Friday, July 20, 2007

Where Does J. K. Rowling Go From Here?

It was ten years ago that readers were first introduced to the young wizard named Harry Potter. His creator, Joanne Rowling (who used her initials--the K was borrowed from her father's mother because she lacks a middle name--because Bloombury feared boys would not read a book written by a woman), has lived with the young spell caster even longer, having conceived him on on train trip through England way back in 1990. One has to wonder, with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows coming out in a few hours, what she will do next.

After all, Rowling created one of those rare things in Anglo-American pop culture, an outright phenomenon. They are not precisely common. Off the top of my head I can only think of three other phenomena: The Beatles, Star Trek, and Star Wars. Rowling herself has said that she will never write anything nearly as popular again. And as much as her fans (among whom I am one) love her, it is most likely true. Pop culture phenomena are very rare, and I can think of no creator (whether writer, filmmaker or TV producer) who has ever created more than one.

Rowling has also said that she has no immediate plans for the future. At the moment she is not planning to write anything else set in the world of Harry Potter (and definitely not any more Harry Potter adventures), but then she has also stated that she will never say that she will never write anything set in that world again. It does seem like she wants to continue writing, and she will simply write what she really wants to write. I suppose that must seem unusual to many, as with the success of Harry Potter she is set for life. She is the richest woman in the United Kingdom; her wealth even surpassed that of the Queen. As a writer, I understand perfectly. A writer lives to write, whether he or she must do so to earn a living or not.

Of course, no one but Rowling can know what she will write. I rather suspect she will return to the world of Harry Potter, but there will be some time before she does. After all, like most people writers prefer a change of pace after doing the same thing for so long. My best friend has a theory that she might do what Stephen King did when he wrote under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman; assume a pen name just to find out if it was sheer luck that led to the success of Harry Potter or inborn talent. I am not so sure about that, although I rather suspect that if she ever writes an adult book she might use a pen name. J. K. Rowling is too identified with young adult fiction. And I rather suspect her given name, Joanne Rowling would be too.

Regardless of what Rowling decided to write in the future, I am sure many will read it. I doubt it will see the success of Harry Potter, but I've no doubt that it will be successful. And I know I will be one of the people to rush out and buy it.

1 comment:

d. chedwick bryant said...

Ten years...quite amazing and very entertaining. (and timely in a way with a bit of backlash against magical books by the ultra conservative Christian sects-- I know some children are not allowed to read JK Rowling) how sad.