Die, Ron, Die! and other annoying comments

Unless you’ve been confined to Azkaban lately, you probably have seen the cover for the new and final Harry Potter book. Once again, adults are posting their opinions about Harry, and once again, I am getting very irritated.

Fandom raises its ugly, divisive head all over other areas of pop culture as most computer-literate, Buffy/Star Trek/most-graphic-novel series followers are all too aware. The fans of these series argue vehemently over character development, speculate on plot twists to come, and express hatred and love with tremendous feeling. And that’s fine. Whatever makes you happy.

But seeing the fandom that swirls around Harry Potter is weirdly distressing and unfamiliar. I can’t think of another children’s book series that has drawn adults into the same kinds of extreme opinions and to me, repellent, expressions of devotion and loathing. When I see adults writing things like “Die, Ron, die!” it makes me wish I believed in censorship. I just wouldn’t allow those obnoxious grown-ups to read Harry if they can’t behave nicely.

Okay, I don’t really mind their expressing their (stupid) opinions. They annoy me, but lots of things annoy me. What I mind is the way fans try to bully an author into writing what they want them to write. The Harry/Hermione fans are going to be furious if at the end of Deathly Hallows Harry ends up with Ginny, and they aren’t shy about saying so. Imagine writing to Beverly Cleary and telling her, “When Ramona is in junior high, I don’t want her to date that moron Howie. I think Henry Huggins should be her boyfriend! Die, Howie, Die!”

Grown-ups. Yuck. I’m so glad I’m a children’s librarian.

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