JK – Monstre Sacré

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‘Fantastic Beasts’, her latest fantasy film offering for an older generation of adolescent,  pretty well sums up the pulling power of JK Rowling

With Fantastic Beasts breaking box office records, (I’ll come to the actual film review later) and JK Rowling using her Twitter time to exploit her millions of avid followers as vassals for her anti-SNP propaganda, it’s time to take a look at her fantasy novels again. I have some grating issues with the complete works of the fragrant JK Rowling.

To begin with there is the average of five clichés a page, and a plethora of ungrammatical sentences. Her prose style is plodding and pedestrian. I welcome creative writing, and new sentence construction. I’m keen to learn and use new words. Strange to say for a writer, I do not mind ungrammatical sentences if they are constructed as experimentation, but you won’t find that artistry in any of her novels.

Her plots are unoriginal and predictable. There is little if any suspense. Intellectual  stimulation is skin deep. You soon cry out for the cleverness of Alice in Wonderland, or even the genteel animal world of Winnie the Pooh! The subtleties in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are infinite compared to anything of JK’s, and they relate to adult attitudes as well as fat, greedy children. How is it JK’s poorly written and conceived stories have grown into a worldwide industry?

If somehow she has caught the adolescent zeitgeist these last decades, I just wish she hadn’t wasted hours of my time reading her books. I should say ‘trying’ to read her books. I have to admit never managing to finish any of them. I did my best once, in Waterstone’s café section, reading for hours. In the end friends remind me life is too damn short.

Turgid Tolkien

I had the same trouble with Tolkien’s turgid prose, particularly his awful poetry, but at least in Tolkien’s stories lay parallels with the First World War, and the motivations and nations that got into that tragic conflict. That visual originality in the screenplay adaptations is missing from Rowling’s prose; it does not stimulate the imagination, a prerequisite of good children’s books. The wisdom in her novels is of the apple pie variety. Lines such as, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities,” leap off the page, clunky, and risible.

Like Rowling’s film adaptations, it was the film interpretations of Tolkien’s  Lord of the Rings that lifted his work from the mundane, an almost forgotten cult readership, to a world franchise and runaway success, a success largely due to the director Peter Jackson. Mind you, I wonder how many devotees of the films ran to their nearest bookstore and bought a copy of the novel. They probably bought the DVD.

Only bad sentimentality is allowed

Rowling’s pages ooze with sickly sentimentality. Teachers are either horribly cruel, or unbelievably incompetent. Pupils are given to lying at the mere drop of a question, and none are punished. It does not take long for the adult reader to hate that carbon copy public school oik Harry Potter, yet another fictional orphan of no fixed abode. In short measure you understand why so many publishers turned down her first manuscript.

Potter is perpetually obsessed with revenge, aided by his school mates, usually against the sharp tongue of Lord Voldemort, or whatever school bully is the latest thug of the day. In fact, there is a lot of violence in her stories, pupil on pupil, fantastic creature on pupil, but real world physical abuse, sexual or otherwise, the sort of thing we know goes on in English boarding schools, there is not a mention.

Rowling is writing exclusively for children not adults, giving them a false idea of life and adult behaviour. She is pandering to their innocence, not educating them to handle life better, though she thinks she is.

Bourgeoisie parlour tricks

The wizardry is of the primary classroom type, nothing pagan, nothing religious, more a night out dressed for Halloween. In some schools her books were banned from the classroom, the awfulness of their prose a threat to a child’s development!

There is not much comfort to be had from her characters. They are two dimensional. There are grumpy, mean spirited humans, and there are boisterous wizards. The rest is an excuse for cinematic special effects.

Life is black or white.

There is no symbolism or metaphor. Uncritical fans will inject what meaning they want. In short, Rowling makes no demands on her readers. She does not illustrate real life situations, teaches no clear ethics, but only  that most things can be resolved by threatening violence. The reader is left with the nagging suspicion that, for all her air brushed public persona, Rowling might not be a pleasant person to know.

Real world choices

To her politics: For a public figure ready and by all accounts willing to defame Scotland’s elected representatives she remains loud and arrogant, but more often silly. Her criticism of Trump took a time to appear. Then again, she may have calculated a great deal of her wealth issues from the very same junior supporters of Trump that buy her door-stopper books. The parents of those particular children, poor and disadvantaged, must have sacrificed a lot to purchase a Harry Potter novel for their bread snappers, and forego a new pair of shoes.

The failure of Rowling’s world is that it is an entire stick of pink candy floss. It is pure whipped sugar that melts in your mouth, and leaves you with nothing but toothache.

‘Populism’ is fine if JK owned

Her work has become the populist veneer she regularly accuses the Scottish government of purveying, her attacks on that elected institution made by snide, unexplained remarks on her Twitter site, or by lifting a pro-independence tweet and tossing it to her adoring fans to rip apart like starving dogs.

There is the unnerving odour of the fascist in that gesture. She knows what she is doing and she knows her loyal fans will join in the hunt.

Fantastic Beasts and Box Office Takings

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, written as an original screenplay by J.K, is an expansion of her Harry Potter universe, and a test, it does without Potter and his ever aging school chums. JK, ever the commercial  operator, realises her audience has grown up with the actors playing the roles, and turns now to an older age group. The Potter oeuvre has surely reached industrial level, sagging under the weight of its output.

I am not the only person to resist the allure of, I-love-Scotland-just-not-the-way-it-votes, Rowling. Purchasing some book gifts from my local book shop I hesitated at the Potter shelves. A voice whispered, “Step away from the crap. She has enough money as it is.” The woman behind smiled briefly and moved on, as I did.

The director of Fantastic Beasts is David Yates who has ‘helmed’ – a dire Hollywood hack abbreviation – four Potter films; hence it’s filled with wondrous spectacle. It contains a lot of running, dashing and chasing to no visible gain, the main characters the same as their young forbearers, wan, wandering, and woefully uninteresting. Eddie Redmayne looks on the verge of a nervous breakdown most of the time.

And it’s two-and-quarter hours long. That’s two-and-a-half hours of bum numbing boredom. It gets a middling score on the Rotten Tomatoes site. Nevertheless, I am sure Rowling fans will gobble it up like the candy floss it is. Warner Brothers is banking on it.

JK as SNP baiter

I am not in the least troubled by the mediocrity of her books. They brought children to reading from watching television. I am concerned with Rowling’s mounting attacks on an elected government, and the despicable ways she goes about it. Exploiting her fans is only one of the ways she repeats the culture of revenge exemplified in her children’s books. Her doctrine is east, west, Westminster is best. It is an orthodoxy bereft of empathy.

She began her one-way dialogue by insulting an entire nation – of which over 350,000 are happily domiciled English, many joining like-minded Scots who seek genuine democracy. Her argument (laid out in my essay ‘Dear JK Rowling’) implied we are all too thick to survive as a nation state, unable to unravel links with Westminster rule. That includes the English, Polish, Italian and Chinese communities, immigrants that began arriving in Scotland in the late 19th century, all of whom have contributed much to Scotland’s culture and economic prosperity.

Xenophobia is fine if it’s unionist

She sees the consequences of her folly, the xenophobic rejection of European co-operation, and Trump in the Whitehouse and thinks her self-interested politics vindicated. All those things now giving us a kicking were predicted if Scotland failed to regain its  autonomy from Westminster colonialism and thus be in the best position to protect its citizens from the worst of authoritarian power. Rowling chose Westminster.

In short, she refuses to acknowledge that the movement for good governance is about regaining lost liberty and civil rights. It is about putting people before power. It is about reinstating respect for our elected representatives, and perhaps gaining a media and press service that is in tune with the times, and the nation it purports to serve.

For daring to demand progressive democracy the backlash from the extreme right in the United Kingdom has been brutal and swift. It continues now unabated, a determined campaign to restrict advances, and hold the people of Scotland to an alien ideology, subjected to reactionary vengeance. From all I have read Rowling feels disinclined to join with Scotland’s administration to resist it.

Who gives a damn?

Nothing I argue will alter her popularity. Her books are a phenomenon. She has the unwavering backing of global companies and movie studios that make millions from her work. Politicians genuflect before her, journalists are desperate to be placed in her visitor book of Acceptable Media Promoters.

A whole generation of British actors pay their mortgage from employment in the film adaptations of her books, and now a theatrical play. Few if any actor will step out of line to admit ‘It’s only a living’.

Based on her dislike of Scotland’s democratic process, the way she goes about making it self-evident, and her influence designed to secure conformity, there is no doubt she has become that terrible thing, a sacred monster.

 

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41 Responses to JK – Monstre Sacré

  1. Macart says:

    Must admit to never having read any of Ms Rowlings books, though I did see the first movie (you had to with kids really). Wasn’t exactly impressed by that and never gave her a second glance until these thoughtless and continual political interventions.

    Seems first impressions were not wrong in this case.

    The island of lawyers will be along any minute now no doubt. 😉

  2. Grouse Beater says:

    I did the honourable thing in past essays and complimented her on her success, sticking to criticise how public she makes her attitude, and in so doing, telling people what to think. You can see it in the answers she gives to fan enquiries.

    It’s a mentality that I attack, not her right to have an opinion.

    Since then her behaviour has become outrageous. Such people push you to give an opinion you’d rather have kept diplomatic.

  3. broadbield says:

    Forensic.

    Years ago I read a page of an excerpt from one of her books in a weekend paper. That was sufficient to realise there was no point in reading any more.

    However, there’s no law against publishing crap. But I take exception to the way she uses her fame, wealth and the power that brings to attack the SNP and anyone who criticises her and in so doing brings an army of fans into the attack as well.

  4. Well done yet again GB for speaking out when so many are afraid to do so.
    Encouraging literacy in youngsters is one thing, but exercising a baleful influence over the literary culture of an entire nation is another.

  5. Grouse Beater says:

    I await a horde of furious Muggles invading my property.

    The disappointment is the expected response I tend to get, the mentality – and it IS a fixed mentality – that we should all adopt an English political outlook because that is the only orthodoxy … acceptable to the dominant nation.

  6. Grouse Beater says:

    That’s my argument in a nutshell, Broadbield, that and the arrogance that lies behind it.

  7. Robert Peffers says:

    I cannot comment as I have read none of her works nor watched any of the films based upon her books. Which film she really had not too much to do with. I have seen very few films, documentary included, that have not been open to the criticism of NOT being a true telling of the book tale.

    What I have done is read very closely her own outpourings of a biased and racist nature and her political interference in a subject she seems to know very little about.

  8. Grouse Beater says:

    She imported a colonial mind set. It does not entertain radical political change. In effect, it extinguishes hope.

  9. Great measured critique, GB.

    I have never read a Potter Book simply because I am, ahem, an adult. She’s a peddler of children’s fantasy stories, and that’s about it.

    When my own were growing up, I forced ‘classics’ on to them as birthday and Christmas presents. The Invisible Man, Food of the Gods, Treasure Island, Kidnapped, the Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Poe, The Hitchhiker’s Guide tot he Galaxy, Stranger in a Strange Land, Tom Sawyer…you get the drift.

    I’ve never seen any of the Movies, nor Game Of Thrones, or any of the Tolkein adaptations. (I that like you gave up reading, half way through.)

    For a woman who has amassed so much wealth and influence, it seems strange to me that she embarks on sorties into the murky twitter world of the Spanners of this world. She perhaps needs a ‘best friend’ to preoccupy her?

    She is filthy rich, a buddy of Lord Darling of Flipper, the darling of the Morningside set, and a ‘North Briton’. We’ve thrown more out of the road to get to a fight, GB. The Kraken Awakes.

  10. Grouse Beater says:

    That’s a healthy set of novels, Jack. Your children must be well read, as they say.

    All my books belonged to my grandfather, an avid reader of philosophy and politics … bit advanced for my childhood but I did find Kidnapped on his shelves and loved it. He told me lots of Edwardian tales with a moral at the end – good training for adult life.

    JK’s fans will, of course, take it upon themselves to point out she has written a ‘grown up’ novel. I have seven books to get through before the New Year. That isn’t one of them.

  11. hettyforindy says:

    Great article.

    I tried to read one of her early novels to the kids, when they were little, one of whom is very dyslexic, and you know it made no sense at all. The way it was written, and the grammar was just dreadful, I gave up at page 6, thinking christ this is awful and my sons will definitely not be able to make head nor tale of this crap! I did sit through one of the films, once, oh dear.

    Hence to say we found many many great books to read, and Terry Pratchet was a favourite.

    Rowling’s interference in Scotland’s politics has been less than welcome to those outside of the westmonster bubble. Why do these people feel they can influence the political climate of the country, just because they have a few quid in the bank. (I know it’s more than a few quid).

    It never ceases to amaze, how these people are hyped up, and raised onto a very high pedestal, not because they are talented, but as a distraction from the real world, and from real talent. It is stifling and that is the point, to close minds and to create blinkers to intelligent thought, and creativity of thought.

    It might work with some, but thankfully, not all can be fooled by the bland, mass promotion of such low level, mind knumbing dare I say, crap!

  12. hettyforindy says:

    Oh and the boys loved ‘Sophie’s World’, by Jostein Gaarder, and excellent book on philosophy from a children’s point of view. I loved reading that book out loud, such an intelligent story book which raises pertinent questions about life, something JKR will never get close to.

  13. Pa Broon says:

    I read a lot. Maybe two or three books a week. I read the first Potter book grudgingly, it was exactly what I thought it would be; a kid’s book.

    I enjoy a bit of popular tat, I like easy reading books, I rarely read any classics I have a weak spot for fast & dirty scifi – I’m essentially lazy and not particularly snobbish about it. That said, I think the reason JK does so well is that her books are easy to read so are picked up by people who don’t have particularly high standards when it comes to prose and narrative and all that fancy stuff.

    I’ve read one of her Robert Galbraith books too, the first one I think. It had far too many words in it. You could skip page after page and the plot didn’t suffer. The thing is, I liked the story and the characters, it and they pulled me in – but the writing was like wading through jam…

    On her criticism of the SNP/Scottish stuff and her followers wading in. I would say that goes on on both sides. I totally disagree with her politics and bullying ways, but if a unionist says something daft, we also have a tendency to pile in.

    JK is a wildly successful *children’s* author. Unfortunately that success has somewhat skewed the way people perceive her – she isn’t a literary heavy weight, she writes books for kids, that’s all. I have no idea why the press fawn all over her, I suppose its the celeb factor, you don’t choose it, it chooses you etc etc etc.

  14. PS. If anybody asks, I haven’t seen you.

  15. Grouse Beater says:

    To be frank, I never really bothered about her until she took to blocking progressive democracy, and telling her adolescent fans what to think.

  16. hettyforindy says:

    I think that says it all, regards Pa Broons’ post, “it chooses you”. There’s a reason for that, it happens in pop culture, in the arts, in so many areas of life. It is called, propaganda.
    Sadly though, it detracts and undermines real talent and those striving for something more than bland fame and undeserved millions in the bank.

  17. hettyforindy says:

    Ps, I wish I had more time to read, but most of my reading is research on political, environmental and cultural abuses throughout the world and sadly, there is more than anyone can deal with in a lifetime.

    A ‘kids book’ can be a dangerous thing, when imbibed with a higher status than it deserves, it is called, indoctrination. However, JK’s books are even lower level than indoctrination, in my view!

  18. Grouse Beater says:

    JK’s books are even lower level than indoctrination, in my view!” 🙂

  19. trispw says:

    À chacun son goût.

    Like Pa I’m a light reader, as a rule, as the only time I have to read is before bed when I’m tired. When they became such a sensation, with children queueing at midnight to get the latest effort, I decided to have a go, after all, I loved Winnie the Pooh, so why not Harry Potter?

    But I didn’t get much further than page 30 before ennui overtook me. I really found it dreary and plodding.

    Then one day I discovered that Stephen Fry was reading one of the books on Radio 4, and I thought that maybe a professional reading of it might make it more exciting.

    I was wrong.

    Within a few minutes I fell asleep.

    I did watch some of the films (don’t ask me which; it’s in one ear and out of the other). They were infinitely better, maybe because of the superb cast. I mean what’s not to like about Maggie Smith (except maybe the silly title)?

    But millions of children have enjoyed Rowling’s stuff. I’m not sure if they have continued to read now that the books have stopped. I’d like to think so. There’s no better friend than a book.

    I agree, though, that her Tweets are frequently poisonous. And it’s to be hoped that she isn’t imbuing little kids with a sense of how awfully pathetic Scots and Scotland are. But one dare not say a word against her for fear of ruin, so I shan’t.

  20. Grouse Beater says:

    “I didn’t get much further than page 30 before ennui overtook me.”

    First, welcome.

    Second, I’m pleased to hear someone else had the same reaction to her prose style. Once I discovered it mediocre I gave up, and concentrated on the films. I knew some of the actors in them, so there was a double interest, but in time they paled by repetition of plot. I do, however, know young people who never took to the whole Potter hysteria. They might well be a rare species. Looking back on those young people queuing for her latest tomb often had me think they were being exploited by a vast commercial machine.

    Your last paragraph gets to the issue, her association with the right-wing of Labour, and their mutual animosity toward anything remotely progressive. Her orthodoxy – for what it is – is stultifying, her methods of expressing it run from the inarticulate, through the nonsensical, to plain despicable. What makes it more repellent are the fans who crow “You are my role model” – and some of them are adults!

    There’s never any attempt to tell her fans to think for themselves, and not to idolise her.

  21. JK promoting a culture of revenge.

    Y’know, I’m nae Holy Wullie but that worship of revenge is a central tenet of Satanism and given the kind of company she keeps it perhaps explains why she’s become a member and poster girl of the upper echelons of the Establishment. Sold her soul? Perhaps all those Christian Right zoomers who used to camp outside cinemas where the Potter Films were showing had a point.

    She certainly acts like she made a deal at the crossroads…

  22. Grouse Beater says:

    I can’t disagree, Max, with your onwards Christian soldiers…

    Some days ago I dropped a sarcastic tweet to her and forgot about it. Two days later I noticed a response, which in turn drew my attention to a typo and a grammatical error in it, the result of a late night spur of the moment decision. The tweet was embedded, too late to correct. I knew what to expect. Sure enough, she used it to reduce the point I was making to ‘nationalists are not the nation’ – yet another cliché cribbed from a source not her own, a habit for which she’s famous. The resultant slurping of adoring fans and lickspittle adults is nauseas to witness. Look away!

    🙂

    You know, whenever anybody draws attention to her I look for humour, the evidence of intelligence and wit. I never find any. I wonder if others have noticed her truculence.

    I’ve seen and met similar to JK, and they were all architects of their own demise… tick tock.

  23. ScottishPsyche says:

    My children didn’t like her books but enjoyed the films.

    Interestingly at their school the books were essentially banned from the classroom. Any kind of reading was encouraged at home but her books were deemed unworthy of study at any level. The English teachers would groan at the mention of them and it was made clear that anyone using them in an exam would be marked down.

    For me the writer she most resembles is Enid Blyton. Both achieved huge monetary success and became embedded in popular culture. Neither are regarded as having any literary credibility. Both reveal themselves to be increasingly unpleasant as goes on. Blyton even wrote two series of books about boarding schools called Malory Towers and St. Clare’s which were dripping with middle class snobbery and cultural stereotypes. Add in a wizard and you could be there. Others have noted a similarity with Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea but I would say Le Guin is on a different level with regard to her writing which is subtle with characters and plotlines that soar rather than plod along.

    As others have said though, it is the lightweight political commentary that galls. Also the Orwell quotes – give me strength. Far from being the astute social media guru as portrayed by the media, she is a joke to most of my children’s contemporaries who are now students and who increasingly despise her use of an enormous platform to push simplistic ideas and the neverending allusions to her own work.

  24. Grouse Beater says:

    Well now, SP, that’s a zinger of a letter.

    You remind me her books were considered junk by many schools. I will lift mention of that and place it in the body of the essay. Many thanks.

    The comparisons with Enid Blyton makes astute sense, and her simplistic utterances on politics are, as you say, an embarrassment. She believes every word she says, though the majority seem to have been coined by others.

  25. Still Positive. says:

    Sophie’s World is a brilliant book – in a class of its own. Must read it again. Streets ahead of JKR.

  26. Grouse Beater says:

    🙂 Good advice to readers here.

  27. Bob Mack says:

    I started two of her books, but on each occasion never got past the first two chapters. My children bought them. I found them rather dull, to be frank, though I did enjoy a few of the films made from the books.
    Very good critique and also very accurate.

  28. Grouse Beater says:

    Good to hear from you, Bob.

    Like you, I can take or leave the films. She’s using her financial power and her influence to defame, spreading sly propaganda and trolling, all of which are disreputable right-wing tactics.

    I don’t see her writing press articles, appearing or on political interview shows, placing herself up for questioning, or standing for election – I presume she’d be successful if she did – in which case she’d be entitled to put forward a constructive alternative to the movement for greater autonomy.

    As things stand, her puerile, cribbed slogans are designed to stop people thinking – very Orwellian, a term she uses that would have Orwell sue her for misappropriation, and gross misuse.

  29. JimK says:

    Some years ago, at the point of release of one of JK’s books, I was in W H Smith’s in The Lothians when an old guy, probably well into his 80’s and wearing a baseball cap, came in to collect a pre-reserved copy. As it happened the shop manager was on holiday and there was no sign of the book in question, which then led to a near – hysterical outburst of threats and abuse to shop staff.

    The man claimed that his anger at their incompetence might cause him to have a stroke, in the event of which his lawyer was instructed to sue the shop and the individuals in it for every penny they had. In the end, the police had to be called to calm the situation and when I left the shop, they were still trying to calm the man down.

    All though this stramash, the young people either working or browsing in the shop looked on in apparent attitudes of amusement or contempt, and one said to me “a’ that ower a kid’s book”.

    Both at the time and since, I have felt some slight guilt at finding the situation risible – I suppose I should have felt sympathy for one so aged and upset (I am approaching this age group myself) but he was so utterly abusive to the staff and the whole affair was, as the young guy said, over a kid’s book. And I am still not sure what the episode says about the Potter phenomenon.

    It strikes me as redolent of a cult.

  30. Grouse Beater says:

    Another excellent anecdote.
    I’m genuinely surprised people have experienced the same sort of things, and come to similar conclusions. As I’ve said before, one could look upon her as a welcome guest in our community, and even be proud she chose Edinburgh to make her main home, but the intrusion of a louche, half-baked political ideology that restricts growth and development is completely at odds with a writer of children’s books.
    When she makes those comments she pushes people to say things they’d rather not have said. Anyhow, I welcome your remarks.
    Thank you.

  31. Peter says:

    She didn’t really choose Edinburgh. Just random chance after here husband dumped her for being her.. Then she stole the names for her characters from the memorials in Greyfriar’s kirkyard. Not one penny has she contributed to the upkeep of said establishment though. Or to her chosen abode other than council tax.

    You forgot her delightful hypocrisy of campaigning and receiving awards for her work against online bullying while spending her spare time being Brian Spanner. From her own mouth too. Unless she wants to play the, “only joking,” defence.

    There is not a shred of evidence that any more children are literate after 20 years of Harold Potter than before. The people who read the books would have read anything anyway. And more boys would be reading if 50 years of feminism hadn’t destroyed their education. But that’s another story.

    There’s nothing turgid about Tolkein. Unless you’re too thick to understand long words. JKR didn’t plagiarise JRRT because he couldn’t write popular prose. Just a few things she stole.

    Gollum/Dobby.
    Dementors/Ringwraiths.
    Ring of Power/Horcrux.
    Dead Marshes/ The Cave.
    Dark Lord Sauron/Dark Lord Voldemort.
    Mirror of Galadriel/Mirror of Erised.
    The traitor Grima Wormtongue/The traitor Peter Wormtail

    And on and on it goes. Has she ever written anything original?

    Not just Tolkein of course. From Piers Anthony’s Xanth comes Tangle trees/Whomping Willow.

    The best thing for Scotland would be if she just left. Or died a hideous painful death. I’m easy either way.
    As a result thousands of children would immediately be lifted out of poverty as the 60% of median income demarcator would drop by a few hundred pounds.

  32. Interesting points, Peter

    To put Tolkien aside, I agree with you in general terms, but I found his prose style glutinous, and that put me off. Others devoured his work avidly. On reflection my reaction might well have been motivated by the small, close-lined type face used in the original books I read.

    Not making myself familiar with the intricacies and characters in Lord of the Rings means I have no comparisons I can make with JK’s characters. I feel reasonably sure when she was accused of plagiarism she readily admitted her characters are derivative. How far that goes I can’t tell without extensive research, and to be blunt, I’d only be contributing to the tons of Potter garbage out there, and nothing would come of it.

    On JK; in her politics she seems to me both crushingly naïve and wilfully malicious, a lethal combination. I know a good few intellectuals who feel as you do, her contribution to the life of Scotland has been mostly reactionary and negative. On the literary side I’ve never considered her capable of originality, but she has a massive machine behind her churning out JK industrial-level trivia. I fear it will continue long after I’ve left the planet.

    My reference to ‘sanctuary’ – twitter shorthand – refers to the welfare help she received from the offices of Edinburgh Town Council, in the days when it was there to help its citizens get over poverty and hardship, rather than be spies for the state upon so-called welfare scroungers. When unemployed I was helped. I’ll always be grateful for that assistance. It gave me a loyalty to our capital which I hope I’ve repaid in various ways over the years. As for JK, she’s bought and altered two large properties and is happy to have giant hedges keep the world at bay. My door is always open…

    I would not wish anybody harm, but I would wish she moved to the Isle of Man where her right-wing outlook would be respected.

  33. Alex Waugh says:

    I have read all the Potter books – once. I have never felt the desire to return to them since.

    They are formulaic, desperately in need of cutting in the case of the later ones and badly-written and they make my English Lit. teacher teeth hurt.

    It’s not the fantasy genre that I dislike – my Terry Pratchett books have been reread so many times that they are disintegrating but that’s because he actually had wit, style, erudition and something to say. JKR’s raison d’etre seems to be self-publicity and little else.

    Every so often I find myself thinking, “Ole JK’s not been heard from in a while.” and, sure enough, a pronouncement appears. Can’t she just be content with her millions and shut up? Have an opinion by all means but keep it to yourself unless asked a direct question.

    Being rich and famous does not automatically confer wisdom (or even sense) upon a person but it does create a responsibility to not use that fame and wealth to manipulate the democratic process.

    I have a lot more respect for those in the public eye who, aware of their influence, offered ‘No comment.’ on the referendum. I should point out that my opinion would be the same if she had been a fervent supporter of independence – it’s up to those whose lives will be affected, not those insulated from political consequences by wealth and fame, to decide what their future should be.

  34. Grouse Beater says:

    My sentiments entirely. Opponents aver she has ever right to her opinion, overlooking what she does with it, free to run Sedition Central as if an independent political party without any legal niceties.

  35. Robert Peffers says:

    JKR is that, not uncommon thing, an incompetent who accidentally hit upon a chance success.

    Her biggest problem now is that she has absolutely no idea how to handle her success. Most organisations are curtailed at some time by those promoted above their capability. Literature is no exception.

  36. Grouse Beater says:

    Interesting point you make, Robert, and here’s the headline from the Telegraph of some months back: “Harry Potter author JK Rowling admitted her terror when she struck it rich”

    I read somewhere her movie studio paid her something like $10 million USD to support her Twitter-website – I think I have that correct – but are withdrawing support this year because it’s the end of their contract. They must foresee a downturn now the snotty Potter is no more.

    However, the article also said her site is losing money. This knowledge backs my intuition she has staff working on it for her, the same collecting ‘SNPBad’ propaganda, and lifting innocuous tweets from private citizens to throw to her followers.

    Of course, they will ask her for her comment before posting certain replies. She will take over at certain times, but her lifestyle is so busy with social and domestic chores, plus meetings, it’s impossible to see her do as I do, sit writing books, scripts, letters, emails AND attend to a massively busy website on a daily basis. I restrict essay composition to the weekend because last year I lost days in the week.

    While you’re here, well done on the way you manage your Wings contributions. I’ve complimented you before but your energy and erudition are unmatched.

    I read most new topics posted, but I log in rarely nowadays for two reasons. As I mention above, I just don’t have the time to get involved, and I am less compelled to get involved because of repetition I read, a natural consequence of the same 100 who tend to make the running in posts. By the way, I’m convinced there are two shills masquerading as independence advocates.

    Then there’s Sententious Dave. Stuart thinks he’s a unionist who is only ‘smarmy’. No comment, as lawyers are apt to say.

    On the other hand, Wings Twitter is dynamic and utterly addictive in comparison. It helps me get my literary muscles pumped up each morning at coffee time before I get stuck into my own work.

    That aside, I hope you’ll visit here more often. 🙂

  37. Marconatrix says:

    I was going to comment but really every possible base seems to have already been covered … well done chaps! 😉

  38. Brian Powell says:

    On the other hand young people support Independence and the SNP by a substantial majority, despite her witterings.

  39. Brian Powell says:

    Her agent did say that the sales of the books only really took off after the first film.

  40. Cellar Shark says:

    A wonderful piece of writing!

    To my shame I’ve never been a big reader – perhaps because the first book I tried as a teenager was JRRT – but I could read your output all day. In fact, I’ve spent most of the afternoon doing just that on my PC instead of working. I look forward to reading more of your back catalogue on this site.

    I’ve not read JKR’s books but something struck me about your comments on the violence, bitterness, and sense of revenge in her novels, coupled with a basic lack of depth in her ability as a writer. She reminds me of my ex-wife who came into a lot of money during our divorce. Her latent ugly character was awoken by money which soon became the medium through which she could engage in bullying.

    I have a couple of good friend who put JKR’s competence with Twitter on a huge pedestal. I suspect the height of that pedestal is relative to the perspective of the viewer, but these are intelligent individuals. I’ll direct them to this essay in due course.

  41. Grouse Beater says:

    Thank you.

    You’ll find I publish essay complete with typos and errors, a visual habit I find makes proof reading easier – but if you return some hours later will see things corrected, and some additions to the text when I realise there’s not enough explanation on this or that.

    Please forward essays to friend and foe alike, including film reviews, and the odd automobile article. The latter two offering respite from our political struggles.

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