Mailbag: Washington Post OpEd argues ‘It’s Time for J.K. Rowling to let Other People write Harry Potter Books’

Newt s.A dear friend of HogwartsProfessor sent me a link to an op-ed piece that appeared in today’s Washington Post. Under the headline ‘It’s time for J.K. Rowling to let other people write Harry Potter books,’ it tries to make the case that Rowling needs to open the Fan Fiction Gates a la the Star Wars and Marvel Universe Franchises so that starving fans can get what they want, namely, more Wizarding World stories and films.

We’ve talked about this here before, if only in brief. I confess to being unimpressed by the pitch made in this opinion piece and startled that it appeared in such a well-read venue. It appears to have been written by someone intentionally ignoring the obvious and I thought WaPo editorial page standards were higher.

First, comparisons with George Lucas and Stan Lee are inept and inapt.

SW3The Star Wars dis-enfranchisement from Lucas, for example, took decades and then only after the original auteur had a “second bite at the apple.” Making a Lucas-Rowling parallel and then urging her to get on with it seems more than a little hasty, testy even. And I’m no Treebeard. The comic book universe roll out onto film also is not something that happened suddenly or within the first ten years of Spiderman #1 or the advent of The Uncanny X-Men or The Fantastic Four as American myths. And both LucasFilm and Marvel have been allowing others to write EU stories that did not and could not undermine their core money maker, films and comic books for a very long time.

Second, Harry Potter readers are starved for more stories about Harry and Company? Really?

No doubt, the world would quake if The Presence were to announce that she had penned a novel, prequel or sequel to the Hogwarts Saga, akin to Cursed Child. Failing that, however, it’s not as if Rowling has become a second Harper Lee or J. D. Salinger in closing down access to beloved characters and stories. You may have heard that she has launched a second Wizarding World film franchise in Fantastic Beasts and, yes, there is Cursed Child, if it is not a Rowling product per se. That play (and the script we will be able to read), one that she did not write but from which she will profit, seems to be evidence of her having taken a strong step in the direction this op-ed piece urges her to begin.

We’re in a relative glut of Rowling writing about the Wizarding World today. Why is this the time to call on the author to let go the reins of creative control and story writing?

2015 aThird and last, I’d note, too, that Rowling has been remarkably shy about bringing copyright suits to court since the Warner Brothers/Vander Ark debacle (the rumor is she was told that she can only lose her rights if she insists on them too zealously — and that the judge thought she was approaching that line). Considering that novels have been published for sale that feature the Potterverse already with no objections from WB/Bloomsbury and fans are kickstarting film projects that do the same, I’m left to wonder ‘Whence the push for Rowling to loosen up?’

Best to leave this sleeping dog alone, lest it awake from its nap with distemper or just a bad temper.

Thanks to James for sending the link — and thanks in advance for those of you who share your thoughts on this subject below! Is it time for Rowling to dis-enfranchise? Why or why not?


Mail Bag: How About a Doppelganger for Dumbledore? Who is Not the Dark Lord?

Do I get exotic even Quixotic questions in the mail? I sure do. I confess this one sat in my inbox for quite a while as I tried to figure out how to respond.


f38722022I was wondering if you ever had come up with a Doppelganger for Dumbledore other than Grindelwald?

I’ve been re-reading Looking For God in Harry Potter (I also have How Harry Cast His Spell near for reference!) and in that second ed. you have no Doppelganger for Dumbledore but you added Grindelwald in 3rd ed. (Spell).

I just read all seven Potters for about the 15th time and I think I have a non-Jekyll and Hyde Doppelganger for Dumbledore; Can you think of who it is?

Steven M

Here is what I came up with (after the jump). If you want to play, take your best guess before reading what follows. If you came up with Steven M’s answer, I definitely want to hear about it in the comments section! [Read more…]

Reviewer Copies of ‘The Chessman,’ Dolores Gordon-Smith’s Latest Jack Haldean Mystery Novel, Now Available

But they won’t be available for long, I suspect. I mean, a book that you want to read — yours, for free, the best of all prices?

ChessmanSevern House, the publishers of Dolores Gordon-Smith’s acclaimed Jack Haldean novels, is looking for American bloggers and librarians interested in a free copy of her latest book, The Chessman, in exchange for a review (read about the book here). If you’re a mystery lover or if you listen to MuggleNet Academia, you know Dolores Gordon-Smith, the latter-day incarnation of Agatha Christie. Her books are a delight and a cut above ‘fine entertainment.’ As you’d suspect in a series penned by a profound student of the genre and a world-class Potter Pundit, the Haldean adventures keep you in suspense to the last page and leave you thinking afterwards.

I have signed up for my Chessman reviewer copy, of course, and, if you are a book person that talks with or writes for other book people and you are as excited about this opportunity as I am, drop me a note [john at HogwartsProfessor dot com, right?] and I’ll put you in contact with the publisher. No pushing in line, please; though I doubt this offer will be good for more than a few days.

Mail Bag: Wands that Work, Star Wars Webinar, Snape as Role Model, and… Ron Weasley as Hat-Tip to Aslan?

f192990246Pretty full mailbag today with quite the variety of news, events, challenging ideas, and questions I’ve never heard before. Let’s jump right in with a report that you’ve been waiting on for at least a decade.

Okay, maybe that’s not for everyone. My cell phone, for example, has a rotary dial. I’m pretty sure my 20th Century Nokia is not going to cut it with ‘Alohamora!’

But here’s something for anyone who has seen a Star Wars film (I’m guessing that pretty much everyone in the Common Room today?). Dr. Amy H. Sturgis, profound Potter Pundit and the first one kind enough to answer my email (way, way back in 2002), is giving a free webinar on the greatest Sci-Fi film franchise ever. Here is what she sent me today about the wow talk she is giving online for free: [Read more…]

Mailbag: First Steps in Ring Writing, Medieval Modes & Methods of Reading, and the Knight of the Potter Panic

f192990246There are three letters this week in the HogwartsProfessor mailbag, all re-printed here with permission.

The first is about how to write a ring composition rather than just recognize it another person’s work:

Hello John.

Question for you. I have been working on a series of my own for the past five years on and off, and I’ve been putting a lot of work into the structure of it. Or rather, I’m working on developing the architecture and thousand other things it feels like. I have read Hero With A Thousand Faces, and enjoyed it. I know many authors who have prospered from the pages of that book including J.K. Rowling I’m sure.

RingI was hoping you could help me in some way. I’ve bought most of your books on Harry Potter and find them to be very interesting. I’m just finishing your notes on Ring Composition Theory.

Reading all this material has been a great help to me, but I must admit I’m not sure how to begin yet on how to apply Ring Composition to my series. I like building the framework for my work, but I could use your advice on how to begin.

This particular series I’m working on is very important to me. I’ve been studying different story structures for years, but I must admit some are simply superior to others. I look forwar d to your response.

Dear Rob, if I may,

You write:

[Read more…]