Sunday, November 27, 2011


I wrote a research paper.  On the morning that I finished it, I was an absolute trainwreck, so this thing probably sucks.  You should still read it though, because I'm totally right.

Nineteen Years Later

The Harry Potter series would have ended in a way that better satisfied the fans had it not included the epilogue. Harry Potter had all the traits of a successful series. The characters grew throughout the series, and the plot gets more and more complex as the series goes on. The epilogue, for most fans of the books, was entirely unnecessary. Everyone who cares had already decided how things ended for themselves. J.K. Rowling has said that “It would have been humanly impossible to answer every single question that fans have. Because I am dealing with a level of obsession in some of my fans that will not rest un till they know the middle names of Harry's great great grandparents.” (Rowling) yet she tries to answer all the questions that fans have in a matter of pages. Instead of achieving the desired goal of tying up loose ends, the epilogue only serves to cement in cannon a single version of the story, crushing all other possible endings. Fans of the books wanted to know what happens next, but they didn't want that in the form of an epilogue. What they wanted was another book, and then another one after that, but that can't happen. J.K. Rowling can't write Harry Potter books forever. This is acceptable and fans of the books realize this, but they want books, and the epilogue was exactly what they didn't want. They wanted story, not a happily ever after cop out ending.
Most readers decided upon their own ideas of what happens to the characters after the books ended, and whatever J.K. Rowling says about it isn't going to change what they believe. J.K. Rowling repeatedly stated that Harry and Hermione were not going to be in a relationship and that Ron and Hermione were endgame, that is, would be together at the end of the series. However, there are over 13,485 stories categorized as romance with Harry and Hermione on There are 15,844 stories categorized as romance with Ron and Hermione on the same website. Ron and Hermione end up together in the books, which explains the reasons that there are more stories for their pairing, but the fact that there are less than 3,000 stories difference between these pairings shows that fans will write whatever they want, not what J.K. Rowling writes in the books. There are nearly 26,000 stories for the Draco and Hermione pairing, which was never hinted at in the books, and had essentially no chance of happening. ( This further proves that fans have different endings for the characters in these books, and do not need to have J.K. Rowling's future forced upon them.
Harry Potter was wildly popular, a worldwide phenomenon that changed a generation of kids. A major part of the Harry Potter phenomenon is the films. Regardless of how they feel about the films as a whole, most fans wholeheartedly agree that the epilogue did not work on film (Mapes). The makeup used to age the actors by nineteen years looked fake and awkward, and the lack of action did not translate well to time on screen. If anything, the epilogue only came off worse when it was on screen. The movie, just like the book, was a fantastic story, but it was less than great when it came to the very end.
The final book had a death toll unmatched by all the previous books combined. The other main issue that people took with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was the pacing towards the beginning, particularly in the fact that J.K. Rowling allowed Harry, Ron, and Hermione to spend nearly a third of the book on a fruitless camping trip. There was a huge conflict in the character's minds and in the reader's minds between hallows and horcruxes, the characters never knew which one they needed more. It's hard to maintain reader attention between two factors like this. Combined, these leave the reader bored and heartbroken. Bored and devastated is a bad situation in itself, but when you add a greatly unsatisfactory epilogue, readers will rise up in revolt. This dissatisfaction is what motivated one dedicated fan to write the song “Book Eight.” Some lyrics of this song include “I want J.K. Rowling to say/ That the epilogue was crap,/ 'Cause we all know it was crap!” and “I know I'm not the the only one/Who wants to know more about Harry's sons.” (Green) the latter of which refers to the bits of information that the readers are given in the epilogue and wanting more of the story behind what we see at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Rather than giving her readers a vague hint of what happened after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling should have saved them the pain of seeing the characters who they loved for years have endings that were different from what they had planned. It is always better to have less story, but please more people with the story that you give them, and this is a message that J.K. Rowling seems to have missed out on. All authors share the ownership of their characters and their stories with their readers and fans. The more a reader loves a book and the characters in a book, the more they feel as though they are a part of the series, and that they should have input on the way the books happen. Of course, they have no actual input, but going directly against what the fans want is not a good way to treat the people who have built an author's career. I'm not advocating playing into only what the fans want, but listening to fan input and opinions would be a good idea for many authors.
The epilogue deviated from the rest of the series in its overall feel. The other books never let the reader believe that the characters lived happily ever after, which left most readers hungry for more story. The goal in the end of the final book was not to leave readers wanting more story, but to tie up loose ends. J.K. Rowling said that Harry tries to create for his family the peace and calm he never had as a child (Brown), the happily ever after that never happened in seven books and should not have been tacked onto the end. If J.K. Rowling wanted to show an ending, this goal could have been achieved in other ways. For instance, if there had been some discussion of the future in the final book, J.K. Rowling’s concepts of how the characters fared after the books were over could have been incorporated naturally.
With the epilogue, the readers are given bits of information that isn't useful without the context to support it. In interviews that she gave after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, she elaborated on the backstory, and with the announcement of Pottermore in June 2011, it was determined that J.K. Rowling would be releasing more information about the world that she created. If she had plans for all of this, which she probably did, she should have not included the epilogue in the book. With Pottermore and the rest of the fan community on the internet, readers can learn and theorize about what happened to their favorite characters to their heart's content, regardless of the existence of the epilogue. For readers who care to learn more, the epilogue is irrelevant. For readers who don't care to find more out on their own, the epilogue is unnecessary.
The epilogue was greatly unsatisfactory and made Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a less stellar than it could have been. Harry Potter will be continued, carried on by fans of the books, but it will not be following the trend of “Nineteen Years Later” in letting everyone live happily ever after. The series thrived on conflict throughout, and it will not be changing now.
Brown, Jen. "Finished 'Potter'? Rowling Tells What Happens Next." Today. MSNBC, 26 July 2007. Web. 22 Nov. 2011. . N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2011.
Green, Hank, narr. Book Eight. 2008. Vlogbrothers. Web. 22 Nov. 2011. .
Mapes, Marty. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2." Movie Habit. Gawker Artists, 15 July 2011. Web. 22 Nov. 2011.
Rowling, Joanne K. Interview by Meredith Vieira. "JK Rowling One-On-One: Part One." Today Show. NBC. 26 July 2007. Web. 22 Nov. 2011. .

0 Fab Fans: