I think one of the reasons the Harry Potter Epilogue was so poorly received was because the audience was primarily made up of the Millennial generation.
We’ve walked with Harry, Ron and Hermione, through a world that we thought was great but slowly revealed itself to be the opposite. We unpeeled the layers of corruption within the government, we saw cruelty against minorities grow in the past decades, and had media attack us and had teachers tell us that we ‘must not tell lies’. We got angry and frustrated and, like Harry, Ron and Hermione, had to think of a way to fight back. And them winning? That would have been enough to give us hope and leave us satisfied.
But instead. There was skip scene. And suddenly they were all over 30 and happy with their 2.5 children.
And the Millennials were left flailing in the dust.
Because while we recognised and empathised with everything up to that point. But seeing the Golden Trio financially stable and content and married? That was not something our generation could recognise. Because we have no idea if we’re ever going to be able to reach that stage. Not with the world we’re living in right now.
Having Harry, Ron and Hermione stare off into the distance after the battle and wonder about what the future might be would have stuck with us. Hell, have them move into a shitty flat together and try and sort out their lives would have. Have them with screaming nightmares and failed relationships and trying to get jobs in a society that’s falling apart would have. Have them still trying to fix things in that society would have. Because we known Voldemort was just a symptom of the disease of prejudice the Wizarding World.
But don’t push us off with an 'all was well’. In a world about magic, JK Rowling finally broke our suspension of disbelief by having them all hit middle-class and middle-age contentment and expecting a fanbase of teenagers to accept it.
Also. Since when was 'don’t worry kids, you’re going to turn out just like your parents’ ever a happy ending? Does our generation even recognise marriage and money and jobs as the fulfillment of life anymore? Does our generation even recognise the Epilogue’s Golden Trio anymore?
Lemme just preface this with saying that I am a writer. I have been writing for most of my life. I have taken actual classes about writing and about what fiction can offer you, me, and people as a whole. I have won an award for something that I wrote. I know and love fiction, be it in written form, graphic novels, or film. It is all so good and complex and it’s something I am passionate about. That said, let’s get into this.
A good majority of the discourse that goes on in most of the fandoms I’m in stem from the idea that violence and forbidden sexual acts in fiction will encourage those actions in reality. It is important to know, firstly, that the only time this happens is when a person is immature enough or not mentally healthy enough to distinguish reality from fiction. Growing up, my parents would often stop horror movies (back when I first started watching them) to ask me questions. To be fair, they were pretty shitty people, but in this one aspect, they were so good about making sure I knew this difference. “You know this is just a movie, right? None of the stuff on the tv is real.” They’d assure before continuing the film.
It’s not real.
Now, half of the stuff I read or watched back then was nowhere near pushing boundaries or making me think critically about society or whatever. However, I knew that what I watched wasn’t real. It was images on a screen. If I don’t like what I’m seeing, I can walk away. It doesn’t have to affect me, personally, unless I let it.
Now, lets circle back. School. College. I took a writing class that used this book:
Granted, it was a screenwriting class and most of the chapters were about various script formats, but the beginning chapters focused on why we write and why we make the stories we do.
It had a section in it describing how human needs and desires are met through fiction. It detailed those needs in a list. This list:
Please draw your attention to the ones on the list that say that fictions helps people to:
Be purged of unpleasant emotions
To have vicarious but controlled emotional experiences
To confront, in a controlled situation, the horrible and terrible
To explore taboo subjects without guilt
Just because you personal don’t need various forms of ‘taboo’ media, doesn’t mean that others don’t. Media, in all of its forms, is a way for people to explore things safely. It’s an outlet that doesn’t harm anyone and it offers the creator and viewer/reader a safe way of exploring the complexities of situations (or in some cases relationships) that these people do not want to be involved in irl. Because we can distinguish reality from fiction. Because none of us are going out killing people or getting into abusive relationships or fucking our sibling.
While being critical of the media we consume is important and it is vital to dissect the whys of the media being created, there is a line between creating open discussion about these taboos, about the society and personal experiences that makes one need these outlets, and verbally abusing and harassing strangers.
If you want to create a dialogue about media or a ship you don’t agree with, fine. Talk about it. Dissect it. Really dig deep into the human condition and the psychology behind these outlets, but don’t shame people for them to the point of telling them to kill themselves or telling them they are human garbage or what the fuck ever.
Fiction isn’t always meant to be picturesque. It’s not always going to be SFW. If that isn’t your cup of tea, then great. Stop going into the tags of things that make you feel unhealthy. You do you. Keep yourself safe. Stop continuously exposing yourself to content that you can’t swallow. To keep getting involved, to keep harassing people, to keep abusing strangers shows that you don’t give a damn about the content. You need an excuse to bully someone else and indulge in holier-than-thou circle jerks with other people who also have no sense of what fiction is for.
Jun was trying really hard to hide that he was about to cry, Vernon noticed, and probably teased him for it because it was a rare sight. When the staff came with tissues, Jun kind of scrambled to get one, like he didn’t want anyone to notice. Vernon had his full attention on Jun afterwards and rubbed him on the back even though Jun kept walking away and looked at him like, “What? I wasn’t crying.”
My thoughts are absolutely with the family during this time, but I want to be sure you know my thoughts are with all of you too. Don’t feel ashamed or frustrated or whatever if you are emotionally affected by this. Whether we have met him or not, it felt like he was someone we knew, even in a small way, and it is natural to feel that loss.
Please take care of yourself. In whatever way is best for you. It’s okay to feel the way you do and you know best what you need. Look after yourself. You’re important and need care as well. I love you, and if you need it, this is me sending you the warmest hug. Once you’re done, send it on to their family and it will be like a mental wave of love being sent to them. Hopefully when they most need it they can feel our support that way too.