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harry potter

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Harry Potter is the lead character in a phenomenally successful series of children's books written by the Scottish author JK Rowling. It was subsequently made into a series of movies.

Famously Rowling (whose first name is Joanne, but publishers were concerned a female name would put off boy readers) was rejected by 12 publishers before Bloomsbury published Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It was with the fourth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, that Rowling really got major attention, and Harry became a cult figure.

Harry ages with each book, being very much a child in the beginning, but by the Half-Blood Prince he's an adolescent, and almost an adult by the conclusion of the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, he's virtually an adult.

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About Natalie Bennett

Natalie blogs at Philobiblon, on books, history and all things feminist. In her public life she's the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.

Harry Potter

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Fifth Potter Book On The Shelf

I’m a little late (as usual) getting to this.

Elaborate plans to coordinate the marketing of the next Harry Potter book to fit neatly between this month’s release of the DVD and video of Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone and the November premiere of the second movie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, have apparently gone up in smoke.

J.K. Rowling is seemingly under some sort of spell–the British author hasn’t been able to finish her fifth installment, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, in time to be published this summer, as fans of the kid wizard had hoped.

Instead, Rebecca Salt, the London-based spokeswoman for the reclusive Rowling, said the eagerly anticipated book might not be ready until 2003.

“It could be this year and it could be next year,” said Salt, while rejecting the notion that the now very rich and married Rowling was suffering for writer’s block.

Apparently, J.K. Rowling’s successful movie-making career and the success of the first four Harry Potter books has just plain drained her. What a tragedy. How Sad. Actually there are a few things about the opening paragraphs that piss me off. First, Rowling can’t be bothered to address the situation herself. You ARE a celebrity and your books ARE popular. Look at the house, car and nice things you’ve bought with our money. Deal with it. Second, that she “hasn’t been able to finish.” What, exactly does that mean? Last, the denial that the “now very rich and married Rowling was suffering from writer’s block.” I don’t care if you are and if you’re not, does that imply that you are just too busy with the nice life to make it worthwhile for the fans that have given you that nice life? This is appalling:

Rowling has previously admitted to feeling the pressure of her worldwide success. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (I assume they mean the movie..) has grossed more than $317 million in the U.S. alone, and that doesn’t include the vast amount of tie-in merchandise…

How sad that she has made so much money. I feel terrible. Hey! I’ve got a wonderful idea on how to help her. How about you give the money to ME and concentrate on writing! Another little tidbit that annoys me:

“I understand her fans are eager, as we are, but J.K. Rowling writes substantial books, and they are not turned out as small novellas. Her last book was over 740 pages,” said Judy Corman spokeswoman for the New York-based publishing house… (ed. note Scholastic is the U.S. publisher for Harry Potter)

So the publishing house has to cover for her, since she is such a “recluse” that she can’t come out and talk to her fans. Fine, whatever. I’m just a little put off by the “substantial books, and they are not turned out as small novellas.” thing, since she did put out a book a year between 1997 and 2000. I am going to attempt a little mathematical analysis of this situation, so bear with me. First, let’s just assume for argument’s sake that each book IS, in fact 741 pages (they aren’t… even the one Ms. Corman is referring to, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is only 734 pages, which if I’m not mistaken is just UNDER 740 pages, not OVER 740 pages, but I digress…). Between 1997 and 2000, Ms. Rowling managed to write 2.0301 pages per day. Oh wait, that can’t be, since the books were published a little more than a year apart. I’ve got to take into account the editorial and publishing process. I’m not a writer or publishing insider, so I don’t know how long that takes. I’m going to throw out a random number of 150 days (5 months at 30 days per month) I’m in no way sure of that number, but I’m going to use it. (go ahead, fact-check my ass!), so taking into account that there are 365 days per year, and 150 of them are being taken out for the editorial and publishing process, that still leaves us 215 days of active writing. I’m going to assume that a full-time writer will be dedicated and disciplined enough to write on weekends, but I’m still going to give vacation and personal time, so let’s give up another 30 days. that leaves us with 185 days of active writing. This is the number I’m going with. The grand total is a whopping 4.0054 pages per day. I know that wouldn’t be MY number. I tend to get extremely obsessive-compulsive and if I’m running with an idea, I run full-tilt until I’m dead-tired. I shall assume that the 4.0054 number is an average though. I don’t see as though that’s an unreasonable amount of writing, considering that I’ve read that she already has a rough outline of ALL of the Harry Potter books done. If you know your major plot points and have a rough outline of where you want to go, shouldn’t it be a realistic goal to have a book done within 3 years?? That’s 555 days of writing, or .7489 pages per day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s easy to write a book. If it were, every yahoo (including this one) would be doing it. However, in the book Conversations with J.K. Rowling, she states that she has a rough outline and most major plot points for the entire series of books. Even taking into consideration the following PC-bullshit excuse, it shouldn’t be THAT difficult to write ONE book:

There is speculation that the increasingly darker tone of Rowling’s books might have given her pause, especially following the terrorist attacks of September 11, and led to reworking preconceived ideas for the fifth volume. And, with Harry and his pals now 15 and no longer tweens, it is believed that Rowling might be having difficulty handling their burgeoning sexuality.

What a crock of shit that is. I’m surprised that September 11th is EVEN mentioned here. How can you possibly say that you need to rework the plot of a series of books based on the events of September 11th? That is ridiculous. When do the events of September 11th stop getting blamed for ALL of the subsequent actions of the entire civilized world? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not belittling the terrorist attacks or the ramifications of such, but we are talking about A BOOK, not a foreign policy initiative. The “burgeoning sexuality” of the characters is also a total fucking non-issue. Look at the classic series of books that I grew up on, The Narnia Chronicles. There was no issue of “burgeoning sexuality.” Granted, after the third book, the characters changed, but the main characters from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe reappeared constantly throughout the seven books. This is literature folks, not real life. If you’re uncomfortable addressing such pre-teen and teen subjects, LEAVE THEM OUT. These books aren’t about coming-of-age, they are about a story, plain and simple.

All of that being said, here’s my Open Letter to J.K. Rowling, as a fan of the Harry Potter series:

Ms Rowling,

I truly enjoy your Harry Potter series of books and I look forward to sharing each of them with my eight-year old daughter. She is as much of a fan of your series as I am. Apparently, by observing the sales figures and successes of your books, the movie and all of the merchandise that is prevalent here in the U.S., we are not alone.

That being said, we are only so patient in eagerly anticipating the next book in the series. We are deeply disappointed over the delays in the publishing of the fifth volume of the series. I understand that there are human and business concerns that have been keeping you busy and that you may not have had time to finish writing the book. I sympathize with these concerns and have tried to remain patient.

I would also like to clearly express that while I truly enjoyed the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I would have enjoyed another book even more. A movie is a great tool for promoting a book and for allowing people to visualize the story as the author has, but it is in no way a substitute for the actual experience of reading. When I read, I picture the story in my head much better than a Hollywood interpretation ever can. I will go and see the movie that is due to be released in November, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. However, I respectfully suggest that you hold off on producing any more movies in this series until all of the books are released. I will absolutely not go to see any additional movies until I have read the remaining books.

I realize that I am only one fan, and I don’t represent, nor speak for, the entire fan base of your books. I have no intention of speaking for anyone else, but I for one am fed up. The ending for the last published volume in the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire had such a cliffhanging ending that it is not fair to the readers to make us wait three-plus years for the next one. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was supposed to be out for July 2002. I understand the need for some time off and some time to work on the other aspects of this huge phenomenon. I firmly believe that two years is more than enough time and it is far past time for the book. I would also suggest that you finish writing the series of books prior to expanding the franchise any further into the movie and merchandising fields. Every story has a beginning, middle, a climax and an ending. All I am asking is that you give us loyal readers all of those aspects of this wonderful, magical story.

I (hopefully) remain a fan,

Jim Schwab

Thanks to Mark Mavroudis for the link. I am well aware that this may be an unpopular view of the writing/publishing world. I look forward to anyone who would like to either fact-check my ass or provide a retort. Feel free to comment right here, or fire an e-mail back at me.

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About Jim Schwab

  • http://bias.blogfodder.net susanna

    Actually, she doesn’t owe you anything. Yes, it would be pretty disappointing if, for instance, she stopped writing completely and left us hanging for all time. And she would lose a lot of future readers if she ended the series there. But she’s not. She’s going to finish it. It’s taking her longer than she planned, and while I am also impatient to read the next installment, I don’t know that either of us is qualified to call down judgment on her head for not meeting our expectations even if they were built up by the publisher. I also agree that it would be good business, to speak directly to her fans. You have a right to question her professionalism. But you don’t know what internal pressures she deals with in her life. This is a bit harsh.

    I’m put in mind of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who tried to kill off Sherlock Holmes but his fans wouldn’t let him. Who owns the character, the fans or the author?

    Maybe while you wait you could read “Misery”, by Stephen King.

  • http://www.dodgeblog.com MommaBear

    Perhaps the writer of the above original post considers himself an employer of Ms. Rowlings, in a position to order her to make production quotas, or some such.

    That concept is most interesting, but not quite applicable here. Creative fiction writing is a fickle product, subject to the MANY vagaries of inspiration, interruptions, life in general, and a myriad host of other things beyond the ken of most.

  • http://ciscley.frohme.org Cis

    I understand your frustration, if not your anger. I think that level of impatience goes hand in hand with one’s appreciation of written pieces. We wouldn’t get so worked up if we didn’t enjoy books so much and we wouldn’t enjoy books so much if we weren’t the kind of people to get worked up. But I realized this about myself a long time ago and have chosen what I’ve read since then accordingly.

    I never start a series, no matter how popular, until there are enough books released to satisfy my interest should I enjoy them. I also never let myself get so attached to one writer that their absence from writing or heaven forbid their death upsets me as much as you describe.

    There are far too many good books and well developed series out there to keep me occupied between Rowling releases. And I can always read short books like the Potter series over again if I’m really that excited about the next issue.

    Like yourself, I really do love books more than movies and television. That’s why I don’t try to reduce their creation to some simple production schedule. Otherwise, if all authors listened to your open letter and considered their work a business instead of an artistic craft, we’d likely end up with books as cliche and formulaic as the latest Hollywood Blockbuster. Just look at what authors like John Grisham and Stephen King start to produce once they think about commerce instead of writing. Personally I don’t want that to happen to the Harry Potter series.

  • Shayna and Stephanie

    While we totally agree with the point of the above author, we feel that he should examine the facts. One, her personal pressures must be very great. Secondly, you try writing a series that perfectly coincides with the other books within it. But perhaps, your cynical attitude towards this matter may be just revelation we need to understand that not everyone has the same point of view.

  • LTR

    Get a life! Even rich and famous people have their own lives and feelings. I’d rather JK take the time to write a good book than to dash one off just to please instant-gratification whiners like you. @@

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    I don’t care one whit about Rowling or Potter, having never read any of the books. Nevertheless, as a writer I sympathize with Rowling, but as a reader I sympathize with Jim Schwab.

    It can be difficult to finish something that hasn’t ended up where you’ve been trying to steer it, and even more difficult to figure out how far back you need to go to set things straight. Add to that the fact that no matter how compelling a work of literature the book ends up being, it will disappoint a great number of people, and I can see why Rowling is in no hurry.

    However, all of those factors must have been building at a milder level during the last book or two, and it is a cheap act indeed to end a book on a cliffhanger. While Rowling is under no moral obligation to write another book just because she’s popular, she is under a contractual obligation with her publisher which she has surely violated – though obviously they won’t say so publicly. She also established a moral promise of sorts with a cliffhanger ending (the existence of which I’m taking on faith, by the way), and she does owe it to her readers to end that cliffhanger.

    Whether three years and counting amounts to “instant gratification” is left to the reader to decide, but it reminds me once again why I try to read standalone books, or books by dead people.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Daddy, I want an Oompa Loompa NOW!!!

    Perhaps a little therapy would help your completely irrational and hysterical hostility.

  • Ramana

    i would appreciate if other books such as Quidditch through the ages and all the million books about Harry Potter wuold be sold in Malaysia

  • http://n/a K. R.

    I find this man’s letter rude and annoying. Yes, it states how all of the readers feel, TO SOME EXTENT! but I would never go as far as to say “I won’t go see another HP movie until the whole series is done!” That sounds like a whining baby! I’m sorry, Jim Schwab, but you’re going to be very bored for the next few years, as I think it will take at least that long to finish the books. I’m sure she could care less if YOU never went to see another of the Harry Potter movies, you aren’t her target audience. People like me are!

    I am an author myself and I know how she must feel, trying to please everyone as a whole, even though that is impossible. At least she’s not abandoning the books, give her time and don’t be a jerk about it. Remember, she does have a family, a job, a LIFE.

    Also, cliffhangers are essential to keep the reader attached to the plot. Not to sound childish but DUH! even I knew that! How stupid do some people have to be? And I’ll tell you when she will quit with the cliffhangers…when the series is complete! Until then, deal with it.

  • Kathy J. Cox

    Dear ms. rowling
    Hi my name is Kathy J. Cox I lived here in Ga I thought I would write you a short letter to tell you I really have enjoy the Harry Potter series. In alots of way I can relate with the character I had 5 brothers and I always pick on and i sometime which I could do something to them to get them back for the way they treated me. I was the youngest and only girl. So I got picked on . they never thought I was smart but I did better in stuff than they did. well I guess that is all . I looking forward to the last two books I be glad to get them so I can add them to my books. take care and if you have time please drop me a note. Happy Easter to you. your loyal reader kathy J. cox

  • Roger

    Dear Kathy, Sorry but I don’t think Ms. Rowling lives on this web site.

    Try a few less Peyote buttons and don’t watch Harry Potter before bed.

  • nick

    emma i love you your sooooo awsome in the movie

  • jac

    You can’t do anything about JK’s writer’s block. She’s entitled to grapple with it on her own.

  • Antfreeze

    Yes, I’d like to purchase 5 lbs. of Art please. Chop chop!

  • firozi k

    i wish to invite mrs j k rowling as chief guest to our school in india – maharashtra – thane for one of our biggest function. please i would like to talk to her personally through e -mail please allow me to have her address. awaiting your reply on the above address only.
    thanks
    firozi
    23-6-2004

  • patric

    i hate miss rowling her books are satanic and i realy hate britts

  • KB

    For all thats hating on JK Rowling stopp cuz Harry Potter books are tha bom I give praise to her keep up tha good work cant wait for the rest of the series to come out
    Holla

  • jordan

    yes I would like to know how ur letter went do you know if it went throw if anyone saw it I would also like to know what address you had i would also like to send her a letter stating my ideas and criticism.
    please email me bck at goawayzin321 @ aol.com

  • http://mckito.blogspot.com RC

    Yeah I remember waiting for the 5 book for a very long long time. I believe 3 years I waited for it to be released just about. She will taker a long break after the last potter book is done. I wouldn’t be suprised if she dosent try retiring after it either.

  • Teri Rae

    I am trying to contact JK Rowling. Can I get an email address from anyone? I am a teacher who is planning to do a project with my students. I have some copyright questions.

    Can anyone help?

  • http://wisdomandmurder.blogspot.com Lisa McKay

    Teri, I’m sure the best way to get in touch with Rowling would be through her publisher. I doubt that her email address is public information.

  • Val

    my school is trying to reach her so she will come for our red ribbon week so she can make a speech do you kno her adress in the US or does she only live in UK???

  • Harryroxmysox!

    You all can hate Harry Potter all u want but I love it! Everything about it is awesome! If someone could get me Rowlings email that would be nice!

  • tamy

    You can all say anything about Joan Rowling,but you should know that she issomething really special…All writers write books for money,but I think she write for fun and to make kids(and adolts)happy.I meen-she dosent need more money!!She has taken care of her family..They won’t be hungry.And I think that she enjoyes in books about Harry Potter as much as we do.And please give me her e-mail adress becouse I need to ask her WHY IN CHRIST NAME DUMBLEDORE DIED!!!!??? That is crime against nature.Now Harry must grow up when he isn’t there to protect him,that is P.k-BUT-CAN’T YOU DO IT ON SOME OTHER WAY!??????Ihave cried for hours yesterday..please give me her e-mail adress.

  • Hilary atayi

    Hi, I’m 11 I really want to write my own story so I was hoping you could help me.I really love your Harry Potter books they are full of excitement and I wanted mine to be just like it .I was hoping you could give me some tips.Please please write back and address it to [Deleted].I’d love it if you wrote backbecause I’v all ready got my plan I just need to Put it into action.
    From Hilary

  • Anoymous

    Hi Does anyone know JK Rowling’s email?

  • reggie

    RE: comment 26
    Try searching for HP-Lexicon…its like the official site for HP.

    You’ll find how you can contact here there (not personally though)

  • http://URL Christina Indonesia

    I KNOW THAT J.K ROWLING WANTS HARRY POTTER DIED. I AGREE WITH U Mrs. BUT U MUST MAKE GOOD ENDING. FOR EXAMPLE: VOLDEMORT DIED AND HE CAN’T DISTURB THE MUGGLE. RON AND HERMIONE. U MUST TELLS US ABOUT THEM. ABOUT THEIR FRIENDSHIP. WE KNOW THAT RON LIKE HER. IN INDONESIA, FAN HARRY POTTER DON’T WANT IF THE ENDING OF HARRY POTTER IS NOT GOOD. NOT ONLY WE ARE IN INDONESIA BUT PEOPLE IN THE WORLD TOO. I KNOW U MUST BORED TO WRITE THIS NOVEL. IF I KNOW UR EMAIL ADDRESS, I HOPE I CAN GIVE U INSPIRATION TO MAKE THAT NOVEL OR BOOK 7. THANK U VERY MUCH FOR UR ATTENTION.

  • Hello.

    Hi. I read your article, and must say that the publishing company and such do tend to speak on someones behalf WITHOUT first speaking to the person, so maybe the quotes above aren’t all from J.K Rowling herself.

    I am a Harry Potter fan as well, and want to be a writer, and strongly agree that three years is quite some time! But- (yes, the small kind)- it seems J.K Rowling may be blessed in the sense that, for some of her books, she did not have a deadline. Although I’m always eager to read the next book, I can think of some things that would cause a person to not have a book out for awhile. I do think J.K Rowling is somewhat of a ‘privileged’ writer, but I guess we both know there is nothing we can do about it. *Sigh.* Although I can’t say the distrubuting of merchandise is within her grasp- that’s coming from the company that owns rights to it (or such to that degree).

    Anyway, this is a humongously late response. ^^; In other news; Happy New Year!

  • TAWNIE AND BROOKE

    WE LOVE HARRY POTTER AND WE THINK THE AUTHOR SHOULD KEEP WRITING THE AMAZING BOOKS!

  • squidbilli

    My friend and I support J.K. Rowling’s succesful book collection and encourage her to keep writing no matter what the critics say.

  • Lord Vaga

    For the user that suggested that Rowling was “Satanic” and that you hate British people, well hate is a satanic feeling. Satan wants people to hate others of other nations, Hitler hated people because they where from different nations, so in all irony it seems that you my dear friend have been influenced by the bitter hatred of Satan, bravo patric and God bless you. You have just sinned, pray for forgiveness, and run of to the confession box, your immortal soul is in need of saving :) Do you believe that Jesus supports your hatred of the British?

  • Brennan

    Does anyone have Rowling’s email or address?

  • http://SouthAfrica Trevor

    Please tell me yr email address JK rowling! have a serious qestion to ask you about Hogwarts school. I can’t ask you in front of millions of people reading this page.

  • noah

    Many people say Harry is going to die in the next book but if JK was to just make 6 books and kill off the main character in the last book what would be the use of making all thoses books?
    i also wonder how she is going to fit Harry finding and destroying all the horcruxes into one book? I argree with Phillip when he says all the books are just giant cliffhangers.

    And then what? after all the books nothing else for us to read? I find it very heartbreaking (sob sob)

  • Noah

    I looked at all the submitants and saw no one put more than one comment what’s up with that?
    I know you all will be hearing from me very often!

  • Colin

    I LOVE the Harry Potter series . Ever since the Sorcerers Stone came out I new that the sieries was going to be good . I was so exited to read the Chamber of Secrets as well as books 3,4,5,6, books 5,6, I loved But some of my friends said that 1,2,3, and 4, were better # 6 was good and I like that dumbldore died because it sets up a exiting adventure for harry inthenext book.

  • Karla

    Please, I need to contact with J.K. Rowling. I’m spanish and I have 13 years old, I don’t know if you can understand me, but please if you can answer !My sister Dafne has 15 years old and she is dying, she has a last wish: that a person say if Sirius Black is really died, becouse she loves him…Please, if anybody that knows really read this, say me !!

  • NNN

    Yes, he is gone.

  • Sarrah

    Guys. It is incredibly frusterating to wait for a book you want really badly; believe me, it happens with the five series I read often.
    But really, first, she probably will not read this, and second, her books are just perfect, and deserve as much time as they want.
    I am not going to say anyone is wrong, but she is doing her best.
    Even though this was about an earlier book, I am sure it applies for the following, last, 7th book.
    It is just sad that the movies come out before the books, but then again, the movies do not have to be written by scratch.

    I am one of the HP’s biggest fans, I have read each book about 20 times, literally, and I re-read them all of the time, including the last three I have just read again. I know justttt about everything about the characters.

    HAHA I sound like a little nerdy! I really am not; social and popular is more like it. I am juusttt crazy about her books. Anyways; please do not go crazy about something she cannot control. She does have a life outside of writing, she did say that she was going to take awhile on this book because she wanted to spend time with her kids, and it is not like it is all on her. Currently she is editing the book, and then it will go to the publisher and such. [Edited]

  • Sarrah

    And by the way,
    Sirius is really dead, she has made that extremely clear in many places

  • rose

    i cannot wait for harry potter and dethly hllows come on twenty first of july

  • sneha jha

    ok im sneha jha and im am an indian. i had searched every possible site for JKRs fan mail address,obviously in vain.

    NOW there is one thing i always wanted to ask her why are death eaters called so? they are voldermorts followers aren’t they? so shud’nt they be life eaters instead?? anyway she’s a million times more intelligent than i am so there might be a reason why she gave them that name.

    being an indian i was quite amazed when i saw the term “nagini” in the book. she has vast knowledge of every single word she writes in her book as this word nagini(for the feminine reptile) is so old fashioned in hindi we dont even use it anymore. then parvati and padma are the name of indian goddeses and people ( in olden times ofcourse) named their girls after them.

    she was 1 of the best things that could happen to our generation and im glad ill proudly say to my kids how eagerly i used to wait for almost 2 years until the next version of harry potter arrived.
    thanks and cheers
    sneha

  • JULZ

    J.K Rowling u r the best Author known to mankind…….. Please keep up the good work. Your books are so good i read them over and over. I reckon i am one of your biggest fans. I like to tell u that dont listen, bother or even pay attention to the people that call your books “satanic” .

    PS JULZ!!!

  • santosh jha

    I don’t care about Rowling or Potter, having never read any of the books.
    I only care about SNEHA JHA who enjoy to watch
    Harry potter and always waiting for New Release
    and her Brother had all the Harry Potter books which is realesed.

  • Jessica

    This website is very old. I think the writer needs to fix his/her letter. And also J.K. Rowling does not have an email address or an AIM screenname. The person who complained about J.K. Rowling is clearly wrong. Rowling has finished all her books, and like I said the website is old.

  • http://blogcritics.org/ Phillip Winn

    Jessica, yes, this particular article is dated 2002, so it’s more than five years old. The site as a whole is new every day, but thanks for reading!

  • sneha jha

    Hey a loser posted a personal comment. I thought it was against the policy. damN you guys!

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