“Either must die at the hand of the other, for neither can live while the other survives”
Many authors will use what is going on in their lives and juxtapose it into their writing. For some it’s an escape and a way to express how they are feeling, and for others it’s just the state of mind that they are in at the time and it reflects in their writing. J.K. Rowling used the emotions and what she was going through in her life in the Harry Potter series.
Rowling began writing and planning the Harry Potter series during a delay from Manchester to London, King’s Cross station. It took her five years to begin the writing for the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (Philosopher’s) Stone; it was then published in June, 1997. Within the five years that it took for the book to take it’s form that we know today Rowling experience a roller coaster of emotions. She was married to her first husband in 1992, had her daughter, Jessica in 1993, and was divorced before the book was published. Many wonder if the divorce had affected Rowling’s decision to make the series so dark. Well it almost did. But there were more factors in the planning that caused Rowling to make the series so dark. The divorce however had perfect timing, because without that the series wouldn’t have been as dark. During an interview with CNN she discussed the relationships with the three main characters, Harry, Ron, and Hermione. After looking back on the series she realizes that Hermione ended up with the wrong wizard:
“I know I’m sorry, I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I’m completely absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people’s hearts by saying this? I hope not.”
It seems as if she left the imperfect couple together in spite of the fact that her imperfect couple didn’t work out and resulted in a divorce. Instead of Hermione ending up with Ron, she thinks that she should have ended up with equally powerful wizard, Harry. Within the first five years of planning she had the main plots for the series planned, the relationships, and the deaths almost completely decided. Later in the interview Rowling admits that she almost killed off everyone’s favorite wizard, Ron Weasley.
“Funnily enough, I planned from the start that none of them
would die. Then midway through, which I think was a
reflection that I wasn’t in a very happy place, I started thinking I might punish one of them off. Out of sheer spite.”
Out of all of the wizards to kill off out of spite she picked the male of the imperfect couple. At the time she was going through the divorce, her desire for men at that point was probably very low. Her decision to almost kill him was based on the emotions she was feeling as she went through the divorce.
Also during the beginning stages of Harry Potter Rowling was facing the darkest thing any child has to. Her mother died on New Years Eve in 1990. As a daughter losing your mother early in your life is a hard thing to cope with. Rowling was around the age of 25 when she lost her mother. This is the biggest factor in the darkness of the series. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, a paper in the U.K. she reveals that the reason she made the series so dark was because she was losing her mother while the series was being outlined. Rowling states that:
“My books are largely about death. They open with the death of Harry’s parents. There is Voldemort’s obsession with conquering death and his quest for immortality at any price, the goal of anyone with magic. I so understand why Voldemort wants to conquer death. We’re all frightened of it.”
Within the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone we learn that Harry is in fact an orphan and that he must live with his bloody aunt and uncle. Right from the start of the series you can see that a main theme of the novel is death. Which is one of the reasons that the story is so relatable, because at one point in your life you are going to have to deal with the death of a loved one.
When planning and writing the novels J.K. Rowling was faced with the decision on who to keep and alive and whose life she will end. Throughout the series we see many of our favorite characters lose their lives, especially during the final battle for Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. Keeping the theme of orphanage going is the reason that she killed Tonks and Lupin off instead of Arthur Weasley, according to mental floss. She didn’t kill Arthur because he was the a stable father figure in Harry’s life, and that it would have left Ron half an orphan. Ron’s character wouldn’t have been able to deal with that. However Tonks and Lupin weren’t supposed to die at first either. She needed a character to lose both of it’s parents so that she could bring the story of the orphan full circle. So poor Teddy Lupin, Tonks and Lupin’s son, was the chosen one to become and orphan.
There are also minor connections to Rowling’s life and things we see throughout the novels. For example in Harry Potter their newspaper was called “The Daily Prophet” and the newspaper that Rowling actually does an interview with is called “The Daily Telegraph”. She was also asked which Hogwarts house would you be in, and she said, Gryffindor, I hope. I value courage beyond most anything”. (jkrowling.com) That trait is one that we see is most revealing in Harry’s young life.
J.K. Rowling brought to life one of the most beloved characters of this time. The hardships in her life helped form the perfect series. Most readers hope that there are more Harry Potter books to come, but Rowling got her happily ever after story. How can she continue such a dark series in a light way? It wouldn’t be the same, so for now, readers will have to stick with the original dark seven books and eight movies.
Ahmed, Saeed. "JK Rowling Says Hermione Should Have Married Harry Potter, Not
Ron." CNN. Turner Broadcasting System Inc., 2 Feb. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.
Greig, Geordie. "There Would Be so Much to Tell Her..." The Telegraph. 10 Jan. 2006. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.
Panganiban, Roma. "12 Post-Potter Revelations J.K. Rowling Has Shared."
Mentalfloss.com. 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.
Rowling, J.K. “FAQ’s” jkrowling.com. 1 Jan. 2012. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. New York: Arthur A. Levine, 1997.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoneix. New York: Arthur A. Levine,
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. New York: Arthur A. Levine,