J.K. Rowling and her unhealthy obsession with her brainchild

“Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

This is perhaps the most touching and comforting statement made by JK Rowling till date, concerning the world famous Harry Potter series at least. This particular announcement by her warranted many tears shed in joy and admiration of the lady who singlehandedly changed the definition of childhood for the entire world. I don’t need to tell you, I’m sure, that there isn’t “a child in the world who doesn’t know his name”.

Of course, if you’ve been following this blog through the past year, you’ll know that I am absolutely devoted to the series. If you haven’t been following it, let me tell you that I am absolutely devoted to the series, and trust me when I say that I am. You can take a religious man’s faith away from him faster than you can take my obsession of Harry Potter from me. And so, armed with that knowledge, I hope you fully appreciate how difficult it is for me to say the following words:

J. K. Rowling needs to quit it.

For years I have been a devout follower of Rowling, belonging to that sect of society which called her “Queen Rowling” and clung on to her every word as though it were spoken from the mouth of God (Richard Feynman for us atheist folk). I was crushed when the series ended because the best part of my life had now finished and it seemed for the longest time that there would be nothing new to look forward to. So, when Rowling’s interviews regarding the series began cropping up here and there, I could be found blowing Internet data on the same.

But then, as countless poets and other less wise folk have said before, you can never have too much of a good thing. Perhaps propelled by the great reception she received for the tidbits she dropped about the series, Rowling decided to launch Pottermore, which is, as any true Potterhead will consent, the single greatest mistake of the fantasy world (the Twilight Saga notwithstanding). Pottermore, which started off as a way for obsessive Potterheads (ahem) to relive the adventure, soon turned into the gigantic pain that is forced information. Kudos to the IT team for creating the prettiest assassin of any fantasy series ever.

Pottermore, it would turn out, was the first of many mistakes. First, but by no means the least. Rowling thought it fit, for reasons I cannot possible even begin to comprehend, to announce that she’d rather Hermione have ended up with Harry than Ron. Oh the uproar! Fans all over the place started justifying their opinions to one another, turning a beautiful romance into the subject of a Security Council session. Indeed, those who see Harry and Hermione as the better couple (yet again, who knows why) got their perfect argument: “If Rowling herself says it, they’re OBVIOUSLY the better couple”.

Shocker.

Then came the profiles. Hallowe’en last year saw the life sketch of Dolores Umbridge, giving the most hated person in Potterverse a chance to be human, which was the last thing we wanted. Umbridge used to represent the very image of annoyance and hatred, before Rowling went ahead and softened her up for us by playing the messed up childhood card. And more and more and more stories of characters and places and all before and after the events of the seven books were spouted like an incessant stream of vile poison by the woman we once considered to be the greatest thing to happen to fantasy since Tolkien.

At last, with the most Hades-ish twist imaginable, Rowling decided that our souls meant nothing next to the popularity of her precious series. She announced on the seventeenth anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, that she would be apologising for each of the deaths she feels sorry for. It’s like she’s decided to exhume the bodies of the characters who became closer to us that kith and kin, say: “I’m sorry you had to die”, and left the bodies to rot in the sun. Trust me, I do not exaggerate; that is an understatement if anything.

That was the final nail in the coffin. Whatever little redemption I had been saving for Rowling went flying out the window, on a Thestral no less. Rowling, in her vain attempt to keep the series fresh in our minds, has been pulling off tricks which do nothing more or less than to drive us away from her. We understand that the HP series helped her out of a difficult time and that it’s difficult for her to let go of it, but she needs to understand that once she allowed readers to cry their eyes out at the last word of the last book, she relinquished the right to use the series as her own personal crutch.

Harry Potter has been more than a fantasy series for people to enjoy. It has been a friend, a parent, a support system, a voice to allow us to differentiate between right and wrong. Most of us aren’t obsessed with the series because it’s a brilliant work of art; we are devoted to it because it has touched our lives and souls in a way that nothing else has, or ever can. We grew up with these people, ate with them, learnt with them, laughed and cried with them and lived with them. When Rowling decides that she wants to make these radical announcements, it’s as though she’s taking our innermost feelings and making a public display out of them, which we just don’t like.

Now for those who aren’t as hopelessly glued to the series as us, lucky them. If you DO consider the HP series just as a work of fantasy which you’ve learnt to enjoy for indescribable reasons, you’ll agree to this. Any fantasy series, or story for that matter, is dependent upon its readers and their imagination. The work only stays alive and growing for as long as its readers are actively debating and discussing the story. When you give us every last detail, you put a stop to the wonderful imagination of the millions who want to keep the series alive in their own little ways. You kill all those fans and all their fantasies, and you have no right to do that once you’ve given the series to them.

J. K. Rowling, brilliant that she is, has perhaps forgotten that fundamental rule of fantasy. Whereas we love reading more and more writing from her, we’d really appreciate it if she didn’t make it about Harry Potter. Dear Joe, you’ve done your part, and beautifully at that, but now let us keep the series alive. It’s time for you to let it go. Trust us, we’ll keep it alive.

Comments are welcome.

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Why Kit Harrington losing his job isn’t as amusing as it sounds

Game of Thrones has finally done it.

The death of the much-loved character Jon Snow, portrayed by the shaggy Kit Harrington, was imminent to all those who had been following the show for the past few episodes. It therefore came as a great shock when, on Sunday, Game of Thrones decided to do the Lord Commander of the Night’s watch in, seeing as how GoT is notorious for doing the unexpected. This is, of course, completely contradictory to the plot of the books, where Jon Snow is not confirmed dead, but is rushing into Battle against the Boltons.

Throughout season five, Game of Thrones has been straying from the plot of the books, which had caused even the most avid book readers, who until now were smug about being in on the story, to be as in the dark as the show-watchers. Other than changing minor details about characters’ lives, the show held true to the plot in earlier books and the story seemed to progress logically. Then season five began and, as the phrase so eloquently puts it, “all shit hit the fan”.

Personally, I loved the Game of Thrones show series (notice the past tense), because of its shock value, great writing, honest acting and pretty well done cinematography. The show didn’t fail to impress every year, and even at the beginning of every season I would wait for the ninth episode, which in Game of Thrones history has shown to be the heart-stopper. Season five kicked off well enough, showing the same level of direction and acting skill that GoT is known for, and I believe it reached its peak with the episode High Sparrow, which had the perfect shock value and skill balance.

However, even someone as blind as Maester Aemon can tell, the show has been going steeply downhill ever since then. In an attempt to thoroughly shock the book readers as well as the show watchers, GoT has succumbed to reducing their plot to include ONLY the shock value, relying upon the gullibility of the viewers to propel the series forward. Of course, there will be the devoted fan criticizing this post for being unappreciative of the show, but you can’t please everyone.

One of the greatest joys of watching Game of Thrones was watching the characters react to the situations thrown at them in the controlled amounts that beget the best type of reactions. With season five, however, it became clear that none of that skill of acting would be seen because the show had decided to pull all the stops with regards to the plot, thereby forcing the characters to react to too much information at once, and causing the scope of acting to go steeply downhill. But the acting isn’t even the worst part.

In a failed attempt to allow the shock value of the show as the highlight, GoT clearly ignored the finer points of the series, like developing the show for it to be carried forward. The overuse of plot in the last few episodes guarantees that the show will have plenty to dish out in season six, but also that none of it will be at all substantial, because all that the show is aiming to do now is shock their viewers. What will be next? The death of Arya Stark, perhaps? Or the murder of Tyrion Lannister? Whereas twists such as these would have made my insides quake in the earlier seasons, where the story progressed in a fashion which made for maximum entertainment, now they are just an annoyance.

What makes a great story? Is it just the unexpected happening one after the other? Going by the logic being followed by Game of Thrones, it certainly seems so. It’s true that without an element of surprise, plots start to fall apart, but that hold true when the shock is an element, and not the entire foundation of the series. Game of Thrones used to be a fast paced rush of emotions, leading from romance and erotica through the shock of murder to the pain of death. Now, however, the plot has completely lost its balance, and the delicacy of a developing story has been thrown to the wind.

The books manage to preserve this delicate balance, mainly because Martin refuses to take to senseless butchery (despite what many believe) in the name of entertainment. So what is up with the writers of the show? Recently, friends of mine had a discussion about the show and one of them said that the show has become so ridiculous and so uni-directional in its approach that even the unexpected has become expected. I rebuffed him at that time, saying that the show’s unexpected plot twists were the only thing which made the show worthwhile. Clearly, I was wrong.

I was extremely certain of the death of Jon Snow after episode eight of the show, Hardhome, but not because it somehow fit into the plot or because it gave the story some weight or balance. I knew that Jon Snow would die because I could see that the show had resorted to cheap writing, where killing off characters and needless cases of rape are the only way emotions can be arisen. I knew that Jon Snow would soon suffer because that was the only way the show could keep the shock value going, seeing how their creativity now sits at the bottom of a pile of rotting oysters which Arya Stark cannot sell.

I therefore HOPED to be blown off my feet in the season finale, to see Jon Snow live through another season, but I was, of course, disappointed. It would seem that unless the show writers are empowered with the ability to kill of characters as they please, they aren’t able to write a half decent episode. I have half a mind to stop watching the show, because the level to which the acting and screenplay has fallen seems irredeemable, but I like to hold onto the hope that after season 5, the people pulling the strings will realise the grave errors of production that they have committed, and pick up their game where they crushed it beneath the feet of giants from Beyond the Wall.

It’s a shame to see such a promising series, inspired by the brilliance of Tolkien, go to the direwolves this way. The show was undoubtedly one of my favourites, and it will be a sorry thing to watch it go down the drain. I therefore am seriously contemplating putting an end to this misery, and leaving the show behind with whatever good memories of it I have left.

Comments are welcome.

Dead men can’t eve-tease

Often, we find ourselves complaining that femisim Has turned to misandry and that men are targetted unfairly, but posts like these make us realise that problems like sexual harassment and other gender based discrimination still exists in our society at a level which is sick and morally appalling. A change is in order.

Radhika

finalI was 10 when while waiting for the school-bus outside school, a man walked up to me and showed me his exposed penis. I ran from him, climbed up a tree, and stayed there till the school-bus driver came looking for me.

I was 12 when it became a routine for my school-bus driver to make me sit back in my seat next to him, while he extended his hand to open the door to let a new kid in at every stop, and calculatingly brush his hands against my budding breasts. It took me a week to muster up the courage to complain to my father.

I was 14 when one day, I shaved my legs and threaded my eye-brows for the first time, and suddenly everyone in school noticed the unknown girl in the short skirt of the uniform. Embarrassed by the whispers around me, I pretended to…

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