“What Is Canon?” – Part 1: It’s all in J.K. Rowling’s head

“What Is Canon?” – Part 1: It’s all in J.K. Rowling’s head

Since the release of the last Harry Potter novel and the invention of Pottermore, there has been a great debate bubbling and brewing within the Harry Potter fandom: canon – and what exactly it envelopes. J.K. Rowling continues to entice the media (ridiculously so – but that’s another topic) with “short stories” that take place within the wizarding world. Since Harry Potter is a large part of our lives, we at MuggleNet find ourselves discussing the topic often. It always seems to creep into the conversation. So we decided to argue both sides of the coin and then let you decide for yourself.

NOTE: This editorial is debating canon of the written word only. The films are a completely separate entity and will not be discussed at this time.

Before we can delve into the answer of “What Is Canon?”, we must first take a closer look at how “canon” is defined. According to Wikipedia…

In fiction, canon is the material accepted as part of the story in an individual fictional universe. It is often contrasted with, or used as the basis for, works of fan fiction.

This is, of course, the modern definition of the word. By this definition, in my opinion, anything written by an author that is accepted by the readers as true, is canon. It doesn’t directly mention published works or novels, just that the material be a part of the story and take place in the individual fictional universe. So basically, anything that comes from J.K. Rowling, takes place in the Harry Potter universe, and doesn’t completely alter what she already wrote (IE: Lily’s eyes are suddenly blue), is canon. Right? Right – at least, I think so.

I think we can all agree on the fact that the seven Harry Potter novels – the first stories from Jo’s world, the timeline of stories that all other stories are based off of – are the base canon. This is undebateable. However, one has to consider the other published works by J.K. Rowling that also take place in the wizarding world – Tales of Beedle the Bard, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Quidditch Through the Ages. Are these less worthy of being canon simply because they weren’t in the original seven Harry Potter novels? I say no, they aren’t. In my eyes, they’re extended canon, meant to enrich the universe yet with absolutely no bearing on the original Potter novels. They are accepted to be true by readers, take place in the Potter universe, and don’t alter anything that J.K. Rowling had previously written (let’s ignore continuity errors because honestly, no one is perfect – not even the Queen herself!). Therefore, using the definition above, in my interpretation of that definition, those books are canon.

Now let’s move on to the website that everyone loves to hate: Pottermore. I am actually a big fan of Pottermore. I got into beta on the first day, have made thousands of points worth of potions, and have 100% on every single moment. I love the artwork, listening to Jim Dale reads bits from the novels, and of course, the new, exclusive information from J.K Rowling. Sometimes it is backstory on our favorite characters, (McGonagall, Lupin), or it’s bits about activities in the wizarding world (Gobstones, colors), or even expansions on the history of the universe, such as the information on Durmstrang, Beauxbatons, and other wizarding schools. We have even been given eyes into an entire Quidditch World Cup tournament, penned by Rowling through the voices of Ginny Potter & Rita Skeeter, thanks to Pottermore. Yet, this information is, more often than not, what is brought up when conversations turn to the canon debate. So is it canon?

Let’s examine the information using the lens of the definition above. Does the information take place in the individual fictional universe? Yes. Is it generally accepted by readers as being true? Yes. Does it alter anything J.K. Rowling has written in the past? No. So by definition, since it meets the three criteria set forth in my interpretation, I guess that means this information is canon – extended, but still canon.

The idea for this article has been brewing for a while but was prompted into fruition by our managing editor, Keith Hawk, who responded to the new Celestina Warbeck information listed yesterday on Pottermore, saying that anything outside of the Harry Potter novels, the seven-volume series, was “fan fiction” and that it’s NOT CANON, so please don’t treat it as such.” This started a debate that involved many friends and MuggleNet staff members alike. I would like to add to my evidence a few of their points. I take no credit for the thoughts, just the words written below.

How can it be fan fiction if J.K. Rowling has written it? She is not a fan but the author. This is a totally, completely valid point. Sure, J.K. Rowling may be a fan of her own work (who would blame her?), but she is, first and foremost, the author. Author trumps fan, and therefore, anything outside the Harry Potter novels that is written by Jo cannot be fan fiction.

The Harry Potter novels were written from Harry’s point of view and were heavily edited. J.K. Rowling has said that there are entire subplots and backstories that had to be cut for the sake of the story, length, or at her editor’s advice. One could argue that because it never made it into the series, or because Harry didn’t see it firsthand, that it isn’t canon. But what if it had made it into the series? Would it then suddenly be canon? Does the fact that J.K. Rowling stated, after the novels were complete, that Dumbledore is gay, make it not so? That is a piece of information on a central character in the series. J.K. Rowling didn’t put it into the novels for reasons only she can know, but that doesn’t make it less important – or less true, or less real.

It is widely believed that in the academic world the majority of fans of the Harry Potter novels subscribe to the “books only” canon theory. During yesterday’s debate, I had a chat with Marissa, Hogwarts Radio host and grad student at University of Arkansas, who added this fuel to the fire:

I like to consider myself an academic type of person. I am a year into work on my Doctorate in Analytical Chemistry. Just try [to] tell me that’s not academic! It’s not anywhere near fiction, but I feel that I can think and discuss on the same intellectual level as the people who study literature, history, biology, rocket science, fine arts, and everything else. With that said, I don’t believe you have to be an ‘academic’ to discuss these things. As long as you truly know what you are talking about and can argue valid points, then your opinion can carry some weight. 

So how do I view canon? There is a realm of canon with subcategories that hold it all up. There is book canon, which is universally held as the ‘head canon,’ [and] there is movie canon, which is sometimes too frustrating to discuss. The part that gets people is what we call the ‘extended canon’ that Kat explained. The usual problem with this is new media (Pottermore being the perfect example). JKR has totally taken advantage of this! And why not? She loves the wizarding world just as much (if not more) than we do. It’s her brainchild! Why can’t she share every aspect of that with us? It helps round out the world she created. The same world we all crave to live in. Her backstories helped her create the books we love. They influenced the characters we connect with and the ‘canon’  wouldn’t be the same without it.

Marissa has a very good point here. What would the Harry Potter novels look like without that background information? Without all the bits and bobbles that are inside of Jo’s head? The backstories, histories, extras – they are what make the stories rich, detailed, and able to be debated for years after completion – and for many years to come. They are backbone of the novels, the seven-volume series, so how can we discount them from the canon?

Whether you consider yourself an academic, a mega fan, or a casual reader, the issue of “What Is Canon?” is likely here to stay. In my opinion, as long as the content is written by J.K. Rowling, takes place in her wizarding world, can be accepted as truth, and doesn’t directly contradict anything included in the Harry Potter series, it’s canon. If she comes out and tells the world that Harry had a dream about a dancing chocolate bar after a particularly gruesome Dementor attack, then I say hurrah! I look forward to reading about whether it was milk or dark. Bring it on, Jo.

Part 2: The books or not the books – that is the question

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  • Gryffindork_NB

    I personally believe anything written by Jo or confirmed by Jo is canon. This new Celestina stuff is canon, her short stories from the World Cup is canon, Dumbledore is gay is canon. Even the Fantastic Beasts Films will be canon now as she is writing them. Which will be rather confusing because we have a spin off series that is completely canon yet the main series is not canon, but a visual interpretation of the original 7 book canon.

  • UmbridgeRage

    You have Jim Dale’s reading in the audio section? That’s weird because I get Stephen Fry’s reading. Do only people who registered as being from the States get the Jim Dale one?
    If it’s from J.K.R then it is canon. The new Fantastic Beasts movie will not be canon, because it will not be just from Jo but a whole crew of movie makers who will be able to change what she writes as needs and whims dictate. The director of a movie is ultimately the person who is credited with bringing the story to the people so I wont consider it “real canon”. Sorry Gryffindork_NB.

    • Kat

      But – the screenplay is written by JKR. That would make it canon. It takes place in the universe, and would be taken as truth by fans. Therefore, it’s canon. We have no way of knowing what was and wasn’t changed and by whom, unless it’s spoken about directly. Therefore, we would have to accept the entire film as canon.

      • Nicole L Rivera

        I think I agree with you on this. The only way the film would be uncanonized, in my opinion, is if Rowling releases her version of the written script or writes up the story and any of her points contradict with the film. In that case, I’d think her written, fully approved version would be canon. Going back to the argument that the author is the canon maker. Anything from her overrides anything not strictly from her.

      • MrSleepyHead

        I agree with all but the last sentence, as I think the conclusion is slightly fallacious. If we accept that there is inevitable pollution of the canonical material (i.e. the script) and can’t distinguish where that pollution is, we cannot claim that the entire film – or even part of it – is unpolluted. Therefore, to be safe, we would have to accept the entire film as polluted (i.e. not canon).

        I would consider the screenplay more or less canon. But unless JKR is in charge of directing, cinematography, or, heck, even acting, she cannot control the portrayal of that screenplay. We would not claim that the Potter films are the direct products of Steve Kloves, after all. So there may be inconsistencies with her screenplay and the actual realization of it. If, for instance, Newt’s actor plays Newt with a pronounced affectation over his “o’s” that JKR did not write or intend (though may have conceded to, given the choice of the actor), I do not think we can assume that Newt Scamander has the same affectation. As you say, in the final product we will not be able to tell who is responsible – JKR or the actor – yet we admit that there will be inconsistencies. Just as we don’t know how much the incongruity of PoA is fully attributable to Cuaron. If I were reading the final script penned by JKR, I would more than likely agree that it is canon. But the final on-screen version will inevitably take license with the screenplay, clouding the canon. And if we have reasonable doubt that the screenplay is adapted completely faithfully, we should err on the side of that doubt and consider the film untrustworthy as canon.

        No matter what, these are murky waters. After all, the screenplay is written for adaptation by the director, actors, animators, etc. So does JKR’s understanding and intention for the screenplay to be adapted make the final product the true canon? Under your definition of canon as JKR’s written word, it doesn’t seem so.

        • UmbridgeRage

          Perfectly summed up my point.

    • Marissa

      This is why I make a distinction between book and movie canon. I realize this is much harder in this specific case since the book is basically just a Beast encyclopedia. JKR is writing the script so we know that she is highly involved in this movie. IMDB also lists David Heyman as executive producer and we know that he takes into account what JKR thinks and feels. So I have no problem in saying that this is canon. I don’t think JKR will let anything major go unapproved and that is the biggest point. Remember that even when Steve Kloves was the scriptwriter she still approved everything so she could catch things that definitely needed to be added for the future of the story and any contradictions.

  • Nicole L Rivera

    Hmmm… I’m still up in the air (looking forward to Keith’s response). As a writer I know there is a ton of information that is never included in the story. This information is used to structure the world and the way the characters react to the world. Not including the information doesn’t make it any less real. The extra information makes the characters more real. It is the reason behind everything–reasons that exist before the story exists. Does not including them make them any less true?
    Coming from the background that I do, to answer this question I look at the Bible. The Bible, for those who believe, is a history. There are many people in it. We receive some information about them, but nowhere near all the information. Does this make their backstories any less real? Is the stuff God does not include in the Bible outside the realm of truth? Or, as Author, is truth all the things God says are true and not just the information he gives us in the Bible? (Again, taking this from a believers viewpoint). To a believer, God, the author, declares what is true and what is not true. If he wants to release extra information to us one day, then am I going to say to him, “Sorry, believed your first book but this additional stuff, not going with it?” Absolutely not.
    So, I think I have to side with you Kat (albeit while waiting on Keith’s response). If it comes from the author, it is the author’s world and characters, it is true. It is cannon. Does this mean I’ll like the canon? Maybe not. Does this mean I’ll believe it? Perhaps not, but it doesn’t make it any less canon. Just like, going back to the Bible analogy, not everyone likes it or believes in it but that doesn’t (for those of us who do believe) make it any less canon.
    The author determines canon. At least, that is how I see it. Looking forward to the opposing argument.
    Great job, Kat!

    • Kat

      Thank you Nikki! What a beautiful comment, and thank you for bringing up the religious aspect to this. As someone of faith but not affiliated, I’m not educated in the teachings. I do enjoy learning about them though!

    • Marissa

      Isn’t the whole idea of “canon” rooted in a biblical background? Priests and religious teachers tried to pin down what exactly should be in the holy scripture. Except even they couldn’t agree! There is the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Apocrypha, the Prayer of the Manasseh, the Books of the Maccabees, and countless other parts I’m sure. What was divinely inspired? What should be followed? The idea of canon has been cause of debate since it’s inception and this and any other story is no different. I believe it will never be agreed upon unanimously, but that only keeps the conversations going and our brains working.

      • Nicole L Rivera

        That is very true. Great insight :)

  • Mahalia Sutton- Ally

    I think that anything that Jo writes about the world is canon .Think about it she has stated that she has notebooks with all this info in it. So that is the wizarding worlds encyclopedia anything coming from those notebooks and her head is canon. I love it wish there was more of it and long for the encyclopedia

  • hpboy13

    You are wrong on a crucial point: your third tenet of canon. “Does it alter anything J.K. Rowling has written in the past?” YES! The continuity errors on Pottermore are as myriad as they are appalling, which is why Pottermore can never rise above being an apocryphal source of canon. Some of it can be taken as canon – the stuff that doesn’t contradict the books – but plenty of it is not canon.

    *sigh* This could have all been avoided with a continuity editor.

    • pottermorenews

      Where are the continuity errors on Pottermore?

    • Taurwen

      Will you please give us a few examples of these “continuity errors”? I haven’t noticed any so far…

    • Andrew_ww

      There are no continuity errors. If there are, report them to Pottermore and I am sure Jo would correct them eventually.

    • Kat

      There are no continuity errors Irvin! I assure you, I did my homework. Please, do share if you’ve found one. I would love nothing more than to be proven wrong.

      • hpboy13
        • Kat

          Time travel is not a concrete thing, and has had issues in every canon, series, movies, etc., that has ever used it. This is not at all contradictory to anything that JKR wrote in the Potter novels. It is a complex theory that has many, many routes of believability and understanding. This is like trying to say that a physicist is wrong because they believe in loop quantum and not string theory.

          And with Quirrell, that isn’t inconsistent either. He is introduced as the DADA teacher, and does not specify that he was the DADA teacher the year before. Therefore, this doesn’t contradict what is in the novels. It says that he took a “grand tour” before taking up his teaching post – but it doesn’t specify which one. This could mean the DADA post. Again, not contradictory.

          Therefore, because there are no specifics mentioned, there is absolutely no evidence that suggests this is contradictory to the previous written material on Quirrell. Innocent until proven guilty; true until proven otherwise, with hard facts and definitive statements.

          • hpboy13

            Time travel is a concrete thing the way Jo presented it – I’m trying to say that if we’re working off of string theory already, then theorizing about loop quantum would indeed be wrong. But fine, I won’t bother going down that rabbit hole.

            My problem with Quirrell is that Pottermore suggests he went looking for Voldemort. NOTHING in the books suggests that, and most of it suggests the opposite. Voldemort frequently talks about Quirrell stumbling onto him, about how Quirrell was impressionable, etc. It all suggests that Quirrell was naive and foolish, not that he was already evil and trying to find Voldemort.

            And definitive statement: Ollivander’s notes on Pottermore say that holly wands are more prone to performing magic on their own. In Deathly Hallows, Ollivander specifically states that he has never heard of a wand performing magic on its own.

          • Marissa

            First, yes, we see Voldemort talking bout Quirrell like that. But, Voldemort is so prideful that he probably didn’t even notice how Quirrell actually felt or he was twisting the story to make himself look more desirable and powerful. Voldemort thinks everyone is naive and foolish.

            Second, why couldn’t Ollivander add to his notes about the holly wand after Harry’s experience? Harry’s wand was holly after all. Maybe Ollivander studied his situation a little closer and was then able to make his notes about it. He just hadn’t heard about it until that point. It’s probably a super rare phenomenon.

            Finally, JKR says on Pottermore about the time-turners:

            “I solved the problem to my own satisfaction in stages. Firstly, I had Dumbledore and Hermione emphasise how dangerous it would be to be seen in the past, to remind the reader that there might be unforeseen and dangerous consequences as well as solutions in time travel. Secondly, I had Hermione give back the only Time-Turner ever to enter Hogwarts. Thirdly, I smashed all remaining Time-Turners during the battle in the Department of Mysteries, removing the possibility of reliving even short periods in the future.”

            Focusing on the second point, sure other students could have use the time-turner to get their classes done and get all of the O.W.L.s but we aren’t supposed to know because they aren’t supposed to talk about it. We knew about Hermione’s time with it because she is part of Harry’s story and that is why Dumbledore used her situation to their advantage. Maybe he did that with the others, but they aren’t in Harry’s story so we never see it in the original seven books.

          • hpboy13

            Yes, but from everything anyone ever says about wands, they NEVER act on their own. The only reason Harry’s did is because of twin cores and blood and souls and stuff – nothing to do with it being holly. Wands do not act on their own, and therefore Ollivander’s notes – for several of the wands actually – claiming they have a propensity for it is a blatant contradiction.

  • Sierra

    I don’t know. I’m still in the middle. Maybe this is cheating, but I kind of pick and choose what she puts out there as canon. If it were a published book (like the encyclopedia), then I would have no problem accepting it as canon straight off. But things like Pottermore and extended interviews with Jo and the like… eh. It depends. I’m worried she is going to start having more little revelations like the one she had with Emma Watson a few months back about who Hermione should have ended up with. Yes, she didn’t say “regret,” but it came pretty close and I worry that she will one day start saying things that will drastically impact the canon of the series. So for now, I pick and choose. If I read something on Pottermore and I love it, then “head” canon accepted. If it’s something I don’t like, then I throw it away. Who knows how out there she’ll get with some stuff. Like you said, everyone is susceptible to error, even J.K. Rowling.

    • Andrew_ww

      Jo saying she regrets having Ron and Hermione end up together would not impact the canon. That is as much a change to the canon as it is when any of us doesn’t like something in the story.

    • Kat

      She didn’t say that she “regrets” anything or that they “should have” ended up together. The direct quote was “In some ways Hermione and Harry are a better fit”

      That certainly doesn’t make it fact – that is her opinion on the relationships in her world.

  • Andrew_ww

    Its easy. Its not up to us to decide. Its up to Jo. These are her stories; stories we are lucky enough to read. I think it is really ungrateful to say otherwise.
    I do believe the books are unchangeable canon unless she made a mistake like the priori incantatem order. She has never said anything to contradict the books.

  • MrSleepyHead

    An excellent topic and engaging article: I look forward to the response.

    I consider the books as primary canon, companion books and Pottermore as a sort of secondary canon, and ‘facts’ in interviews as a tertiary level. “Primary canon” follows the story and a regime of brainstorming, edits, and context that guides the information more completely than do any of the other supplements.

    But the books undoubtedly limited JKR’s expression of the world, so she turned to the companion books and Pottermore to better flesh out aspects of the world that the books did not (or could not) cover. Few inconsistencies exist, and this additional information allows us to break free from the Harry centricity of the series and unlock deeper insights. I fail to see how some could doubt the worth of this information in the “wizarding world canon,” but I can understand the rejection of it in the “Harry Potter canon” (that is, the canon surrounding Harry’s story).

    This supplemental information has not gone through the same rigorous editing and approval process that the “Harry Potter canon” required, nor has it followed the timeline of creation, which is why I put it on a separate tier. There is a level of inherent incongruity between the books and, say, Pottermore because JKR has much more freedom to post whatever information she sees fit. And while many of you will argue that she could have done this in the books, I disagree. If she had written in DH that Lupin suddenly lost his lycanthropy by a cure created by Melduvin Elaspor, many would have claimed blasphemy and deus ex machina. That is, JKR was bounded by the requirements of the story and acceptable literature.

    In Pottermore it’s unlikely that she would introduce such outlandish insight, but I argue that she is less bounded by ‘acceptable guidelines’ and that time and situation can have more of an effect. For instance, why the recent release of information on Celestina Warbeck, which just happens to coincide with her presence at Diagon Alley at Universal? Now, I’m not necessarily accusing JKR of fabricating new information on Pottermore according to her whims, but there is a clear temporal component that differs from the “primary canon.” As can be seen by her Ron/Hermione comment, her perception of the world continues to evolve. So the world she discusses now is not necessarily the same as the world she saw when DH was released. And that changes the weight of the “secondary canon” to me.

    I would have enjoyed a bit of discussion on interview material. I know you limited yourself to the “written word,” but the cited Marissa refers to the revelation of Dumbledore’s sexuality – which is not published (to my knowledge) but revealed in a spoken interview. Any thoughts on where JKR’s interviews stand on the canon debate (that is, her statements of fact – like a character’s wand wood – rather than opinion – like Snape’s nastiness)? They are riddled with inconsistencies and have a clear temporal component, yet they are often cited as evidence for explanations and theories. I see Pottermore as becoming more and more a publication of interview material, rather than brand-new insight.

    • Marissa

      I like the idea that you have a tertiary level of canon. It intrigues me because interviews and other non-rigorously edited comments fit there perfectly. I think my idea of extended canon could be split into your secondary and tertiary level. The secondary would cover things that have had more editing time (such as the school books and Pottermore and things revealed on her old website). The tertiary would be more over the interviews and comment she has made. Things that she may not have written out and had a moment to look over before “publishing” for the world to see/hear. The tertiary level is where you would have to be careful to distinguish between what she is meaning a Wizarding World fact and her own opinion.

      Also, I LOVE that you make a distinction between “Wizarding World canon” and “Harry Potter canon” as two more canon categories. There is definitely a difference. The Celestina Warbeck backstory has no affect on Harry’s personal story, but it is part of the Wizarding World as a whole. This is a major reason I include Pottermore as canon because JKR does have all these great stories about the Wizarding World that are not in the book simply because they did not aid to Harry’s journey and there was no way we could see these stories through Harry’s point of view.

  • Ana Melo

    anything related revealed and written by J.K.Rowling will always be canon about the wizardry world and it’s habitants, there is Pottermore to get more info about the wizardry world, the info is there, you can have wild inspirations and fun daydreaming (which I do constantly, it would be at the exact year which I would go to Hogwarts, in my first year I would catch up Hermione, Ginny and Luna in their 7th year)

  • Jane

    Everything Jo says regarding the world is Canon.

  • Moop

    Anything J.K. Rowling has confirmed herself, whether it be through the seven Harry Potter books, Pottermore, interviews, or the spin off books (Quidditch Through The Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Tales of Beedle the Bard) is canon.

  • Gabriela

    “There is book canon, which is universally held as the ‘head canon’…” I thought head canon was what the fans come up with, you know, in their heads. In other words, a complete opposite of book canon. She might be an academic, but she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

    Personally I view anything JKR writes as canon. First because I like Pottermore (even though the activities are stupid – here’s a highly intense moment from the story, now go find some potion ingredients!) and second because JKR invented this world, and as its Creator is the only one who can tinker with it. Once she decides she’s had enough HP, there will be no one else who can expand the universe. That she hasn’t done that yet makes me very happy.

    Do you really hear Jim Dale’s recordings? That’s so weird, because I definitely hear Stephen Fry’s, and I’m not from UK or US either, so I wonder how it’s determined.

    • Kat

      Yeah – it’s really Jim Dale! :)

    • Marissa

      I apologize for using the wrong phrasing, but there’s no reason to jump to the harsh conclusion that I don’t know what I’m talking about. If you ignore the word “head” or replace it with words like “major” or “original” or “primary” then my point stays intact. I only meant that I believe that the book canon trumps all the rest. If, for some reason, JKR made an error in the extended canon, then the books would stand to give us the real story. This debate is not about what words we use to describe the canon but rather how we define it and where we draw the line.

      • Gabriela

        I’m sorry, but that’s one of the basic “terms”, so misusing it creates a rather unfavourable impression. Obviously, your point is absolutely valid.

  • Socks & Slugs

    If it comes from Jo, it is cannon.

  • Laura Weasley

    In my opinion, anything that JK Rowling writes, may it be in books or on pottermore or says in interviews is canon. After all she is the author of the whole series and knows her world and characters more than anyone else.

  • Severus Snape

    Honestly surprised this is even a question. This is the only fandom I’ve seen that even questions this, aside from Star Wars (but that’s because of the EU). Maybe I need to get out more. As far as I’ve ever seen and heard, canon is considered to be anything formally created by the authorized creator(s).

  • Jacob

    Anything that comes out of her head is canon. Anything. If one day she decided that Harry Potter is actually a frog with wings, that would be canon.

    • Keith Hawk

      I seriously hope you are not serious!

    • Jim Walton

      ****OBVIOUS SARCASM****

  • Sophie

    I do love that one thing this has thrown up is that the US have Jim Dale reading clips on Pottermore, while we have Stephen Fry (It totally makes sense, but I’ll be honest I assumed everyone had Stephen).

    But that’s not really the point here… anyway, I do think that anything that comes from J.K. herself is canon, but maybe that’s just because I love getting all the back story and extra bits that she couldn’t put in the novels.

  • Jim Walton

    Everything. Except QTTA, FBAWTFT books and ANY upcoming films of what are essentially reference books to HP. Oh and 8 HP films changes/omissions.

  • WatchStone

    I agree with most of what’s being said pro canonicity. I’d like to add this and sorry in advance for the rambling.
    What if she died and we find out about a whole other book about the World? Or you stumbled on one of those napkins on which she scribbled the story? That would still be canon! So to argue that only her published official work, that which has been seen by an editor, etc., is the only canon seems very limited. Published, polished work cannot be the only basis simply because it was what we came to know first. The author can choose to add anything, in my opinion, and the only caveat will be contradictions between the strands of stories.
    Also, the notion that only Harry point of view counts is illogical. What about Goblet’s 1st chapter? And HBPrince’s chapter at Snape’s house? Those were not in Harry point of view either! He was not even close. Therefore, she has established that her world can be “accessed” through other characters. Whenever she introduces other material on pottermore through newspaper articles or notes (Ollivander’s for example), this equally follows a trend/style that was pre-established in the books. Plus, who is to say that we are not reading that new material over Harry’s shoulder like we did in the books…

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