I think April was the most memorable month of the year for me because of the A to Z challenge. I broke my routine of doing fiction and instead wrote about one of my all time favorite book series – The Magical World of Harry Potter. Being part of groups of book lovers, the series never goes long without discussion. One such discussion ended up with the question, “What would you change in Harry Potter if were asked by JKR to rewrite it for her?”
Looking back in time, I remember the day when the final installment of the seven part series was released. Never have I stood in line at 6am for anything, but for this book, I reached the library early. The library had procured 3 copies, one of which I had reserved in advance, but with so many other patrons demanding that, I couldn’t risk it. I took the book from the librarian before he could even open the shutters to the library, and read the book, cover to cover in 5 hours, skipping breakfast, brunch, and bath. What I looked forward to the most was to see how Rowling would end it. And at that time, I was happy that she chose Harry to win over Voldemort. Good triumphing over evil, the epitome of what I wanted to see in a book.
If I were to see it now, as much as some of my friends might crucify me for the thought, I would change the ending. The prophecy that tied Harry and Voldemort said, “Neither can live while the other survives.” While I would have kept the ending that Harry killed Voldemort, I feel Rowling could have killed Harry off too, perhaps. That way, the prologue would be avoided. Or else, even if Harry were to be alive, avoid the marriage with Ginny. Though Ginny and Harry are pushed as a pair since the second book, I did not feel the love there. Even Ron and Hermione getting married felt strange. And Harry naming his child Albus Severus as well. It felt like Rowling was making it up to the reader for killing some beloved characters earlier in the book, but an overdose of sweetness in the epilogue feels over the top, now that I think of it in retrospect. So if I were to suggest a rewrite for the novel, that would be it. And it wouldn’t be over the top to think of it, actually, because I remember news articles from those days reporting that Rowling was actually contemplating killing Harry.
It makes me wonder, what would have happened if Harry died and Voldemort survived. Even if Voldemort killed Harry, I feel one of the Order, or Neville, might have killed Voldemort (who was no longer protected by the Horcruxes). So a double death seems the way it could have gone. How Rowling would have written the epilogue then is anyone’s guess.
So what would you change in Harry Potter if were asked by JKR to rewrite it for her? And don’t reply “Nothing at all”. It’s not like your thought would change the existing book anyway. Also, if it pricks you as a Potterhead to answer the question, please realize that it took a lot out of me to think of what I would change to a series I’ve read at least 20 times, if not more.
(© 18th June 2016)