This may be old news, so forgive me if you’ve seen or read this 100 times. The other day, I read an article written by the fantastic people over at Mental Floss. It focused on 12 things we’ve learned about the Harry Potter universe since the series wrapped up. Most of these things are new content that J.K. Rowling revealed in interviews, on Pottermore, or in some similar fashion. For those of you who now want to read this article, here’s the link: 12 Post-Potter Revelations J.K. Rowling Has Shared
You’ll also remember that I posted last week about the new Potter short story Rowling recently wrote for Pottermore. Written in the form of Quidditch World Cup Commentary by Rita Skeeter, we were given new glances into the lives of Harry and friends, now adults, as they arrived to watch the Cup.
So what’s the big deal? Well, it’s not a big deal…unless you think Rowling should stop adding new content to the universe. Apparently, some Potter fans don’t agree with some of the new revelations and want the series to be left alone. They don’t want Rowling rethinking the Harry/Ginny relationship or pairing Neville with Hannah Abbott when we all know he and Luna were supposed to end up together. Am I right?
Well, this made me start thinking about the ownership question. Exactly how long should authors contribute content to a series or universe that is officially finished? At some point, do the readers take over? When an author pens the final word, is it over? Is new content considered canon? This has been debated before, but it keeps popping up. How much control does an author have over the universe they created?
So here are my thoughts, short and sweet. Feel free to disagree if you want. In my humble opinion, the author created the universe. He or she had the talent and imagination to pen a world that swept readers away. And even after the series has finished, the author has more content to share. As a reader, I want to know all of it. We don’t often get an inside look at things the author changed, passages that almost didn’t exist, or backstory that didn’t make it into a published book. I think it’s an absolute privilege that authors want to continue to share insights and create new content for something I love.
If I decide at the end of the story that Neville marries Luna, great. But since J.K. paired Luna and Rolf Scamander, that’s canon. She owns the universe. My ending might work nicely as fanfic. But my work isn’t canon, and will never be. As long as J.K. keeps investing in the series and universe, her word is final. She created it, she owns it. That’s all there is to it.
What do you think?