J.K. Rowling, character killer?
James and Lily Potter. Cedric Diggory. Sirius Black. Albus Dumbledore. Dobby.
These are just a few of the names found on what many consider “literary mass murderer” J.K. Rowling’s hit list. 118 (yes, that’s one hundred eighteen) deaths and some nearly fatal injuries later, her story’s close is met with a sea of broken hearts, magical and Muggle alike. Since the series’s end, Rowling has commented several times on her avant-garde killing spree (pen being her weapon of choice), leaving fans with questions like, “Was this really necessary?” and “WHY?” And to them I say, “I know, right!?”
It hasn’t helped that last year Rowling announced via Pottermore that the only character she regretted killing off was Florean Fortescue. Through a ton of “Who?” and “What!?”-filled reactions, she admitted that she feels guilty about the very minor character’s killing since it was for no good reason and “all [her] fault.” For a series packed to the brim with characters we’ve gotten to know and love being sent off to bite the big one, I myself am surprised at Rowling’s sentiments toward the ice cream vendor whose death we uncover in Half-Blood Prince.
On one hand, I can understand her feelings of guilt versus what I would consider the feelings of sadness over the loss of a favorite character. But what about the other 117 who met their maker during the course of a seven-book phenomenon? Rowling hasn’t made very many comments on the other deaths in our beloved series, and I would like – as I am sure many other fans would – to hear her feelings on a few of them.
While I completely respect Jo’s decisions as the creator of the book series that changed my life, I may not ever be able to forgive her for the loss of some (*cough*Dobby*cough*), and I’m not sure that I can help questioning whether 118 deaths were necessary in the Potter series. Whether they were for added storyline value, for shock effect, or for no reason at all, the number of deaths mentioned in the series is somewhat astounding and leaves me wondering if J.K. Rowling is, in fact, a character killer.