Yet Another JK Row
Lent. The Season of fasting and penance that leads to the pinnacle of the Christian calendar, the Redemption of mankind through Christ. A time when we ought to suffer in order to remember how lucky we are. No time to start heartlessly throwing your weight about then; or is it? You’d have to ask JK Rowling.
That’s right, she’s called out the lawyers again. The ones she employs aren’t too dissimilar from Death Eaters; I mean, the fact her representatives lack souls does keep legal costs to a minimum, which is always a plus when you’re richer than the Queen.
The first time the UK’s resident literary megalomaniac went to the courts was when she sued someone, back in 2008. Some poor, geeky American librarian had collated a Harry Potter Lexicon to complement Rowling’s books and films; he loved the books like millions of others and had therefore contributed to JK’s subsequently obscene fortune. That said, he probably bought them on the cheap from Tescos, much to the detriment of the small book store industry (not, Joanne, that I’m suggesting you’ve had anything to do with that). Anyway, he decided to marry the two – the pedantry of a librarian and his passion for Potter – and write the Lexicon.
Our Joanne wasn’t too happy about this merry little synthesis, however. Her estate claimed it was a ‘Harry Potter “rip off”’ because 2,034 of its 2,437 entries were directly lifted from her books. Now, I don’t wish to seem rude, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that the essential function of a Lexicon, you silly bitch?
It was then claimed that she herself had planned to produce a similar publication, the proceeds of which would go to charity. An admirable gesture for a woman whose fortune suffered loses to the tune of £61 million this year; I’m sure no one would blame everyone’s favourite money-grabber if she had wanted to boost the paltry £499 million she is now reputed to be worth by keeping all the proceeds for herself.
Notwithstanding her inestimable generosity, the creator of this ‘rip-off’ Lexicon was told that, in pre-empting Joanne’s own publication, he was preventing enormous sums being raised for charity. Yeah, that’s right Joanne, I’ve always been of the opinion that small US librarians are responsible for all that suffering in Africa. Spot on.
Yet despite the idiocy of her case against this unofficial Lexicon, she won. And now she’s at it again. Except, not to be outdone in the absurdity stakes (this is, after all, a woman who believed it would be a shock to the world when an old, bachelor headmaster of a private school came out), Rowling’s newest victim is already long dead. His estate is claiming that it is she, this time, who is the plagiarist. And she’s called in the heavies to dismiss the claim, actually going to court in an attempt to get them to force him to drop charges against her.
I’m not going to lie, we all know she, like every other author, copies other authors. A glance at any page of her works shows she has pillaged myth after myth; but that’s fine, as (potentially) T S Eliot said, there’s really no call for originality in literature.
My point is this, JK – just leave the man and his relatives alone. If he wants to claim you copied him, let him. Like with Dan Brown and that ‘Holy Blood and Holy Grail’ author, the public can tell when someone is trying to cash in on someone else’s success and famous name; plus, if you haven’t plagiarised, his claim against you will be dismissed in the courts anyway.
For goodness’ sake, you and Warner Bros have enough dolla, and have already demolished one other guy for daring to like your works and partake of the frenzy that now feeds your lifestyle. You’ve remarried, you’ve made it big, you’re finally happy. So why can’t you just let that be the same for someone else?
And there’s a wider point here too. It’s just too common in this country that the rich get what they want (and get richer), and the rest of us just have to eat their gold-encrusted dust. I don’t know about you, and maybe this is just the recession talking, but I’ve pretty much had enough of it.
So please, Joanne, leave this guy’s family alone and let them accuse you of plagiarism. We all own your books, let us be the judge of your integrity; or let the case fizzle out like it inevitably will (unless this is all about publicity for the forthcoming instalment of your final film?). If you do this you can bring a bit of sanity and common decency back into our lives; it’s Lent, show some humility.
Alternatively, you could just sue me instead; I’m poor and love your books, so it would seem to make perfect sense.