Sunday, March 23, 2014

It is HER story (The JK Rowling debacle)

 am probably going to get a lot of flack for saying this, but I believe J.K. Rowling has every right to say whatever she wants about her books. To many, this might seem like a blind fan supporting everything she does, but to be honest, it is not. I consider myself a writer, and there are many times I read my old stories and feel like I could have gone a different way. Even though it is done and dusted, it is still my story. Without me, these stories wouldn't have gotten to anyone else.

Similarly, Harry Potter is JKR's story. The entire wizarding world is something she came up with. Harry, Ron and Hermione are probably like her own children. Even though she told it a particular way once, doesn't mean she can't regret it or feel like it could have gone another way. She has the right to feel that way, and in my humble opinion, she has every right to talk about it too.

One of the major debates by people is that by saying that Hermione should have ended up with Ron, it is a statement that puts down the character of Ron. I have seen many internet forums where people talk about Ron's severe self esteem issues and how he has always felt second best in his life. Then they go onto say how 'getting' Hermione had made him feel very good and as if he was finally worth something. A supporting argument was how a Harry-Hermione ending would be too bad because Harry couldn't 'have everything'.

What I find problematic about both the above statements is that they are reducing the role of Hermione Granger, the brightest witch of her age to a mere prop that a male character 'gets'. Her choice is completely taken away from her. While making such statements, people are forgetting Hermione's role in the books is not a prize, not to improve Ron's self esteem or 'complete' Harry.

In doing so, they are stripping away what her character stood for, and making it about her romantic choices. While Harry Potter did deal with the concept of love, it has always been beyond that. I have reread the books a multiple times, and yet I haven't felt intrigued or enticed by any of the love stories – except perhaps the tragic love story between Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks, but that is a story for another day. The books majorly dealt with bravery, FRIENDSHP, loyalty, courage and the strength to fight for what you believe in.

Hermione has been an emobodiement of all of the above. She erased her parent's memories, sent them to Australia, made them forget her, all so that they could be safe. She didn't think twice of doing that in order to save her family and help Harry, her best friend. She is also extremely intelligent, someone without whom Harry or Ron wouldn't have lasted. Like almost EVERYONE in the books has stated, she is the brightest witch of her age, and instead of focusing on that, people are focusing on her love life. I simply do not understand it.

Hermione had a huge role in saving the wizarding world. She fought bravely and strongly. Even after Ron left Harry, she did not. She stood by him through thick and thin, and always did what was right, even though some of those choices fell into the 'tough love' category. Through every bit of hardship she faced, she was loyal, unflinchingly so. So why can't people start talking about this?

I have never been a fan of the Ron/Hermione pairing. Despite reading the books so many times, that is one thing I could never get into (along with the Harry/Ginny pairing). To me, the two were simply incompatible and wouldn't have lasted in the long run. A lot of their relationship seemed forced to me. Especially how insensitive they have been to each others needs over the years. I just didn't see it working out. So naturally, I was happy to hear that Rowling had acknowledged that. She had said that she had them end up together for very personal reasons, and not because of any literary value. I completely understand this, because I have been there.

While writing something a while ago, I had a plan in my mind. Character A and B had to end up together, while A, B and C were to be friends. As I wrote the story, I felt a tug between B and C, a natural chemistry which I conveniently ignored to follow the idea that was set in my mind. A and B. After I finished writing, I realized that I wasn't very happy with the outcome. Though the story had come out well, I had refused to listen to what the characters wanted to do, and stuck to my original outcome. I ignored the very natural chemistry between B and C, and made sure there was nothing romantic between them. I didn't go back and change it, but the thought always stayed with me.

Now this doesn't mean that I necessarily agree with Rowling's thought that Harry and Hermione was suited for each other. I find their relationship way too platonic for anything romantic to happen. In fact, I love the Hermione/Independence pairing or if she had to be with a man, it would be a much reformed, equally intelligent Draco Malfoy. Yes, I am sucker for the bad boy turns good because the good girl inspires him kind of stories. Anyway, that is not the point. The point is, as a writer, when one is stuck with a few predetermined plots in mind, it is difficult to deter it. Sometimes the characters take life of their own and decide to go their own way, and it's a little difficult to stop them. But sometimes there are a few arcs we so desperately want to write, that it might not come out the way it should.

And it is okay to feel regret over it. It totally is.

So what I am ultimately saying is, that at the end of the day, Rowling is the creator of Harry Potter. Those are her books, her stories. She is allowed to feel regret for any arc she created. She is allowed to express it. Those are her books, and instead of complaining and whining about it, one should learn to be thankful and grateful for the woman who gave us all of it.

Also, people need to focus on other aspects of Hermione Granger's life, as she is the best character on Harry Potter, and should not be defined by her romantic choices.

And yes. Stop with the mockery and jibes at Queen Rowling. As Hagrid told the Dursleys, do not insult J.K. Rowling in front of me. Unless you want to grow a pig tail, that is. Then, you may do so. By all means.  

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