Real Life Epilogues
Epilogues are a hot topic in the publishing industry, especially recently. The question of whether epilogues are favourably received by readers is one that has been endlessly speculated. Specifically, there has been a lot of discussion about the epilogue in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. J.K. Rowling has now gone even further than the written epilogue: she’s brought Harry Potter’s epilogue to life.
Are epilogues a positive contribution to literature? There are conflicting perspectives on epilogues, particularly for a big series like Harry Potter. Epilogues allow for a fast-forward on the lives of the characters in a book. For readers, epilogues are sometimes considered detached from the story. For writers, an epilogue can form a safety net: if they write the future, no one else can speculate in subsequent writings.
Ultimately, whether you like an epilogue or not, I argue that they should solely be at the discretion of the author. If an author chooses to include an epilogue, we should all be thankful that they allowed us to see the future of their world.
Epilogues Brought to Life
Now, not only has Rowling written an epilogue for Harry Potter, but she’s given Harry Potter a real-life epilogue, expressing what she truly feels would happen in the story’s future. In an interview with Emma Watson for Wonderland Magazine, Rowling says, “… if I’m absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective [on Hermione with Ron]. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility.” Watson agrees: “I think there are fans out there who know that too[,] and who wonder whether Ron would have really been able to make her happy.”
This has outraged many Harry Potter fans. Rowling gave us her ending in the book; some didn’t like the epilogue, but at least when it was in writing we all had to accept it. Now, years later, she’s going to give us a verbally changed ending?
The good arguably outweighs the bad. As an avid reader and fan of Harry Potter, I’d rather have J.K. Rowling’s epilogue than anyone else’s, even if it is verbal. Even if her epilogue doesn’t satisfy me as a reader, it is the truest future for this book’s characters, whom I’ve loved so dearly.
The future of a book’s characters should come from the same person who created them. So, do epilogues have merit? Absolutely they do, even if they aren’t beloved. In the end, after the dust settles and the confusion subsides, the truth will set us all free.
How do you feel about J.K. Rowling’s comments on the love lives of her characters, years after the series has finished? Please comment below!
Author: Bree Crowder
Bree Crowder is a writer and editor with interest in fiction (MG, YA, and fantasy), and lifestyle. Writing, reading, photography, and travel are a few of her favourite things.
She went to university to study English, and then went to college at the post-grad level to study creative writing. Her work has been reviewed by HarperCollins editors. Now, she writes for publications like HelloGiggles, Quirk Books, and Bustle. She is also an Editorial Literary Assistant with P.S. Literary Agency.