the Paradise series) and even Lori (the still iconic Paradigm of Uncertainty series).
Along the way I wrote my first fanfic ('Writer's Block' in 2002) and posted it to Astronomy Tower.org - and became part of the HHr writer's 'community' and became an active member of portkey.org - writing both fanfic and essays, as well as making numerous postings on the different forums.
Let me emphasize one point - from the very beginning and until the present day, I consider myself a delusional Harmonian. For me, Harry and Hermione are the series' one true pairing (OTP) and no one - not even JK Rowling - can convince me otherwise.
Unfortunately, I lost my enthusiasm and enjoyment of Harry Potter with the release of HBP and Rowling's "Interview of Doom" with her sycophants. I realized then that JKR was going to throw out everything - plot development, character development, 'history' and plain common sense in favor of achieving her 'One Big Happy Weasley Family.'
By the time Deathly Hallows came out, I considered myself detached from the fandom ... I did a few posts, kept in touch with a few friends but found myself completely enamored with a different genre of fanfiction (lesbian romance, specifically Xena-Gabrielle, go figure). I didn't even bother to buy the book - unlike OotP and HBP where I joined the throngs eagerly awaiting the opening of the bookstores to secure my copy. I thought I had said my good byes to Harry and Hermione - it was great while it lasted but felt I had to move on.
Sometime in the last year, however, I decided to dip my toe into the fandom again - and found that, in my 'absence' a lot of great and wonderful writers have taken up the Harmony banner and I've found myself hooked once again.
And now I'm 'back' but not as active as before. I surf through ff.net for stories, post some reviews and - hopefully - will find my muse once again. She'd taken off soon after DH came out; I think she couldn't accept the lobotomy that JKR did on Hermione in Deathly Hallows and so, haven't written anything since 2005 or so.
Right now, however, there's a story niggling around in my brain; hopefully, inspiration will strike once again and I will be able to go back to the art of stringing words together to form a cohesive tale.
SOME THOUGHTS ON HALF-BLOOD PRINCE AND DEATHLY HALLOWSI have my own theory on what happened with the Harry Potter series - JK Rowling simply got 'tired' (or perhaps, 'bored' is a better word) with what she created and simply wanted OUT.
Think about it. From the very beginning, she had been consistent in saying that she had 'plotted out everything that was to happen in all seven books.' Maybe not 'everything' down to the last detail, but most probably the major plot points - the prophesy, the Horcruxes (which I will admit is a stroke of real genius on her part), the theme of 'love' as being 'the power he knows not.'
Except that 'love' in this sense meant a self-sacrificing love on the part of Harry Potter - a willingness to die as a martyr 'so that others may live.'
It was not romantic love that was the key - that was what many of us in the fandom (and those of us who were shipping one pairing or the other were hoping for) but she had a different idea and a different denouement to the whole thing.
I believe that JKR never really expected the series to be the roaring success that it turned out to be. She never expected Harry Potter to become a best-selling series, she never anticipated that the books would become the subject of controversy and debate and - most probably - she never predicted that fans all over the world would focus on romance as the key.
She had the whole thing plotted out and - as I recall from the interviews made over the years - romance was never a central theme. It was not important to the plot - as she had Hermione saying in the very first book, "Books! Cleverness! There are more important things - friendship and bravery and ..."
Hermione could have said 'love' - and in fact, I suspect millions of fans worldwide added the word in their own minds when they read that passage but for JKR, that was never in the cards.
But that doesn't mean that she didn't take advantage of the fandom's 'fascination' with it. Again, her interviews (what I can remember which may not be that accurate) seem to point to that - she's been bemused at the fandom's absorption with the idea of romantic pairings and simply 'rode along' with the flow. After all, who was she to deny the fans what they wanted? So ... she joined in the titillation game - dropping hints here and there (what she later claimed were 'anvil-sized hints' which, to my mind, simply indicates that she doesn't even know what an anvil, much less what a 'hint' looks like), feeding into the frenzy of the pairings (the Katie Couric interview when OotP came out, anyone?) and stringing everyone along.
The situation presented itself (the fans were so enamoured with romance) so, like any one presented with the situation - she simply ran with it.
The 'problem' with this, however, was that (as she herself admits) she 'sucks' at romance - or more probably, at romantic writing. Add to that the fact that she was at a crossroads in her life - she had become insanely rich, she found love once again and was starting a family with her new love and ... as I said, I think she was already 'tired' of Harry Potter.
Again, there are indications of this in some of her interviews - she had expressed a wish to start writing something else, something different. Call it a mid-life crisis if you wish - she had every right, she was entitled to everything she wanted.
There was only one problem - she had contracted for seven books with Scholastic and by Merlin (and this is only my suspicion) she was going to produce all seven books! She had committed to seven and she will produce all seven.
But how do you reconcile that 'requirement' of producing seven books with everything else happening in her life - especially the changes wrought by an insanely successful career that she never expected or anticipated? How does she resolve both sides of the issue - that obligation to complete the series against her own driving need to write 'finis' to Harry so she can focus and concentrate on other things?
Simple - it's her story, her characters, her plotlines, her universe.
As she said in one interview just before or after OotP came out: "Harry's mine. I can do whatever I want to with him."
And she did.
DOING WHAT IS "EASY" VERSUS DOING WHAT IS "RIGHT"
In the hundreds of interviews and articles written about JK Rowling, there was one thing which struck me when she was describing her writing ... that she was 'under extreme pressure' to meet her (Scholastic imposed) deadline for Goblet of Fire, almost to the point of having a breakdown; that she 'took her time' with Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) - and the seeming 'glee' with which she completed Books 6 and 7.
And this leads to my personal view on Books 6 and 7 - unlike the first five books in the series, they seemed to be 'rushed' - hasty, hurried, rash. They were books written just to get them 'out of the way' and as such, little or no concern was given to proper plot or character development, little care was given to ensure consistency with earlier parts of the story.
In other words, they were written to comply with her commitments and requirements, period. And - to make things even easier - she simply went back to her 'original' outline and simply followed the steps there. No need to think things through, no need to check for consistency with the earlier books in the series, throw in a few dramatic, thrilling and emotional moments (killing off Hedwig during the chase scene when Harry left Privet Drive, the escape from Gringotts on a dragon, having Dobby dying while defending his master and friend) - and there you have it.
And what about the relationships? Well, Harry was with Ginny in the outline and that was what she had planned for from the beginning, so - that's the way it goes. If she had to lobotomize Hermione in Book 6, create an image of Ginny as a tramp and a vamp (Harry's 'monster in the chest' ring any bells?), make Ron out to be a ladies' man (snogging with Lavender and having the latter call for her 'Won-Won') - so be it.
It's HER story.
Besides, there are enough brainless twits around who would fall for it and slobber at her feet while she shovels out drivel to the masses. (Interview of Doom, anyone?)
And this brings me to another observation I've had with the fandom ...
By and large, I've found HHr shippers to be highly articulate, emotionally mature, intellectually challenging. Many of these (especially the females) can give canon!Hermione a run for their money and the guys are not gonna be left far behind. R/Hr and H/G fans, on the other hand tend to be superficial, frivolous and light-hearted - to a large extent, they tend to reflect the characters they support.
And the fanfics written by both sides tend to follow this - many of the H/Hr stories I've read (which is almost exclusively what I've read) tend to be thoughtful, thought-provoking, touch on mature and emotionally heavy scenes. R/Hr and H/G stories, on the other hand, are more ... 'light' and frivolous - focusing too much on shallow things rather than on deeper issues about life, love and the universe.
Don't get me wrong - I've no doubt that there are great and wonderful R/Hr and H/G stories out there - but these are more the result of the writers doing extreme makeovers of Ron and Ginny (to the point that one wonders if Harry and Hermione's souls had been somehow transplanted into their bodies) or having plots which force a level of maturity and insight into the youngest Weasleys which bring their intellectual and maturity levels up.
Which brings me to my point: if JKR had really wanted to have her Big Happy Weasley Family, the least she could have done was to have made it believable. She should have taken the time and effort (who cares if it takes her ten years to write Book 6, and another ten years before Book 7? Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson could make cameo appearances in the movies as teachers or something) to make the relationships she wanted to work.
Not just shove them down our throats without a clear explanation - and then call for support from her sycophants to divert attention from the gaps in the story, along with claiming that she's been dropping 'anvil sized hints' on the Harry-Ginny relationship all throughout the series. (Note - her two sycophants simply ate it up but NO ONE ever asked her WHERE those 'hints' are. I wouldn't be surprised if she pulled out her notes and showed them that there they are - in her notes, not in the books.)
One of the most iconic moments in the HP series is Dumbledore's speech at the leaving feast in Goblet of Fire, when he said, "The choice is between doing what is easy and doing what is right." It is a profound statement, one that counts as a challenge to everyone who reads it - to live a life doing what is right, rather than taking the 'easy road' in whatever life throws at us. It is a statement that deserves to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame of quotations - and marked on the foreheads of every politician and leader out there.
The only problem is that the person who articulated it - JK Rowling - did not live up to the challenge. Rather than doing what was right for her story - by devoting time to developing her characters to make the end relationships work - she opted for what was easy. She just did it 'her way' and to hell with everyone else.
Sure, it's her right ... but that doesn't mean that it is 'right.'
And this ends my rant.
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