Budgie’s Journal #154 – Never Be Sorry

I’m writing this after seeing a twitter moment involving JK Rowling. Over the years, I’ve been critical of her. Not her books, mind you. I loved the Harry Potter series (the books but not the movies), but every now and then she comes up with something to get her in the social media limelight for a short time, reminding us that we still need to discus her seven-part book series.

She outed Dumbledore, said Hermione should have chosen Harry over Ron (as if), told the world Hermione is black, and now she’s apologizing to all her fans for killing off Dobby the house elf in the final Harry Potter book.

My question to her would be: “Why?”

I see the merit in killing a character, especially one like Dobby. It makes the situation seem more dire, and you shock your reader into knowing how serious the danger really is. Harry Potter was seen as a children’s book, especially in its early days when it was geared more toward kids (the characters were all eleven in the first book after all). Dobby was just one death in a book full of character deaths, but it was one of the most poignant, happening chapters before the epic Battle of Hogwarts.

But I’m not here to rant about JK Rowling and her incessant need to drop a bombshell once a year about her series. I want to talk about apologizing for what you’ve written.

There are a lot of writers who idolize Rowling and hang on her every word. They see her in the social media news feed, apologizing to her fans years later for killing Dobby in the final book of her series.

What’s this say as a writer? To me; you’re saying that you were wrong. Apologizing means you were at fault. Would I ever apologize for something I’ve written? No. Never. Not in a million years. I won’t apologize for what a character has done or how events unfolded. It’s all part of the story in my mind, and my job is to transcribe it as such.

I know that makes it sound like I’m some kind of mouthpiece for a higher deity, but am I not? Can I call the creative spark in my mind a higher deity for a moment without sounding like a super-egotistical piece of conceited shit? It’s too late. I said it, and I refuse to apologize or delete it.

I need to get back on topic here. I’m having a weird day, guys.

To those of you who inspire to be like Rowling: Don’t. Be your own writer. Be strong and confident in what you create, even if you end up seeing the part of your mind responsible for creation as a divine entity. Birth when someone needs to be birthed, and kill when someone needs to be killed. Make it premeditated or make it a random act of violence. Cause terminal cancer or make your character make the greatest of sacrifices for the greater good. Run them over, shoot them, stab them, drown them, blow them up, give them heart attacks, or have them mauled to death by wild animals.

Just don’t let me catch you fucking apologizing for it later.

In the end, it’s your story. Tell it to the best of your ability, regardless of who you leave in your metaphoric wake. If your reader is invested enough to have an emotional response or go through the five stages of grief, then you’ve done your job. If people come at you over the death of a character; that’s a response, and you’ve done your job well.

Keep writing, and keep on killing.

-Budgie Bigelow
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