Thursday, August 03, 2006

Jo Rowling, Killer of Ambiguity

Speaking in New York this week, J.K. Rowling put an end to several burning fandom discussions (is Dumbledore really dead, is Snape really evil, a broad hint about whether Harry is going to survive the series--click through at your own risk). I'm not remotely surprised by any of her responses, but I am surprised that the usually close-lipped Rowling has suddenly decided to spill the beans on so many contentious issues. To be perfectly honest, I wish she'd kept mum. It's one thing to feel certain that a story will unfold in a certain way, and another to know that it will because the author told you. The former allows the reader to maintain a frisson of suspense, whereas the latter takes something away from the reading experience.

On the other hand, maybe Rowling is just as tired as I am of some of the more inane Potter-related speculation that's been floating around lately (Rowling should kill Harry because children need to learn about death is a recent personal favorite, but there are plenty of others). Anything that puts paid to the puzzling yet prevalent attitude that the books are being written by committee can only be a good thing.

5 comments:

kev mcveigh said...

She hasn't confirmed the final showdown...
Voldemort: Harry, I'm your father..

Liz said...

To be honest I'm amazed anyone could have thought the opposite of spoler number 4, because it seems so obvious to me what she's setting up. Perhaps she doesn't think of it as much of a spoiler.

Besides, I'm betting there's a lot of more exciting stuff in book 7 she hasn't even mentioned, and she's off sitting on her piles of gold cackling madly about what she's going to unleash on the fans. Or so I like to imagine.

Anonymous said...

Now, that the transcript ist out (at Leaky Cauldorn: http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/
#static:eventreports/jkrnycnight2), I think, that JKR is still ambiguous with her answers.
1 & 2 of the "spoilers" noticed by Lumos seem to be right, but they do not spoil much - at least in my opinion.
I also think 3 & 4 are right, but JKR doesn't says so. She makes clear, that Dumbledore is quite dead. I think that's no surprise for the most readers. As she doesn't answer the question, whether Dumbledore plays an important role in book 7, it seems he does - but it isn't clear.
Now, about the good Snape. Actually JKR says: "Well, Salman, your opinion, I would say is, right."
So what is Salmans opinion? Salman: "So, is Snape good or bad? In our opinion, everything follows from it." His opinion is, that it is most important, whether Snape is good or evil. Is that ambiguous, or not?

Have fun - Oliver

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Anonymous said...

I believe that Dumbledore is dead - but I just have this little block in the back of my mind that wonders how Rowling, if Dumbledore is truly dead, passed over an important detail. Every time the Avada Kedavera curse was used before Dumbledore, the victim just crumples and falls dead. Dumbledore, however, was shot up and backwards off the tower. Usually Rowling pays very close attention to such details. What's going on with this? Is it on purpose to give the readers some sort of hint, or was it an accident??

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