J.K. Rowling’s response to the early review that the New York Times published two days before the official release date:
“I am staggered that American newspapers have decided to publish purported spoilers in the form of reviews in complete disregard of the wishes of literally millions of readers, particularly children, who wanted to reach Harry’s final destination by themselves, in their own time. I am incredibly grateful to all those newspapers, booksellers and others who have chosen not to attempt to spoil Harry’s last adventure for fans.”
Yes, I read the review, I couldn’t help myself. And if you don’t want to know the one main point (yes, only one) that I got out of it, don’t read it.
So here’s the question:
Did the Times cross the line when they decided to publish an early review on a book that was not to be released until July 21 at midnight, as agreed by publishers, booksellers and the author? Was this the wrong move by an overzealous editor?
Or was this the right way to approach the situation, with all the secrecy that has surrounded Rowling’s final tale in a series that’s held a lot of the world captivated for the past ten years?
I understand where Rowling is coming from, because it’s her story to tell and it wasn’t done the way she liked it. It revealed a couple of key things to the story, things that I’m not sure I really wanted to know.
And because it was from a legitimate source and not from a random Web site claiming to have spoilers, I’m sure she’s all the more livid at their apparent disregard for her fans.
Personally, yeah, I could have done without the review. But at the same time, I think they’re making a bigger deal out of it than it is. And this is coming from someone’s who’s loved this series for seven years, has gone to midnight premieres, visited the fan Web sites and eagerly watched the movies (yeah, I’m a Harry Potter geek, get over it).
So I know what the Deathly Hallows are. So what? All the other references in that review were inferences I made long before I read it anyway.
The way I look at is, it’s like a movie trailer. You get a few bits and pieces, and you know it’s coming, but you don’t know why it’s coming or how it happens.
There’s still the anticipation. And now that I have a glimpse of what’s to come, I want more.
I don’t know if that was the Times’s intention, but it works for me.
Update: As clarification, I’m not condoning what the Times did. I don’t agree with it, and I think they should have waited. But it doesn’t bother me as much as it seems to bother a lot of other people.
And the Times wrote an op-ed piece in response to the fans’ outcry.