Anyone out there who is a fan of Harry Potter, so most of the reading population of planet Earth, will know that today marks the fictional anniversary of the fictional Battle of Hogwarts. On this day of fictional commemoration, the real author J K Rowling takes to Twitter to apologise to her fans for killing one of their favourite characters. This year she said sorry to her social media followers for the death of fan favourite Dobby, Harry Potter’s faithful House Elf-friend. In the past, she has made similar public apologies for killing characters such as Severus Snape, Remus Lupin, and Fred Weasley. And, as I sit here desperately wanting to go to bed but needing to write something for today’s post, I can’t but wonder why the fuck she bothers. I mean if it bothers her that much why kill them in the first place? It’s just more of her pathetic pandering to her fans to ensure that the Harry Potter gravy train she’s riding for the rest of her life never stops. And, really, every year I lose a little more respect for her as a writer.
I mean look at the visual of an author going back on her own canon by admitting guilt in the death of a character. Not only is it utterly ridiculous because, spoiler, none of these people ever existed. It’s also stupid because she was the one in control. She knew she wanted these characters to die and, by apologising, she is suggesting that it was the wrong decision. So why do it in the first place? It’s like watching someone who was put in prison for murder trying to tell a parole board that they regret the choice they made. It might be sincere but it doesn’t alter the initial act. It just screams of someone telling people what they want to hear. Someone so desperate to still matter to people that she has to pop up every twelve months to remind everyone she still exists.
I’ve already spent some time here arguing that the decision to kill Remus was a terrible one for many reasons but I’m a firm believer that the writer’s decision is final. If J K tells me someone’s dead then they’re dead. I don’t need a yearly apology that suggests it didn’t need to happen in the first place. I guess I just have a problem with someone being such a bloodthirsty author and then turning around and showing regret. As if the only reason she killed so many people was to seem edgier or darker. It’s like the school nerd trying to pretend to be into sports. It doesn’t work and just seems pathetic and desperate.
I would rather she owns it: like George RR Martin. That man has mercilessly killed some of his kindest/most moral literary characters and has never once felt any pain about that. And I can respect him for it. He lives by his adage that “all men must die”.
You can’t write about war and violence without having death. If you want to be honest it should affect your main characters. We’ve all read this story a million times when a bunch of heroes set out on adventure and it’s the hero and his best friend and his girlfriend and they go through amazing hair-raising adventures and none of them die. The only ones who die are extras. That’s such a cheat. It doesn’t happen that way. They go into battle and their best friend dies or they get horribly wounded. They lose their leg or death comes at them unexpectedly.
And it’s true. Hollywood would have us believe that if a hero is brave enough he can survive everything. But it’s not true. The fact is so many of Harry’s friends would have died had that Battle been real. I mean they were fucking students fighting Death Eaters and one of the most powerful wizards of all time. I know it’s a kid’s story but come on. They barely learnt any offensive magic during their time at Hogwarts. Harry only ever used a disarming spell. How the hell did he survive?
The problem with some of the now grown-up Harry Potter fandom is that they’ve sort of stayed in this weird space between childhood and adulthood. They’re lost in the fantasy of these books and they need constant attention and reassurance from Rowling that “all [is] well”. But there are bigger issues to worry about than the death of a fictional character in a battle that never fucking happened.
Besides, there are plenty of things that J K Rowling should be apologising to her fans for before she tells us she’s sorry for killing Dobby. For a start, the epilogue and the vomit-inducing name that is Albus Severus. Whilst she’s at it she might also say sorry for the abysmal story that is The Cursed Child. Or the decision to allow a potential domestic abuser to continue to get paid a shitload of money to appear in her film franchise? Maybe she could openly apologise for her lack of diversity in the books? Or the fact that she hid the, supposedly, important fact that Dumbledore is gay? Those are the things that really fucking matter J K. Yes, it was very sad when Dobby died but I’m 30 years old now. I’d rather you address the real issues that your fans care about.
But, then again, maybe I’m just tired and cranky? We’ll see if I’ve changed my mind by morning.
Who is Murdocal? A casual critic who is a little bit too obsessed with pop culture. A young woman who swears and rants much more than she knows she should whilst trying to make her way in an adult world she isn't prepared for. A not as recent as she'd like literature graduate who, between job applications and subsequent rejections, has turned to the internet to fight the boredom and review the shit out of everything.
"Maybe, just maybe, I'm the faller. Every family has someone who falls, who doesn't make the grade, who stumbles, who life trips up. Maybe I'm our faller."