J.K. Rowling makes her annual apology for killing off ‘Harry Potter’ characters

J.K. Rowling continues to apologize for killing people in the "Harry Potter" series.
(Dan Hallman / Invision)

Much like the reading of names of the dead at a small-town Memorial Day service, J.K. Rowling continues to remember the deaths of “Harry Potter” characters in her own special way.

Specifically, by apologizing.

But first, some background information.

Fans of the “Harry Potter” books will know that May 2 is the anniversary of the final battle of the series, in which the Order of the Phoenix and the Death Eaters bloodily fought until Voldemort was vanquished and his followers conquered.

For people who aren’t fans of the book: In the last of the seven “Harry Potter” books, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the good guys and the bad guys face off and the good guys, including Harry Potter, win. People who are fans of the book take these events very seriously and remember May 2 as the day all of this took place.


Beginning last year, J.K. Rowling decided that she should start apologizing for killing characters off during this final confrontation to try to assuage the hurt of a legion of fans who weren’t aware that their favorite tertiary character could die because, apparently, they’d never read “Little Women.”

Last year, Rowling recognized the (fictional) sacrifice of (a character she created) Fred Weasley, brother of Ron and Ginny, twin of George. This year, she’s directed the apology train at Hogwarts Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor Remus Lupin, who was killed by a Death Eater at the Battle of Hogwarts.

For her part, Rowling seems increasingly disenfranchised with the act of apologizing for killing off characters that belonged to her, as this year’s apology seems pretty half-hearted.

Perhaps even a bit defensive?

“He had to die, okay? I didn’t enjoy doing it. I’m not a monster,” Rowling seems to say, even as she apologizes for making Lupin’s infant son, Teddy, an orphan.


Rowling herself has been resistant to letting the “Harry Potter” universe die its own respectful death or, at the very least, exist quietly in its published form, as the author seems very invested in clarifying any and all lingering questions about the book series, despite the final book being published nine years ago.

That’s how we know the name of other wizarding schools and why Harry named his son after Severus Snape and that Dumbledore was actually gay, despite that none of the revelations really add anything substantial to the body of work she’s created.

It seems the reason Rowling continues to apologize to fans is because she struggles with the idea that a piece of art can be many things to many people, no matter what the artist’s vision may have been. If she can tackle that notion, she’d be able to dispense with the explanations and apologies and let the dead rest in peace.

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