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Don't Panic

J.K. Rowling Says “Directors Cut” and “Maybe” In a Sentence With Harry Potter; Everybody Flip Out, I Guess?

J.K. Rowling has a new book coming out soon, her first book that isn’t a Harry Potter book and so necessarily her first book since finishing the Harry Potter series. So it’s not surprising that there are a lot of interviews out there and that there are a lot of good quotes from her about writing, writing her first book that isn’t in a fantasy setting, how fame has changed her writing process, and how she feels about her bestselling wizard boarding school series just over five years from the release of its conclusion.

Turns out, like pretty much any author, she’s not 100% happy with how all the books turned out. She feels like two of them, in particular, could have used some extra editing. And when she reads them, she assuages those feelings by imagining the “directors cut” version of them. Aaaand that’s it (despite what a lot of articles out there would like it to be).

Rowling told BBC News:

There were a couple of the Potters and I definitely knew that they needed another year. I had to write on the run and there were times when it was really tough. And I read them, and I think ‘Oh God, maybe I’ll go back and do a director’s cut’, I don’t know. But you know what, I’m proud I was writing under the conditions under which I was writing, no one will ever know how tough it was at times.

One of those books is likely Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which, if I’m remembering correctly, she’s said that she regrets handing off to publishers without giving one more editing pass. And if you asked me which book I think could stand for the most improvement, it’d probably be the very next one Order of the Phoenix, but Rowling probably shouldn’t base her actions off of which HP books I find to be insufferably frustrating and boring. All in all, it’s kind of too bad that she felt so much pressure from fans and the publishing community that she didn’t take the time to make her books as good as she thought they could be when she was writing them.

So, to reiterate: what we’ve got here is an off the cuff remark jokingly made about the common regrets of writers everywhere. It’s not a promise of J.K. Rowling pulling a George Lucas on a couple Harry Potter jokes. But it might just be an argument for why our needling of George R.R. Martin about finishing Game of Thrones should stay firmly in the realm of jokes rather than seriousness.

…says this person who doesn’t read Game of Thrones anyway…

(via Digital Spy.)


  • Adam R. Charpentier

    If she learned how to write action sequences, then she could go back and actually show us 9/10 deaths as they occurred, rather than tallying off the death at the end in the clumsiest way possible. Of course, Black still dies by stepping backward into an out of bounds space which, yanno…why the hell would you put that doorway in a room accessible via, like, the janitor’s hallway.

  • electrasteph

    It’s really cool to hear that kind of introspective musing from a great author. It’s a nice window into the process, and it reminds me to be thoughtful of the author’s constraints when I’m shooting slings and arrows at them for not doing their best work.

  • Sas Smith

    Off topic, but thanks to the pic here, I figured out that the newest logo (that I’ve seen) is NOT a female version of the 4th Doctor. Show my age, much?

  • Anonymous

    George RR Martin is the one suffering from George Lucas syndrome — he’s become so famous no on can tell him “NO” anymore. The last 2 books in ASOIF could have easily been one book (maybe 1 and 1/3). He over indulges. What the hell did Brienne DO during book 4 that couldn’t have been told in a single chapter?! “Have you seen Sansa? No… Have you seen Sansa? No…” *head desk*

    I love HP and ASOIF equally, and HP7 was the only one that I occassionally skimmed (and not b/c it was so good I had to find out what happened next ASAP). I’m not reading book 4 of ASOIF again — when book 6 finally comes out I’ll read the wiki summary. I love the series, hate that book.

  • Magic Xylophone

    “Brienne DO during book 4 that couldn’t have been told in a single chapter?!”

    You could say the same thing about Arya’s story post-King’s Landing and pre-Faceless-Men-training. Much of the series isn’t so much about incident as living in the world and observing character interaction. You get a ton of depth about Westeros and Brienne’s own past in that sequence. Plus, a couple kickass fights.

  • Magic Xylophone

    Oh come on. You gonna start complaining about the Joker falling into a vat of chemicals and Jon Osterman getting trapped in the intrinsic field chamber too?

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    No, pretty much just Black. At least we watched him die, though.

  • Anonymous

    Order of the Phoenix definitely needed some extra editing; there’s way too much filler there.

  • Anonymous

    Hmm I guess Order of the Phoenix was a little hard to get through at some points but I think Deathly Hallows needs the most love personally.

  • Sarah Asarnow

    Order of the Phoenix IS the other one: it was the hardest for her to write and she likes it the least (one of the reasons why it’s the longest book and why there was such a long wait after GoF).