543. After completion (IX)
I said before that JK Rowling would not last; and, sure enough, every day she is cancelled a little more—my only surprise is that her reign has been so short. She still has much clout, so she is not easy to cancel; as in the Soviet Union, there are some people who it is difficult to unperson due to their usefulness—hence certain essential scientists and favoured artists were tolerated to an extraordinary degree because they were needed. Rowling falls into this category because she is still central to the Harry Potter mythos; it would be too much to out right take her name off the books—although if she were less influential this would have already happened, or else the books would have been whisked from circulation.
In truth, if Rowling were a nascent authoress and made the comments she makes today about transsexualism she would never be commissioned in the first place; she speaks from a genuine position of privilege. Still, the general direction is for her to slide down the memory chute: parents in the next generation will hardly see a Potter book as fit for their little darlings—after all, if a vulnerable tot read Potter at eight years old they might be traumatised and find themselves unable to express their true gender identity at fourteen. Better not to take the risk, responsible parents! To hand a Potter book over to your darling is tantamount to whipping out Enid Blyton’s Perambulations in Niggerland (or whatever series that notorious racist spat out in the 1950s). Do better, do the work.
Rowling has been eaten so quickly because she was a fake from the start. Harry Potter is JRR Tolkien for girls—everyone knows it. As previously noted, the series exists to provide an inverted alternative to Tolkien’s aristocratic magical world (and also to the Christian world of CS Lewis). Rowling was astroturfed from day one: the poverty-stricken single mother, supposedly “abused” by her husband, who worked for the ultra-liberal NGO Amnesty International and yet despite it all “made it”—although, of course, Rowling comes from a solid middle-class family and went to the elite University of Bristol.
Tolkien’s books were a sleeper hit, they slowly achieved fame and a wide circulation on university campuses: in other words, Tolkien’s success was organic and real—a product from an amateur activity that ran parallel to his scholarly career, a project done from love and not for profit. Rowling was created by the state-media complex, “Pottermania” was an artificial creation from day one; and what the regime giveth, the regime taketh away. Last week, Comrade Stalin applauded your risqué play (“How does he get away with it?” they whispered at the Pravda art section). This week, you are on the railway wagon to Siberia.
The same has happened, albeit more gradually, to Rowling; she thought the career that was gifted her was “hers”, too late she has discovered that it was all conditional. The amateur Tolkien answered to nobody, Rowling has always answered to the regime—our regime might not shoot people in the back of the head, but if you fail to toe the line there are still major repercussions.
So do not be surprised if the entire Potter fad is folded away in the next decade, as if it never existed—just as when I was a child Enid Blyton books cropped up from time to time but were always seen as a bit suspect, a bit smelly. “What are you doing with that? It’s racist!” “What are you doing with that? It’s transphobic!” What was artificially created can be artificially taken away, almost overnight. Those works with real roots may wax and wane over the decades, but they will always retain a core constituency to carry the legacy forwards; and this is because works like The Lord of the Rings were not created for money or to make a temporarily fashionable political point about “girl power” or the evils of blood-bound aristocracy.