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Multi-billionaire author and creator of the Harry Potter franchise, J. K. Rowling, seems to be attacking the tabloid press through the release of her new short story featuring a 34-year-old Harry Potter. The style of the piece is written as if it pokes fun at the press, who, an offended Rowling states, violated her privacy as well as her family’s.
On the morning of July 8, 2014, Rowling posted a notification on her Harry Potter fan website, Pottermore.com. The post made by the magical author was that of the aforementioned short story. The story is told through the point of view of Rita Skeeter, a small supporting character from the Harry Potter novels.
In the book series, Skeeter was a reporter for The Daily Prophet – a widely-read newspaper within the world of wizards. The style of Rowling’s short reflects that of a gossip column. The setting of the story is at the 2014 Quidditch World Cup. Rowling displays her intelligent marketing techniques in this piece by conveniently releasing the short story the same time as the actual 2014 World Cup currently being held in Brazil.
Through the words of Skeeter, readers can see that the character is taking stabs at the principal Potter characters, seeking out their faults. The intensity of Skeeter’s critiques could possibly be a satire on the negative words that various reporters have written about Rowling and her family. The character of Skeeter attempts to make slams below the belt at the original trio of heroes from the franchise who are, apparently, not the young and bright adventurers they once were.
Skeeter comments on the wizards’ greying appearances, but also gives fans a glimpse at what the beloved characters are like in the present time. Ron Weasley has apparently left his job at the Ministry of Magic and has decided to run his family’s joke shop. Hermione Granger, who is still married to Ron Weasley, has worked her way up in the ranks of the Ministry of Magic and has become the Deputy Head of Magical Law Enforcement. Harry Potter is still looked up to as “The Chosen One” amongst the community of wizards and has earned the title of “Auror,” a master wizard who battles wizards that practice dark magic.
J. K. Rowling continues to attack the tabloids in this new Harry Potter story through the use of Skeeter’s seemingly subliminal insults toward the characters. The mischievous reporter writes that Hermione still remains the “femme fatale” of the trio of principal characters, and even attempts to create speculation that Harry had a homosexual relationship with Viktor Krum – a former competitor of Harry’s during their quidditch days at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Additionally, Skeeter provides readers with small updates on other supporting characters from the franchise such as Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom. Though Rowling has cleverly enticed readers into Harry’s world once again through this piece, she states that she has no plans to write another Harry Potter novel.
The attack on the tabloid press through a Harry Potter short story is a bold move by J. K. Rowling, indeed. Now that she has acquired a more mature audience since the publishing of the final Potter novel seven years ago, Rowling may have a better reception from her fans on this move than she would have had before the release of the last novel. The new short story by J. K. Rowling can be read by creating an account on Pottermore.com.
By Cody Collier