Wednesday, July 13, 2011

JK Rowling and Life After Harry Potter

A couple of days ago I read an article about JK Rowling, in which the Harry Potter creator says she has written lots of material since the publication of the final Potter book in 2007, but "wanted the last film out of the way before I made any moves on the publishing front."

Obviously, marketing must have played a role in that decision. Any book Rowling releases will be the subject of a massive publicity blitz, and media scrutiny rarely seen in the literary world, two things that would likely serve only to take attention away from the Potter films, possibly costing Rowling and others mountains of money.

But I wonder if there weren't other factors involved in her decision as well. What do you do if you are the creator of arguably the world's most commercially successful literary character? How do you follow that up? Where do you go when you're already on top of the world?

The Harry Potter universe has spawned an army of adoring fanatics, people who are bound to view any Rowling creation that follows the Potter books with suspicion or even outright disdain, measuring any book that follows against an unrealistic yardstick.

So where do you go from here if you're JK Rowling? Do you create another fantasy universe or do you go off in another direction entirely?

Whatever JK Rowling decided to do - and the decision was apparently made years ago, as she continued writing after finishing the Potter series - she has the luxury of being able to satisfy only her own creative desires. She's richer than the queen of England, literally, and should remain so regardless of the fate of whatever she writes from here on out.

It's a problem I wouldn't mind having, and yet I can't help but wonder how uncomfortable a time it will be for JK Rowling as she approaches Life After Harry. My guess is she hasn't felt this uncertain since she was the only person in the world who had ever heard the name Harry Potter.


Dani said...

I'm looking forward to see what she comes out with. I have found that once I enjoy an author's writing, I usually enjoy all of their work. I have even discovered this when I found "two" authors that I liked and found out they were the same person with pen names. But I do agree with what you wrote, she will be under a microscope with whatever comes out.

Erin O'Riordan said...

J.K. Rowling, I suspect, will be the Beatles of literature. She'll be able to do no wrong. I'm excited to see what she comes out with next.