16

Is there even one confirmed instance of J.K.Rowling changing her mind about HP book detail to accomodate fans?

To be specific, I mean an instance where:

  • Rowling had a plan to write a specific detail in one of books #2-7 in one way.

  • There was a specific fan request/desire to have the detail turn out another way. Either mass-movement, or a few very vocal fans.

  • Rowling changed the detail to accommodate this request/desire.

  • Must be explicitly acknowledged as the cause of the change by Rowling.

    I might be willing to consider nearly-certain circumstantial proof from another source (e.g. documented proof of original draft detail, and correctly-timed highly public pressure to change it) if nobody can give the example that is officially acknowledged, but the proof must be extra-convincing for me to accept the asnwer.

  • Limited to HP books 2-7.

  • Preferably something less than 100% trivial (e.g. color of Hermione's dress would be trivial. Who married whom or increased importance of Neville in latter books would be good example of non-trivial elements).

12

I don’t think there are any major instances; certainly none that I can think of or find. This article on Today shares a sentiment that I’ve seen repeated elsewhere:

J.K. Rowling sketched out the deaths in the Harry Potter series years ago, and from that point forward no amount of pleading from fans, friends or even family could convince her to change her mind. The death sentences were set in stone, even though writing her characters into oblivion was often personally painful.

The whole article fleshes out in detail some of the deaths that did (or didn’t) occur. I won’t list names here, to avoid spoilers, but I think it’s worth reading: I certainly learnt things that I didn’t know before.


[Potential minor spoilers]

There’s only one really major change to the preplanned structure of the books that comes to mind. Arthur Weasley was originally due to be killed off in Book 5, but Rowling later changed her mind:

“I think part of the reason for that is there were very few good fathers in the book,” said Rowling. “In fact, you could make a very good case for Arthur Weasley being the only good father in the whole series.”

(quote from the Today article linked above). However, I can’t find any evidence that this was due to fan pressure. (Were there any rumours that Arthur was set up for death before the release of Book 5?).


In summary, I don’t think there are any (confirmed) instances. I’d obviously be happy to be proved wrong, but for now I think I err on the side of caution and claim that no such instances exist.

8

I agree with Alex Chan. I don't believe there are any documented instances where J.K. Rowling changed any plot points in the books based on fan pressure. She did, however, choose not to kill certain characters that were originally on the chopping block. As mentioned above, Arthur Weasley was to die, but JKR gave him a reprieve. Another character that she flirted with killing is:

Ron Weasley - CITATION

However, if fan pressure contributed to her decision to not kill the aforementioned character, it's not documented anywhere. JKR was quoted as saying, "A couple of characters I expected to survive have died and one character got a reprieve." CITATION

In one interview, JKR discusses a possible romantic relationship between Harry and Hermione, in relation to the movie Deathly Hallows Part One, and touches on the subject of fans of Harry/Hermione not necessarily being misguided in their interpretation of canon subtext. CITATION I think this is the one instance in which the wishes of one segment of the Harry Potter fandom were realized by JKR's choice, as she ultimately sanctioned it as part of the movie script. The inevitability of Ron and Hermione's romantic relationship was a theme through all seven of the books; JKR has been adamant about this. However, she allowed the possibility of Harry and Hermione having some unresolved feelings for each other to be explored in the movie version of Deathly Hallows. Long-term Harry Potter fandomers would probably recall that the online (relation)ship wars between Harry/Hermione and Ron/Hermione fans were brutal. IMO, JKR threw the Harry/Hermione shippers a bone via Deathly Hallows Part One. Character subtext is subjective, but part of book canon. My example kind of straddles both book and movie canon? I'm not sure it's what you're looking for, but here it is nonetheless! :)

  • 1
    How do you know that entire HP fanfiction community are teenagers? Because any adult who's been married or even in a normal relationship would instantly realized that Ron and Hermione constantly bickering fully and irrevocably branded them as a future married couple. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 5 '12 at 17:55
  • @DVK I never said the entire HP fanfiction community is composed of teenagers -- puzzled Ron and Hermione's constant bickering is why I found them to be a tedious couple, LOL! It's fair to say that JKR's strength is not writing romance. IMO. Also, the answer below really should be sourced. My hands are on my hips, ala Mrs. Weasley! :) – Slytherincess Feb 5 '12 at 18:25
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    It was I who said that entire HP fanfiction community is composed of teenagers :)))) [ OK, I personally know of one exception, so that's too drastic to say "entire" ]. But those who were in any way, shape or form NOT 100% certain that Ron would end up with Hermione - are. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 5 '12 at 18:40
1

I have some food for thought to contribute. I recall reading something on a website a few years ago, sometime before the last two books had come out (I don't remember exactly where I read it, it was a transcript of an interview with JKR, might have been on Mugglenet cos I was going on there a lot but it may have been elsewhere).

It was JKR expressing frustration at some of the fan speculations that she had been reading on fansites because basically, some people had correctly guessed certain outcomes that she had been intending to write, and she felt under pressure to change those particular plot points so it wouldn't appear that she had stolen someone else's idea, or so readers would be more genuinely "surprised" rather than reading something a fan had already foreshadowed, something along those lines. I apologise for my hazy memory, it was quite a few years ago now!

It didn't say whether she had actually made changes as a result of reading anything, but it did seem to suggest that she had at least considered it. That is the impression that remained in my mind, anyway - that there was a possibility that "Maybe the books were actually supposed to have turned out differently but she changed things because of some stupid fan post! Oh noooo!" (I was a bit distraught by the idea of not knowing what her original vision would have been). I know this is different to the situation in the question above, but it does relate to her making plot changes in response to things that fans were discussing... So I thought some people may appreciate knowing about that, even though it doesn't answer the original question. :)

  • +1 - that's at least plausible even if it didn't end up happening – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 18 '11 at 14:13

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