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How relevant do you consider JK post books and movies declarations?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by puppet, May 3, 2017.

  1. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony Prestige

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    That's always been my perspective as well. The canon is all the main works of the series.

    Granted, that can be a bit complicated if a universe expands over time. Rowling's mostly kept Potter canon under her personal control, so it doesn't have nearly as much bloat as universes like Star Wars and Star Trek.
     
  2. Jon

    Jon The Demon Mayor Admin DLP Supporter

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    There are different types of canon. Book Canon and Movie Canon are similar but they aren't interchangeable.

    I think it's important to understand what version of 'canon' one works from, since it can contradict itself.
     
  3. Sorrows

    Sorrows Unspeakable Prestige DLP Gold Supporter

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    Death of the Author: An author's intentions and biographical facts (the author's politics, religion, etc) should hold no special weight in determining an interpretation of their writing. This is usually understood as meaning that a writer's views about their own work are no more or less valid than the interpretations of any reader. The author's later opinions about their work are themselves a form of criticism and analysis, and therefore are not necessarily consistent with what's written unless the author or publisher changes it—and it can still be argued that, since the original work still exists, the author has merely created a different version of it.

    TLDR: Not that there's no canon, just that that questions not explicitly answered by the text of the work cannot simply be resolved by the Word of God or by trying to guess the author's intention.

    Now this is not a universally popular theory among writers or readers for some fairly obvious reasons. Particularly in this modern age where authors are available to their fans in a much more immediate way. We can probably guess that JK does not subscribe to this theory.

    Linsay Ellis has done a great video essay on the concept and how its evolved in our modern world that references the Harry Potter series, pottermore and fanfiction directly.

     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019 at 12:54 PM
  4. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    This is something of a twisting of the concept of the death of the author beyond its normal meaning. Traditionally death of the author is the idea that an author's interpretation of the meaning of their works is not authoritative. The concept was never intended to mean that authors cannot establish the facts of their works.

    Fact: Severus Snape's true loyalty was with the Order of the Phoenix.

    Interpretation: Severus Snape was a good man.

    The former is what JKR gets to decide as author. The latter, in the "author is dead" world, is not something JKR gets to decide. That conclusion is up to the reader, and a reader with different moral standards to JKR can disagree with her. Death of the author allows the reader to interpret the author's text without reference to the author. It does not prohibit the author from producing more text to be interpreted.

    Now, the concept was originally only ever deployed in the context of stand-alone novels (series aren't really a thing in literary fiction), whereas the Harry Potter series is an ongoing story with multiple cross-media entries. Nonetheless, that difference doesn't seem to in any way justify the extension of the concept from interpretation to facts. The use of the concept in this way -- to mean that JKR can't decide the facts of Harry Potter works -- essentially amounts to the position that authors cannot write sequels. There's nothing in the original justification of "death of the author" to support such an arbitrary position, the logical end position of which is that only Philosopher's Stone is canon.

    This just seems like the logical contradiction of personal canon with some extra-steps to disguise it. Sticking the word "reasonably" in there doesn't really change anything, because what is "reasonable" is a matter of fact determined by a decision maker, and different decision makers can come to different conclusions as to what is reasonable based on their personal opinion. Which just brings everything back to cherry picking the bits of canon you want.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019 at 2:33 PM
  5. Augustine

    Augustine Squib

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    . Multiple Christian canons exist around what is and isn’t apocryphal. I’m gonna stretch the analogy but my belief is that there is some “hierarchy” in the canon of HP , much in the same way there is a hierarchy in church texts.

    The major difference here as indentified by taure is the presence of a single author who has in your belief ownership of the characters. I agree about your reading of what Barthes means though I would argue that due to the fact the books structure around school years “the text” could reasonably seen as the 7 novels. I also think serialisation of novels in the 18th and 19th century, or say series such as the Holmes set of books or say tale recherche de temps perdu and a few others put paid to the idea that “series” arnt a thing in literary fiction (the Canterbury tales and their prologues being a clear example of a series)

    as a alternative point about the various issues of canon using the axis of production and textuality could create a view on the hierarchy of the various source of information in the universe. Where handled alone by JK , as in the books and I would say pottermore, is defensible as being the UR- texts as these are not only produced directly by here with little to no disruption from the views/ readings of another (editors make this slightly fudgey). Then there are those things which are from her hand but are transmitted and textualised but not “produced” ie Twitter and interviews. Then argueably there are those things sanctioned and approved by her over which she has some input , the movies being the key example but think here of toys etc, which are the process and combination of hundreds of people producing and creating.

    fanfiction to me is analogous to the wider mythos on saints / angels/ miracles in Christianity


    Basically i think you could reasonably have a debate as to where the cut off should be for the canon based on the method of production and reception of a text vs did jk approve it.
     
  6. Agayek

    Agayek Heir

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    If "reasonable" is a good enough objective standard for legal judgments, it's good enough for this. The general idea is "the average person on the street would conclude 'yes, that is reasonable'.".

    For this specific situation, I would hold that you could reasonably expect any given fan to have read the works, but not to have hunted down every single interview or Twitter post, etc from JKR, and so that's the standard for canon.
     
  7. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Your own post is a perfect demonstration of how "reasonable" is just a way of dressing up personal opinion, since you immediately proceed to advocate your preferred position as the reasonable one. I could equally say that a "reasonable fan" is required required to follow the author's fan website. Indeed, one would think that participating in the extras for fans would be the minimum requirement to be considered a "fan" (which, let us remember, means "fanatic") as opposed to someone who just so happens to have read the books. Clearly, not everyone who has read all the books is a "fan".

    So it's just personal opinion with the word "reasonable" at the front. In law, the standard achieves some measure of objectivity via expert evidence. E.g. if the question is if it was reasonable or negligent for a ship's Master to have performed a given manoeuvre, you bring expert evidence from an experienced ship's Master on that topic. And even then, everyone in the business is acutely aware of the different biases of the arbitrators who frequently preside over matters in that area of law. Regardless, there's is no possible parallel in HP fanon.

    All of this is somewhat off the point though, because my original argument still holds: the moment you start cherry-picking the author's works to decide what is and isn't canon, you've destroyed the concept of canon. The fact that different Christian denominations have different canons is off the point for two reasons:

    1. Separate "fanoms" obviously have different canons. A canon is relative to its domain. Star Wars and Harry Potter have different canons. So do different religions.

    2. The very act of establishing that different canon rendered those denominations a separate religion (over which wars were fought), which evidences the profound division that changing canon causes. At best you can say that the HP fandom can splinter into distinct fandoms.
     
  8. Silirt

    Silirt Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    The 'reasonable man' rule was thrown out. What determines negligence in risk-taking is now determined objectively. The dollar value of the loss, or the worst case scenario is represented by L. The risk of the loss occurring can be represented by R, so the expected loss in the absence of a precaution is RL. If the precaution costs less than RL, the precaution is reasonable.
     
  9. nevu

    nevu First Year

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    Case of canon contradicting itself : Emma Watson is clearly not black. The books reference her face as white at least once. I took the statement as more of a "it doesn't really matter, her being white or black isn't a defining characteristic"... but there's no real way to take all evidence at face value since it clearly contradicts.
    You have a link to that drabble? It sounds amusing.
     
  10. Drachna

    Drachna First Year

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    I think that anything in the movies that doesn't contradict the books is canon, and anything on Pottermore or said by word of mouth that doesn't contradict the books or the movies is canon.

    The Fantasic Beasts series is mostly canon for me, and the Cursed Child should be ignored.
     
  11. Andrela

    Andrela Plot Bunny DLP Supporter

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    I absolutely hate the very concept of this thing. For me, there is only the Word of God.

    "A statement regarding some ambiguous or undefined aspect of a work, the Word of God comes from someone considered to be the ultimate authority, such as the creator, director, or producer."

    I dislike Cursed Child, strongly. But whether I like it or not doesn't change the fact that it is canon.

    Edit: 4444th post, quads.
     
  12. Arthellion

    Arthellion Minister of Magic

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    Basically this...though I would also add that the author can give that authority to others.

    Anything JK Rowling confirms or states is canon. Even if it continues to make the world of Harry Potter less and less coherent/enjoyable.

    Rowling never set out to create a world a la Tolkien. She set out to create a story about characters. That is her guiding directive. The rules of the world matter far less than the rule of cool.
     
  13. ThatGreekLady

    ThatGreekLady Fourth Year

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    Will you guys start accepting everything JK Rowling says as canon, even if she starts contradicting facts from the original books?

    Sorry, but I personally don't accept that. For me, the original books are canon. Everything said or written afterwards should be judged separately to see if it could be canon or not. If it doesn't make sense based on the original books, then it doesn't count for me at least.

    After all, a lot of us might be hardcore fans, but most of the casual fans only know about the books or the movies and couldn't care less about what Rowling said on Twitter.
     
  14. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    People frequently compare Rowling unfavourably to Tolkien in this regard. But Tolkien was just as bad. He did a great amount of world building by letters (basically 20th century Twitter) which were unavailable to most fans until compilations were published. He also frequently revised his ideas so that multiple contradictory versions of the mythology exist. E.g. how many Balrogs are there? In one version, hundreds. In another version, five.
     
  15. Andrela

    Andrela Plot Bunny DLP Supporter

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    The movies are an abomination that should not have been created. They completely ruined the fandom. Almost all of the worst cliches were developed by people who only saw the movies and haven't read the books.
     
  16. Silirt

    Silirt Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    Since the canon is something that no one in this thread can control, the question refers to what aspects of the canon you're deliberately ignoring for the purpose of writing your own fanfiction.
    On a related note, the idea of rewriting the canon and using that as a touchstone for discussion and transformative work has been tossed around. It wouldn't have any purpose except divorcing the universe from JK's twitter handle.
     
  17. Arthellion

    Arthellion Minister of Magic

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    I think you’re fundamentally misunderstanding Tolkien if you think Tolkien is as bad as Rowling when it comes to world building. In Tolkien’s case...conflicting facts add to the mythological sense inherent in Middle Earth. Rowling lacks that focus.

    I’d also state that I don’t see it as a qualitative thing. Tolkien wrote his text with a different focus (world building and myth) than Rowling. That means each possess different strengths.
     
  18. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I think neither Tolkien nor Rowling are bad at worldbuilding. They are both at the top of the field. The "just as bad in this regard" reference was to continually modifying the universe long after the primary works are published, including to the point of revising the same items multiple times in inconsistent ways.
     
  19. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony Prestige

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    Well, one of the things about the author's declarations being "Word of God" is that authors rarely view their words that way when it comes to their own decision to revise them. Heck, the first two stories I did in my ongoing series/universe wound up needing a few revisions to fit into the canon of things I would write years later.
     
  20. KHAAAAAAAN!!

    KHAAAAAAAN!! Troll in the Dungeon Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I have a weird little three part system. It's all technically canon... there are just different types, and they really shouldn't be held to each other's rules else too many contradictions start to pop up.

    All the books and Word of Gods between the first book and Movie 8, I consider as the main "HP canon". At this point in time, circa 2010- 2011 era JKR was basically satisfied with her universe and fucked off to write her mystery novels. HP was officially done. This was a completed story and a completed world.

    The movies themselves, including the FB series, I consider to be "HP canon adjacent". They're really their own thing with their own laws.

    Everything that started to trickle out after the release of movie 8 (Cursed Child, all the half-mused word of gods, the Pottermore releases, etc) are what I consider to be "HP extended canon". Official approved releases specifically written as an attempt to flesh out the existing universe. Basically the Star Wars EU before it was delegitimized. But like the SWEU, these stories have no real bearing on the original works.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019 at 8:52 AM
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