Tuesday, February 4, 2014

IWSG: When an Author Publicly Second Guesses What They'd Written

It's IWSG day. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for organizing this monthly event where writers share about their writerly insecurities and other stuff. (Cool news: From Feb. 4-10, the Kindle version of Alex's book, CASSAFIRE, is on sale for 99 cents on Amazon and his publisher's site.)

The following "insecurity" or hindsight, as it is really, isn't my own- it belongs to one of my all-time favorite authors, J.K. Rowling, who recently admitted in an interview that she has second thoughts about pairing Hermione and Ron together and how this confession might cause "rage and fury" among her fans.* True enough, Rowling's recent admission ignited passionate reactions from fans over Superbowl weekend. Many agreed that Ron was wrong for Hermione, and others defended the couple. Some feel that Rowling shouldn't have even gone there at all.  

My opinion is that an author should not be restricted from talking about her work, even if she expresses regrets over choices she made in it. I am not feeling "rage and fury." If anything, Rowling's revelation got me to take a closer look at how I felt about the characters while reading the books and watching the movies, and deciding there was a contrast in how I followed both mediums. 

Reading the books, I felt the chemistry between Ron and Hermione. While Ron has shown some immaturity during his earlier years, he has also shown that he can be fiercely loyal to those he cared about. And it's not unheard of for an "eat-all-your-vegetables" type of girl like Hermione to be paired with an unpredictable boy like Ron. 


But watching the movies, the chemistry between Harry and Hermione was more apparent, especially when the two were alone together during the DEATHLY HALLOWS. Sometimes we pick up vibes from what we read in a book and what we see in a movie, and those vibes may influence our expectations while we're exposed to the other medium.  So that's why I wouldn't have been completely closed to the idea of Harry and Hermione sitting on a tree.

That said, I still prefer Rowling's original choice to bring Ron and Hermione together. While Ron was second fiddle to Harry by public perception, in Hermione's eyes, he was The One for her. Harry was revered as The Boy Who Lived, but Ron got the girl. Hermione got the soul mate she wanted in one of them, and in the other, a lifelong best friend. Therefore, each of the three main protagonists received some validation.

I could sit here and spend another thousand words arguing why Harry should've given light and quirky Luna a chance to bring him out of his shell, why a Hermione and Draco fling would've been fun (fling yes, marriage no, as as long Lucius and Narcissa are still around), and how, while it was thoughtful and fun for Rowling to show us who ended up marrying who from Hogwarts School at the end of DEATHLY HALLOWS, I myself am grateful that my husband didn't know me while I was in high school. And I'll just leave it at that.

For all you Harry Potter fans, do you feel that Hermione should've ended up with Harry instead of Ron? Or would you have rather seen her end up with neither of the two?

How do you feel about an author publicly admitting regret over something they'd written?

Did you or would you marry someone who knew you in high school?

 *A bunch of headlines also declare that Rowling felt Harry and Hermione should've gotten married instead BUT because Rowling's actual interview isn't up yet, I haven't seen an actual quote by Rowling that confirms she said this. So I will wait until the interview is up before I attribute a quote to Rowling about this. Update:  The interview, posted on mugglenet.com, quotes Rowling as saying, "In some ways Hermione and Harry are a better fit..." but she doesn't say the two should've gotten married at the end, as some headlines have misleadingly suggested.

Credit for images: Warner Bros.

27 comments:

Medeia Sharif said...

This is interesting since this is the first time I'm reading this. The books have been published and there's nothing to do. But as a testament to the author, I think it's wonderful that she and many others are speculating about this. That's how real these characters have become to us.

Empty Nest Insider said...

It is amazing that with all of her success, J.K. Rowling could still have doubts about her writing. I think that this quality makes her even more relatable. This gives us all hope, Cynthia.

Julie

Annalisa Crawford said...

I loved that Hermione and Harry didn't get together - it flew in the face of traditional expectations, and put it slightly above the boy-meets-girl storyline. If I was JK I would have kept quiet - what you think about your story personally has no bearing once other people have read it and accepted it... and especially with such a huge franchise as Harry Potter.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I've heard this, though didn't read the interview. The great thing about the Harry Potter series is that it could have gone either way. I like Hermoine and Ron together and I think it added a great subplot and deepened Ron as a character. So I'm totally okay with it.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I liked Hermione and Ron together - Hermione and Harry would've been too predictable. For me, though, I never really felt the connection between Harry and Ginny. It was okay, but I didn't root for them the way I did for Hermione and Ron.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I had mixed feelings watching the movies, as if Ron were all wrong for Hermione. I didn't know why, because I didn't object when reading the books.

Then I read an article -- I wish I could find the link -- that discussed all the ways Ron's character was assassinated in the movies. I didn't remember, until this author pointed it out, how many scenes were changed to downplay Ron's courage and quick-thinking, how many times the actor sniveled on screen for humorous effect, when the character in the book was a stout and loyal companion.

Found it! http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/01/erased-by-time-and-blockbusters-the-cautionary-tale-of-ron-weasley

Jackie said...

I like the Hermione and Ron route. :D
As a writer, it's nice to know that even J.K. has moments of doubt.

Pat Hatt said...

There will always be a what if as you see new angles after you are done, but oh well on them we can't dwell

worddreams said...

Clever marketing ploy, getting everyone talking about her book. I wish I was big enough to try that! And, it could be risky for her. Interesting.

mooderino said...

I always thought Ron and Hermione was the better and less obvious choice.

mood
Moody Writing

Elsie Amata said...

I missed the bruhaha. But, it's reassuring to hear such a powerful author express doubts about her work. It makes her human.

debi o'neille said...

Clever marketing ploy, yes; but I'm still happy to see such a notable author struggle with the same type of doubts the rest of us do. :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've never read the books so I got the same vibe as you from the movies.
I have no problem with an author discussing his books like that. After all, he's the creator, right?

jamieayres.com said...

I wasn't furious over her comments, but as a fan who was there at the grand opening of the Wizarding World of HP at Universal . . . I know firsthand how crazy some of her diehard fans are and I felt it was unfair to them, as I'm sure she has that knowledge as well. Plus, she's very clever at marketing, so in my mind, there was just another ploy. As for marrying someone from high school, I did just that! Met him the first day and instantly knew at 14yo I would marry him. We've been happily married for 15 1/2 years now :-)

Christine Rains said...

I like Ron and Hermione together. I was never a Hermione and Harry shipper, or even Hermione and Draco. Hermione saw all the great things in Ron that many people may not have seen because he was Harry's sidekick. I would've never married anyone from high school. No thank you!

Sherry Ellis said...

I thought in the movie, that Harry and Hermione worked better together, but in the book Ron worked better with her.

S.P. Bowers said...

I knew from book two that Ron and Hermione would end up together, as would Ginny and Harry. But that's because that's how she wrote it. I like it like that, that's what the story led up to, but if she had written it differently I might have believed that too.

Just goes to show that no author will ever be 'finished' with a story, and that we don't get it perfect.

Michael Pierce said...

I think it's great that Rowling talked about it, that the story was fluid and could have gone another way. I agree that the way Rowling did it made the trio work better...Ron was more than just the sidekick.

Kathy Combs said...

Throughout the books she always portrayed Hermione as being just a friend to Harry, where in Ron's case, he and Hermione were paired up almost from the beginning. It was to the Burrows where Hermione could always be found way before Harry arrived. It seemed that there was a lot going on there that went much deeper. I think there was a lot of denial on Ron's part in the later books, but he finally fessed up. The match that always kind of left me wondering was Harry and Ginny Weasley. To me I always wondered if there could have been someone else for Harry even though Ginny loved him from the first. Loved this article and loved the Harry Potter books. I wish she would have went on with their children and wrote about their exploits at Hogwarts and the wizarding world. It was a series you just didn't want to end.

John Wiswell said...

Of course Rowling should talk about anything she's written if she wants to. I'm disappointed but not surprised with her complaint this time - when I read the books, I was initially sure that Harry would get together with Hermione. She's the first girl he meets and those books don't have very thoughtful or creative plotting. He's the kid who literally lives under the stairs because he's such an underdog; it's a series that telegraphs everything painfully. When he got together instead with the second girl who ever liked him, and his two support characters married each other, that was still unimaginative, but at least a tiny fraction better than tossing the hero into bed with the first neat girl who shows up.

Here we have demonstrated that John has no heart. There was a girl in high school he would have married at the time, though.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

What an interesting topic for the insecure writer post! I have no opinion on the Ron and Hermione debate but I did think it strange that Rowling made the statement. It signifies that she can't let go. Even writing other books hasn't been fulfilling to her as a writer, as she clearly can't let go of Harry Potter period.

Suzanne Furness said...

I think it is interesting to hear of Rowling's doubts over the ending. It shows us she can be just as insecure as us! Personally I quite like that Ron and Hermione got together, opposites can attract after all. I first met my husband when I was about 15 we are still together over 30 years later!

Rachel Morgan said...

Oh wow, I hadn't heard about this "regret" from JK Rowling! Hmm ... I think I'm happy with the Ron and Hermione pairing. I've never before thought it was wrong or unrealistic. And as for whether I would admit regret over something I'd already written and published ... Well, I haven't regretted anything yet, so I haven't been faced with the situation yet! I'm not sure if I'd say anything about it ...

readfaced said...

The characters are Rowling's babies. As any parent knows you get to fret over the paths they take...even though she's the one who created the path.

It just goes to show that even when a story is well and put to bed, it really isn't.

Leanne Ross ( readfaced.wordpress.com & @LeanneRossRF )

Trisha F said...

I think Ron and Hermione was meant to be!

Mina Burrows said...

Rowling should be able to discuss her craft without receiving backlash. I'm not sure about Ron and Hermoine though...

Nicole said...

I like Ron and Hermione together, and an author should be able to discuss her/his work. I feel like this one kind of got blown out of control.

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