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On Fandom and Regrets

So, I just saw the "Breaking News" that J.K. Rowling has said she regrets pairing up Ron and Hermione.

2007!Auds would have been PISSED to hear this.

2014!Auds is a little more evolved on the issue.

My main contention is that this is "news" at all. I kind of loathe all the post-DH interviews she has done about HP. I get that the fans want as much insight and information as possible to really fill in all the blanks. It's cool knowing that Percy married someone named Audrey (unless, like me, you share the name of Percy's wife and find yourself shuddering at the thought of marrying him). It's great that she always saw Dumbledore as gay. These tidbits don't really affect the outcome of the story or the meaning of the books. That's why I don't really care. To me, unless it's in the book, it doesn't matter. I kind of had to make that decision after the movies started coming out and fucking with the canon. The movies present some pretty what-ifs but they don't add or detract from the canon. The books have to be all that matter. They are a much richer and more authentic way to experience the stories.

But since others have decided that this regret is news, I guess I'd like to share my two cents.

I actually have to kind of back her up on this. Shock, I know. Since I was once a "die-hard" Ron/Hermione shipper, you'd think I'd be crying in my butterbeer right now. Alas, earwax I am not. I've grown and I've come to realize, yeah, maybe she might be right. Actually, we can't tell her she's wrong because they are her books and she is the only person who gets to regret writing certain things or not writing certain things. That is totally her call and her right and we are wrong for saying otherwise. Real talk.

"For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron."

What this shows me is that a) she's a human and b) as she's gone on to write other, non-HP things, she has maybe realized that some of the plot points she clung to didn't make the most literary sense.

To me, the worst part about this is that it keeps her "fans" feeling entitled to hearing that their ship is valid. This woman wrote a fantasy series for children. Let's not forget that she was not commissioned to author YOUR fantasy fulfillment novel. It drives me nuts how "fans" of things feel like their ideas and input should be taken into account by the creators just because the fans want to see something on the page or screen. Rowling had absolutely ZERO responsibility to read or respond to wish lists and demands about what the fans wanted to see happen in the books. In fact, I could argue that the series might have been stronger if she had shed any sense of responsibility she felt toward the fandom and had written what made the most literary sense. Yet the fans just show themselves to feel entitled to reading an ending that satisfies their specific vision of the story.

Also, I really detest this focus on the ships and the relationships in the books. These books are incredible adventure tales. They chronicle a boy's journey into manhood. The books are lush with unique characters and settings and backstory and intrigue and mystery and the triumph of good over evil. To reduce them to a Twilight-like tale about who ends up with who is simply narrow-minded. Reading them through a shipping lens is actually a LESS enriching experience than just reading a tale about a boy and his two best friends who are fighting evil.

I couldn't articulate it at the time, but this is what irked me so much about the HP fandom (and later the Community fandom). I started participating because I was seeking to enrich my experience with these books that I LOVED. When I finished Goblet of Fire, I needed more. I needed a place to discuss these fabulous stories with people who loved them as much as I did. And I found Mugglenet, and then somehow I found Ron/Hermione shippers, and I thought, hey, this is cool. I met a lot of really great, like-minded people. And by met, I mean actually physically met them.  But I never felt comfortable with this militant us-against-them mindset. I never needed the validation of Rowling writing my ship into existence. Well, maybe I needed that at the time, but now, as time has gone by and I've grown up, I realize it was wrong to expect that of an author.

Whether you are a fan of a movie series, a comic book, a TV show, a series of novels, you must ask yourself: why? Why are you drawn to this piece of work? What makes this a worthwhile fandom for you? And after you've answered those questions, you must ask another. Why be a fan of something if it's a conditional relationship? Doesn't the creator deserve your respect? Didn't the creative team behind the piece of work earn your respect? Putting conditions and expectations on the creator totally defeats the purpose of being a fan in the first place. It's like saying to your boyfriend or girlfriend, "listen, I really like you and I want to go out with you. But in six years, if you don't end up turning into the person I want you to be, then I won't like you anymore. What attracted me to you in the first place no longer matters. Now all I want is for you to do what I tell you to do."

The attitude I am seeing reflected on comment boards is one that is tired of Rowling and her silly ideas about how the books should have ended. This is absurd! Especially when they are her books, these are her characters, this is her world. Let's all just relax, put on our seatbelts and go along for the ride. It's OK for her to write whatever she wants. Her "fans" shouldn't make her feel shitty about it. Be real, people.


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(no subject) - darya84842 - Nov. 17th, 2016 01:29 am (UTC) - Expand
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