j.k. rowling harry potterLong after a story has been told, authors may go back and look at the finished work.

Sometimes the reaction is one of the pride and peace. They can relax feeling it turned out right. But, sometimes, authors may have regrets about the choices they made for certain characters.

J.K. Rowling is in the news again after she told British fashion magazine Wonderland that Hermione Granger should have ended up with Harry Potter and not Ron Weasley.

“I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment,” Rowling told the magazine (She was being interviewed by actress Emma Watson). “That’s how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.” She added: “It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people’s hearts by saying this? I hope not.”

Her statement has caused a lot of reactions ranging from positive to sheer and utter disappointment. However, Rowling wouldn’t be the first author to regret decisions they can’t take back in their books.

Spoiler Alert ahead for readers of The Walking Dead comics

In The Walking Dead comics, creator and writer Robert Kirkman had Rick Grimes’ hand cut off by The Governor, a ruthless, sadistic villain. This did not happen in the TV show and likely won’t.

Kirkman said he regrets the decision, but also doesn’t. At the time, Kirkman was in the moment and thought it would be a great surprising moments, but four books later, Grimes can’t open a can of beans.

Kirkman revealed his thoughts in an interview with Image Comics’s publisher.

“I’m constantly having to rewrite scenes because I’ll forget. I’ll write that Rick puts on a shirt, which you can do with one hand but I’m picturing him with two hands. Or Rick will lift up something that he can’t really lift with one hand. In #51, I wrote a scene of Rick opening a can with a can opener. And I was like, “Yeah, that’s a two-handed operation, buddy. That’s not gonna fuckin’ work.” So I had to rewrite that scene so that he handed it to Carl and has Carl open it. But that shows how pathetic Rick is after having lost the prison and it actually adds to the scene. So I shouldn’t say that I regret it. But I will say that it is a pain in the ass.”

While authors may have regrets or second guess certain decisions, it seems some of their readers don’t appreciate the author’s honesty. There seems to be huge backlashes against Rowling after her comments were made public, reigniting the Team Harry and Team Ron camps.

Do you think popular authors should keep these moments of doubt to themselves or share them?


  1. I have not problem with an author expressing their opinion about a book they have written, but I also believe that once the book is published, their opinion about things not clearly stated in the story is just that, their opinion. When I read a book, my mind fleshes out the details unsaid, and if someone else wants to flesh those out later, okay, but don’t surprised if I don’t agree with it.

  2. I suspect almost all authors, fiction and non-fiction, regret some part of what they wrote and wish they could change it. Alas, books are like children, eventually they develop an identity of their own. Then you can’t change them.

    For myself, I’d love to have someone like Hermione for a friend. But marriage to this guy or that? I don’t know. She’s always struck me as what some guys call ‘high maintenance.’ She needs someone who’s far mellower than either Ron or Harry, someone with a sense of humor for when she’s in one of her dark and uptight moods. That’s not Ron and it’s not Harry.

    Maybe it’s that amusing little elf guy who died. He’d be very patient with her too. Are elf-human marriages permitted in Potter’s world like they are in Tolkien?

  3. Susan, great post, and one question re copy style: BuzzFeed new style guide says her name should be printed as JK Rowling without the periods after J and K, and I guess that is her preferred British way of writing her name. What is the style in the USA when a British writer like JG Ballard or JK Rowling don’t use periods, as is British custom? — sign me, D.H. Bloom

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