Books about books

What is J K Rowling up to with this court case? As I understand it, she appreciated the work done by Steve Vander Ark, as long as it was online, and he didn’t stand to make lots of money out of it. Now she takes him to court. Maybe the quality of the book isn’t good enough, but then lots of books are pretty bad.

I have to make the obvious comparison here with Philip Pullman. True, he’s not as big as J K. And Laurie Frost did approach him about her idea for a book about his books, before she put too much work in. Philip seemed to think it was  a good idea, and he has written the foreword to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials; The Definitive Guide. He claims to use Laurie’s book when he needs to remember things he made up earlier.

I think J K said the same about the Lexicon, earlier. That she used it.

When The Golden Compass film came, it brought with it lots of books. Many were film company related, but not all. Not all were good, either, but let the buyer suffer disappointment, then.

Is J K only doing this because her film company can’t stand their rights to Harry Potter being borrowed? Surely, by now, Harry Potter belongs to us all, in some way? I’m writing about him this very moment, so either I’m breaking some law, or I’m not. Actually, since I’m not making money out of this, I suppose it’s OK.

But neither J K or her film company should lose money over fans buying someone else’s book. Unless they were thinking of doing the same?

Laurie’s book will soon be available everywhere, which is good.

8 responses to “Books about books

  1. Rowling is being very ill- advised I think. This book can not possibly be any skin off her nose and nothing any other book does is going to affect her sales one jot or tittle….her bad, as they say.

  2. I think the problem was that J K Rowling had explicitly said that one of her next books was going to be an encyclopaedia of Harry Potter’s world, and it was felt that this book was stepping on her toes.

    There are innumerable guides to Harry Potter out there already – many of them written by fans – none of which she’s had a problem with.

  3. “Those characters meant so much to me over such a long period of time. It’s very difficult for someone who is not a writer to understand what it means to create something. It’s the closest thing to having a child. Those characters saved me. Not just in a material sense – though they did do that. There was a time when they saved my sanity.” JKR

    Hmm. A severe case of Empty Nest Syndrome? Certainly a case of Unhealthy Attachment to People That Are Not Actually Real.

    She needs to let go.

  4. For us to write a book about her real children could be seen as intrusive. To write a book about book characters may be superfluous, but hardly intrusive. They are fairly much in the public eye already.

  5. From my understanding of the case, her objection has more to do with them lifting passages from her books, word-for-word, and not even bothering to quote them in some instances. Which, fair play to her. I don’t think it’s a money issue, although I do think she’s worried – uneccessarily, I imagine – that this book might damage the reception to her own encyclopedia, which is going to be for charity. Lots of ludicrous accusations flying about on the internet, though; it’s when things like this happens that I’m reminded of how truly terrifying Harry Potter fandom can be.

    Some of the coverage has been hilarious, though. Apparently one of the lawyers apologised for saying Voldemort’s name aloud, and his opening gambot was to quote Dumbledore’s ‘what is good and what is easy’ speech. World gone mad.

  6. Does this mean that she might litigate against me for the ‘project’ (essentially a mini dictionary/encyclopedia) on Harry Potter that I did when I was 10 years old?

  7. You think being ten years old is a good excuse?

  8. In my family, ten years old gets you out of all sorts of trouble. Mainly because 50 year old parents can’t be arsed to argue….!

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