J. K. Rowling Says Goodbye to Twitter

I think we can assume, on the model of someone being declared ‘officially dead’ after disappearing for a sufficient period of time, that J. K. Rowling has abandoned her Twitter page and will not be returning to it. She has not posted since 10 January 2019, just shy of sixteen weeks ago today, and I think we are obliged to think this is not a vacation from the twitter wars but a turning away from the mindless, endless distraction of it all in order to return to her vocation as writer, both screenwriter and novelist.

Three thoughts on this occasion:

(1) The File: I keep an imaginary file in which to store ‘Things True Only of J. K. Rowling.’ You’ll find in it, if the file existed outside my interior ‘cloud,’ Rowling’s claim that she does not ‘see’ Daniel Radcliffe in her mind’s eye when she thinks “Harry Potter.” And that a film studio pledged its bankroll to make five blockbuster films on the pledge of a screenwriter who had not yet written a screenplay to write five stories, sight unseen. Add to this file Rowling’s walking away from 14.7 million followers on twitter, the largest social media platform for any living author. Forgive me for thinking that Warner Brothers, Harry Potter Theatrical Productions (Cursed Child), her various publishers, and Lumos cannot be thrilled by her decision to #JustWalkAway. I won’t mention the Remainer faithful and anti-anti-Semitism activists who will miss her daily, sometimes seven-times-a-day, notes for their causes. This is truly a remarkable decision, even if only temporary.

(2) She Told Us It Was Coming: As noted in previous tweets about Rowling on Twitter and her absence since 10 January, there have been signs. First there was the blowback from the online Harry Potter generation about Rowling’s being insufficiently ‘woke’ with respect to Jonny Depp, Nagini, Gay Dumbledore, etc. Rowling’s last picture that was posted on 10 January was a screenshot of a tweet that said the Rowling ‘Cinderella Story’ was a “lie.”

Her response, “Good luck” with an ‘x’ kiss, strikes me as a “kiss off” or goodbye. This, when combined with the evident fatigue with critics of her stand against anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (see ‘Rowling as Labour’s Tweeting Prophet’ and her 22 December 2018 neo-Elizabethan 16-part twitter thread on this subject), is reason enough, I think, to suppose she read the trend of results in her dedicated daily tweeting, i.e., no effect whatsoever on the political scene in the UK combined with a steady increase in abusive, absurd posts from the PC police about her that diminish her brand and the loyalty of her global fan base, and said to herself, “Why waste my time?”

(3) The Fantastic Beasts Elephant-In-the-Film-Studio: The Marvel Universe finale (ha!), Avengers: Endgame, has opened this past weekend to record box office in the US and around the world. This 21 film franchise now owns all records for release dates, speed-to-profitability, gross, and profit of any movie series in the history of the medium. Bigger than Star Wars, James Bond, Harry Potter, I’d guess it is bigger than all those combined. Warner Brothers took this time to announce that the next entry of their current big-gun franchise, J. K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts series, has been delayed for release until 12 November 2021, a year later than previously expected.

I think the only thing coincidental about this announcement and the success of Avengers: Endgame is that they happened at approximately the same time. The head of Warner Brothers, before the revelation of his casting couch experience with a starlet who knew how to use#MeToo rather than be used by it, had said that Rowling was hard at work on the Beasts3 screenplay, a script we had been told was all but finished. Crimes of Grindelwald was not the great success Warner Brothers had expected, the crazy cuts of the director to the film as written and shot making it nigh on incomprehensible even to adoring fans. There is a new urgency in wake of the Disney tsunami for Warner Brothers to have a Potter-esque hit.

Which offers back ground information for Rowling’s decision to depart from daily tweeting and re-tweeting. She has a family with its demands. She has charity obligations she will not forsake. Her identity is as a novelist and she is neck deep in an involved detective series that she is writing in parallel to and commentary on Harry Potter. And she is responsible for the screenplays that have to be translated into a coherent silver screen story of x minutes to maximize showtimes in theaters, which is to say, a story that David Yates won’t butcher to fit into his Procrustean bed. If she fails in this latter, the fount of money that the films and ancillary Wizarding World properties (books, theme parks, Cursed Child) generate for her charities dries up.

Something had to give. I think it was the political tweeting that sucked up hours of her days and much of her mental space. She or her site-handler pinned a link to JKRowling.com at the top of the page, a re-tweet of one of her previous posts, soon after the Christchurch massacre (with several retweets of Asian/Muslim objections to the media coverage of that tragedy) and has not looked back. Let me know what you think about her walking away or if you think she isn’t gone at all, just taking a break; click on ‘Make a Comment’ up by the post title and share your thoughts in the comment box below!



  1. Twitter has a negative addictive quality, and I can only imagine how magnified this is for Rowling. It can only be good for her art that she’s detoxing from social media.

    WB’s only hope for matching the excitement on display for Endgame is to bring back the original actors and continue Harry’s story. I think the ship has sailed on Fantastic Beasts being a possible phenomenon.

  2. Joanne Gray says

    I am perfectly OK with her decision (if she has made one) to abandon Twitter. I only ask that she could make a statement to clear up the whole situation. It would be to her benefit not to have only speculation to fill in all the blanks–such as when it is speculated that the screen play for the 3rd Fantastic Beasts film is STILL being worked on or if it’s finally done. To have put out the word many months ago that it was done–but then to have word go around that she is still working on it makes a lot of people think that the long silence on Twitter is due to the fact that the whole screen play had to be rewritten.

    Fans of the movie franchise are upset that there will now be a 3 year gap between FB2 and FB3–but this ignores the 3 year gap that the Strike fans had with Book 4 and the filming of it. I would like to know that we Strike fans will receive some kind of update at some point–because Fantastic Beasts at least gets to hear periodically where their franchise is in the great scheme of things as well as various tidbits of information. All those who are waiting for news about Strike 5 have had was a November 23, 2018 Tweet remarking that JKR was working on a scene that was taking place on Robin’s 29th birthday: October 9, 2013.

    Not surprising that Strike Book 5 takes place in 2013–but it would be surprising if it opens when 2013 is almost over since that would mean that none of the character’s story that occurs after the end of Lethal White in September 2012 will be shown until October of the next year!? We don’t know if that is the case but it is being reported as fact on the internet that Book 5 starts by jumping forward a year from the ending of Book 4! It would be nice to at least have a clarification if that is the case or if it isn’t the case–since the Oct. 9, 2013 date is all we have in the way of information at this point.

    Leaving Twitter isn’t really a bad thing (I think) but going totally dark–ending regular communication to the outside audience–will only leave rumors to fill the voids–and no way to know the truth from the untruths. Meeting somewhere in the middle would be the best for all concerned. Stepping back somewhat from daily Twitter, but still giving periodic updates on works in progress, is the way I hope she will finally decide to go.

  3. I think that leaving Twitter for now, or forever, is possibly a wise move for JK Rowling as it will allow her to focus on her writing, and to shut out a lot of unneeded negativity. She has a novel and a movie to write. If she needs 3 years to finish them, so be it. It will be worth the wait. JK can do whatever she needs to do to care for her sanity and creative process. I hope she finds rest and peace of mind as it must be hard for her right now as an author, and person, in the wake of Crimes of Grindelwald feedback. Constructive criticism is a helpful tool, but there has been a great deal of bashing and that is only hurtful. So, I support her decision wholeheartedly.

  4. Joy I totally agree with you. I don’t do Twitter and I don’t do Facebook, but I follow one of my other favorite authors on her Facebook page because it is public (if I’ve used the right words). She is writing the 9th book in her series and I am absolutely amazed at what people post … “Why are you traveling when you should be writing?” “I’ll be dead by the time your book comes out, can you speed it up?” I understand that without fans these people wouldn’t have the fame and money that they have, but we still need to be respectful to each other. To me, Twitter is so “knee-jerk” that thoughts don’t have time to process – like “Should I really say this?” These women are great writers because they do- what they do – in their own way – I’m certainly not gonna mess with that. I support her decision if she’s left Twitter. She has better things to do with her time and can still have contact with her fans in other ways.

  5. I think J.K. Rowling will definitely return to Twitter this year and tweet a picture from her summer vacation, as she has done every other year around the time of her birthday, July 31st. My inkling is J.K. Rowling will be going on another Eastern Mediterranean cruise. It’s written in the starts John!

  6. While I think it’s absolutely plausible that JKR stays away for a while from Twitter, since it harmed her a lot lately, it might be a good idea to release soon some sort of explanation. Right now she seems to be ghosting her friends and foes, and that is never a good idea since it gives room to mushrooming speculations and could be interpreted as sulking.
    While a lot of the latest public backlash has been somewhat unfair, it has also to be said that a lot of her Twitter troubles have been of her own making. I share many of her political views. But it can come across as very patronizing to issue a stream of statements on almost everything via Twitter. Also, it’s probably not wise to introduce and comment on important plot developments through a medium which doesn’t exactly lend itself to complexity and finesse. I am still very confident for example that the Nagini subplot will be resolved eventually in a satisfying manner, but the way this has been introduced and then discussed on Twitter was a disaster and has led to a totally unnecessary negative vibe before “Crimes Of Grindelwald” even hit the theaters. Then there are those facepalm comments about Hermione really having been a black character all along – or so at least it came across. I still give JKR the benefit of doubt on this one and think that she just wanted to defend the decision of casting a black actress as Hermione for the theatrical production of “The Cursed Child” – which is totally ok IMO – and that she didn’t think through these comments on Hermione’s skin color properly. But that’s Twitter! You react to something, and then it’s very hard to correct the initial impact. Things which were small initially can be blown up totally out of proportion. So, yes, it’s probably good for JKR to stay away from Twitter for a while. Life without Twitter is definitely possible 😊

  7. Brian Basore says

    I agree with you that JKR ought to write, not gossip online. She has written so little from the universe in her head.

  8. Sabine wrote –
    “Then there are those facepalm comments about Hermione really having been a black character all along – or so at least it came across. I still give JKR the benefit of doubt on this one and think that she just wanted to defend the decision of casting a black actress as Hermione for the theatrical production of “The Cursed Child” – which is totally ok IMO – and that she didn’t think through these comments on Hermione’s skin color properly. ”

    This was the start of her problems. As you say, NOT the decision to cast a black actress of Hermoine – that fine. But her decision to argue that the CHARACTER of Hermoine was black all along OR that she did not specify her color – was insulting to her fan base. It was a preposterous argument and things have gone downhill from there.

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