To Be, Or Not to Be: Can Authors Change Canon?

 

Tonight, I was planning on writing about a totally different topic. But some news has just come to my attention that I feel the need to address. J.K Rowling recently gave an interview to Wonderland magazine in which she revealed that she regretted getting Hermione and Ron together in the series. She believe it should have been Harry and Hermione.

Here is what Rowling said:

“I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment,” she says. “That’s how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.”

“I know, I’m sorry,” she continued, “I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I’m absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people’s hearts by saying this? I hope not.”

 

 

While I respect Rowling’s opinion, I believe the point is moot. The last book of the series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out in 2007, and the movie in 2011. It’s a little too late to try and change the story or sway people’s opinion. Fifty years from now, when people sit down to read the Harry Potter series, they won’t care about an interview Rowling gave decades before. All they will have is the text. The series has sold over 400 million copies and every single one has Ron and Hermione together in the end. So while Rowling may have desired a different outcome, it doesn’t matter. Ron and Hermione is canon.

I for one, have never seen any evidence of Harry and Hermione in this books. I think the idea of their being a couple originated from the movies. Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson had such great chemistry together and people believed that they should have dated. Hermione isn’t the girl for Harry. He needed someone who would support him and allow him to do what he needed to do. Ginny provided him with that. I only ever saw Harry and Hermione as best friends.

But that is not the point of this post. The question I raise is this: does an author’s opinion matter after the books are published? Should we take what they say into account? I respect Rowling. She is the reason I wanted to become a writer in the first place. I just don’t understand the logical behind this revelation. Why say something if it doesn’t matter? She can tell every person in the world that she wanted Harry and Hermione together, but the books are canon. Literature is judged by the words on the page, not the author’s s comments after the fact.

The same thing can be said for the creator of Star Wars, George Lucas. Even after the movies have been out, he continues to tinker with the films effectively changing canon. I believe that once a work of art is finished, the creator has no right to tinker with it after. In a way, it belongs to the people at the point. Of course, J.K Rowling is always going to have the rights to Harry Potter. She created it. But she cannot change what the public has embraced. It’s our story now. And what is done is done. As far as I am concerned Ron and Hermione get married and have Rose and Hugo. Harry and Ginny marry and have James Sirius, Albus Severus and Lily Luna. That’s what’s in the books and that’s canon. Not Rowling’s post-Potter comments.

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