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Milk the Franchise | July 20, 2017

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J.K. Rowling's Greedo Shoots First Moment

J.K. Rowling’s Greedo Shoots First Moment
Ron Seifried

In an age of revisionism, we should not be surprised at an author’s revelation of second thoughts of a published work. For the love triangle from the Harry Potter novels., J.K. Rowling sudden change of heart in the direction of the three main characters love lives have drawn varying degrees of emotional outpouring from fans of the series.

Specifically, Rowling has stated that she regrets Hermione Granger ending up with Ron Weasley and that she should ended up with Harry Potter. “I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment,” she says. “That’s how it was conceived, really. 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.”

Combined with actress Emma Watson’s upcoming stint as editor for Wonderland magazine, where the full interview with Rowling will appear, this has all the makings of a crafty marketing campaign.

But is this why Rowling decided to state her change of heart, to assist Watson’s secondary career?

Since the Potter series ended, Rowling never struck me as a revisionist but more of an addendum editor.  There were some raised eyebrows last year on the announcement of the prequel film “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” or her revelation that Professor Dumbledore was gay. But outside of theme park openings and the Pottermore website, Rowling was firmly committed to explore other literary endeavors.

Rowling is not the first person to express a change of heart of their creations, and she will not be the last. But is the multitude of online editorials taking its effect on literary creators? J.R.R. Tolkien continued to revise Middle Earth after he completed the journey, but then again there were no endless online discussions until long after Tolkien’s death. Rowling is alive and well, and any hint of a change of history will drive the debate. This is a unique opportunity to hear how the creator has evolved in thinking after publication.

I only read the first couple of Harry Potter books, but watched the entire film series. It seemed obvious to me that Harry and Hermione would end up together, and I was surprised that toward the end of the series there were small hints (in the films) that Ron would end up with Hermione. I always felt Jenny Weasley was forced on Harry as a poor substitute for Hermione.

Harry Potter

Bizarre Love Triangle: Who really should end up together?

I don’t buy the online chatter that most men cannot handle a woman like Hermione Granger, because in some ways I married Hermione Granger. Or that Ron Weasley was not good enough for Hermione because he was just a sidekick and Hermione deserved the hero and not the hero’s helper. Ron Weasley was a well developed and loyal friend to Harry who constantly risked his life to help his best friends, with little care to the consequences.

For Rowling to talk about the Harry-Hermione-Ron love triangle now, it is apparent that she has been giving plenty of thought to this. She is not concerned with the repercussions of her change of heart, and in the overall review of the Harry Potter world, this may end up a footnote. The books will not be recalled and the films will not be reedited to revise the story-lines. This is just one writer expressing her personal thoughts on her literary creation, except this time it is one of the bestselling book series of all times. She does not have the resources to change all known copies of Harry Potter, nor does she have the desire too.

Is she an artist not completely satisfied with her final product or someone hinting on future endeavors in the world of magic? What artist is ever completely satisfied? John Lennon has stated numerous times he wanted to re-rerecord some of his best known songs. Lennon and Rowling and other artists have a different perspective to their creations that the public will never understand.

Independent filmmaker George Lucas had the resources to change his best known work. Re-releasing the original Star Wars with new visual effects and reinserted scenes, Lucas explained that he was never completely satisfied with the original 1977 cut and wanted to enhance the viewer experience. With Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound at his disposal, Lucas proceeded to “upgrade” the visual shots with state-of-the-art special effects and enhanced sound without affecting the story.

Except for one crucial scene. In his deluded thinking, the iconic filmmaker decided to have space pirate Han Solo shoot bounty hunter Greedo first, when confronted by the Rodian alien in the Mos Eisley cantina. One split second of lucky self defense against an incredibly poor shooting green lizard forever change the makeup of one of cinema’s most beloved characters.

Star Wars

Greedo Shoots First and a universe shifted
©Lucasfilm

No longer was Han Solo the brave space pirate, now he was reduced to one lucky quick-trigger finger SOB. Add in the repetitive and poorly conceived deleted Jabba the Hut scene, we begin to understand Harrison Ford’s feeling that Han Solo was not an interesting character and why he wanted Solo to die in killed in Return of the Jedi. Because Ford was not signed to all three films of the original  trilogy, Lucas had Solo frozen at the end of “Empire Strikes Back”, the filmmaker was protecting himself from Ford’s fickleness.

Lucas’s decision to make his revisionist history the only available copy of Star Wars available ever, it became the most glaring outrage. What he did was recreate his vision and wait for the original fans to either forget or die off and let future generations in on the revised history of Han Solo. We can only hope with Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, the original cut will be made available.

Steven Spielberg is another artist who had second thoughts on a project. For the 25th Anniversary of “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial,” Spielberg digitally removed all firearms in the climatic bicycle chase, stating that he felt guns and kids should not mix. This being an illogical assumption, because if an alien from another planet ran off with a little boy, guns would certainly fit in the equation, , Spielberg has had a change of heart. All copies of E.T now have both versions available and when the film airs on TV, the original cut is shown.

The world of Harry Potter she created is a living document, but Rowling needs to tread carefully. The backlash George Lucas got after the Special Editions and prequels did irreparable harm to the Star Wars franchise. I do not see the same happening with Potter, but the age of social media is a fickle thing. I applaud Rowling’s bold and honest statement, but this unfortunately this opinion is not shared by all.

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