The last book has been published and is slowly being spread throughout the world. She keeps reiterating that it is the last book. And yet, we still keep discovering new things donít we?
I didnít have Internet access when J.K. made the big announcement that Dumbledore was gay. Normally I would have found that out from The Snitch or from my friends from the site, but since I wasnít able to get onto the Internet, I found out instead from the nightly news. I told my sister, and she asked, ďThere arenít going to be any more new books are there?Ē I replied ďNo.Ē That is a fair question actually. Itís weird to keep finding out more long after weíve closed that last chapter.
This prompts a lot of questions though. Isnít a series supposed to be a complete thing? Arenít we supposed to learn everything that we need to know from the books themselves?
Having the author alive does make things different. For instance, if Hamlet is confusing to me, I canít just go online and read a webchat that Shakespeare was in. I can read interpretations of it by scholars, but in the end what you know of Hamlet is meant to be mostly in the pages themselves.
Harry Potter has such a huge fan base. Part of the promotions for the book has involved J.K. meeting with fans and answering their most burning questions. She can finally answer to things that she had not been able to before. For, all can be revealed now.
But what do these answers add to the series? Itís not the same reading something online verses reading it in her book. Thereís no grandiose scenes, descriptive elements, nor thoughtful language. It is just information that didnít fit into the story; information that just seems to hang there.
And these gems of information wonít be accessible to generations passed ourís, unless they want to undergo some research of their own beyond the books themselves. Even if J.K. pens her own Encyclopedia, as she keeps saying she will, it will not make for Harry Potter Book 8. It will be considered as a book outside of the series. A book that most readers in years to come will probably not invest in.
I think itís important to remember what these little tidbits are. They are extensions upon how J.K. envisions her world. They may be important to us, but she didnít see them as important enough to be included in her story. Some were subtly inferred. Others we never would have guessed without her insight.
They arenít and they never will be part of the story.
A series like herís is like a fine-painting that has been signed. It is offered as complete. Nothing can be added nor subtracted from it, not even by the painter his/herself. These pieces of information will never become part of the story. The fact that Dumbledore is gay may sound important to us, but if it were truly important it would have been included in the story. Such information is intriguing certainly, but really is in the end superfluous when you think about it.
I guess that I am still wishing that sheíd answered more of our questions in that last book so that there wouldnít be so many loose ends left.
Iím going to reverse myself slightly here, noting that I still see the distinctions as they are. I say that the series is complete, but even that I have a problem with. It is complete in that she finished writing the books, theyíve been edited, published, and shipped all around the world. There are only a certain number of words and pages in them, and beyond that there is nothing. Itís not like you can type up a page and stick it into the book and suddenly you have one more. They are complete entities.
But, I donít think that Iím the only one who ended the series with her mind racing with questions. Of course, I have done that with other books, but never from the last book in the series of a fictional world. It is her world, so she should have properly closed it for us.
These additions just bug me to no end. For, I want to know them, but they arenít in the story. I guess I just canít shake the fact that I really think that they should have been in there. Itís like now sheís toying with us, dangling fine jewels over our heads and daring us to reach for them. She is ensuring that everyone who is confused by her last book (which is pretty much everyone) will hunt down her webchats and interviews hoping that their questions will be asked. Itís like a publicity ploy when you think about it.
We just need to remember what these things are, and not make them out to be more. She gave us her seven books. The rest is up to our own interpretations. Sheís already had her last word. And most readers will never even see any of this. We are among the few.
We shouldnít feel like we donít know the series anymore if thereís one thing that she said on a webchat somewhere that we didnít catch. We know the books themselves. That should be important enough.
This isnít really J.K.ís doing really. With the plethora of information that we have available to us on the web, the fact that we can download interviews that happened years ago and analyze them to our hearts end, means that we have access to things that may just be confusing us more than we need to be. Piling that on top of new information and slews of fans who are well-versed in both, itís hard to know what to believe. And alas, J.K. herself hasnít been exactly consistent on her information.
I guess what Iím really saying is that we need to stick with what is absolute, which is what is in the books themselves. The rest can all be chalked up to interpretation.
We are never truly satisfied. We are always desperate for just a little bit more. Even if we know in our hearts that itís the end and itís time to move on.
Perhaps that is why J.K. has managed to still meet with such enormous enthusiasm when she reveals yet another bit of information. Even though all has been revealed already, in the book sense.
But we still have so much left to look forward to. We still have two new movies and video games down the road. And also an encyclopedia.
And us Snitchers are such dear friends already. Something like that doesnít just go away overnight.
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