April 17, 2008 | Graham

Is JK Rowling a witch?

Is JK Rowling a witch? It would appear to be a reasonable question given her performance in prosecuting a case against Steven Vander Ark for daring to have compiled The Harry Potter Lexicon.
The judge is urging both sides to settle, drawing on well-known legal precedents from Dicken’s Bleak House. I hope they don’t and that Vander Ark’s publisher RDR Books triumphs.
Rowling’s complaint is essentially that Vander Ark is seeking to unjustly enrich himself from her intellectual property by publishing a work which is derivative.
This is at best hysterical, and at worst exhibits the controlling behaviour of her archvillain, Voldemort. Perhaps JKR is actually a Death Eater. (Is “Death Eater” hyphenated? Wouldn’t it be great to have a lexicon so I could check).
The purpose of writing a novel for profit is so that people will derive things from it. Some of the things that we derive are solitary pleasures, and others are communal like book clubs. The Lexicon is a fan’s act of sharing, so is like a book club. If there were no derivations, there would be little point in publishing a novel in the first place.
Vander Ark has been running the Lexicon online, and this book is the result. Rowlings appears to have no problem with the website, so why should she have a problem with the material on the website being re-arranged as a book? Irrespective of which, the reason she wrote the book was so that people would talk about it. The more they talk, the more she sells and the richer she gets.
Indeed, Mr Vander Ark could probably mount a case that she is profiting off him as he contributes to the general HP hysteria.
Logically, if she wins this case she could move on and try to restrain book reviewers from reviewing the book, or insisting that they only do so under licence from her – there’s nothing more derivative and parasitic than the life of a literary critic.
Even if she doesn’t move beyond Mr Vander Ark, it would encourage other authors to push the boundaries, stifling discussion.
And if her proposition succeeds it is not too hard to see even more novel applications. Perhaps the Catholic Church might assert their rights over the use of the crucifix to dictate how it can be used.
It would be even worse if the parties settled. That would send the message that the law is so unsettled, that rich plaintiffs should be able to blackmail defendants into abiding by rights that they might not have in the first place.
I like the Harry Potter books, but it would seem that their author is just another greedy billionaire monopolist whose lust for power threatens to bring anything but a happy ending.

Posted by Graham at 12:55 pm | Comments (12) |
Filed under: Ethics


  1. Maybe, but at least she can spell.

    Comment by Rod — April 17, 2008 @ 4:24 pm

  2. Fixed. I’ve taken the “s” off “Rowlings”. Got any substantial complaints apart from the fact that I can’t afford an editor and she can?

    Comment by Graham Young — April 17, 2008 @ 10:15 pm

  3. You’re absolutely right Graham, and I’m gobsmacked that the case ever got this far, given the well-established proliferation of lexicons/cliffs notes/study guides and what I thought was the fairly common knowledge that this stuff falls under “fair use”.
    Who is she kidding? The states are so nuts about copyright.

    Comment by patrickg — April 18, 2008 @ 2:28 pm

  4. J.K. Rowling is not a witch, she’s a good person and she has every right to sue. Americans are stupid and stubborn. It’s either their way or the hard way.

    Comment by Jay — April 19, 2008 @ 6:29 pm

  5. J.K. Rowling is not a witch, she’s a good person and she has every right to sue. Americans are stupid and stubborn. It’s either their way or the hard way.

    Comment by Jay — April 19, 2008 @ 6:30 pm

  6. I’d say JK is the stubborn one with a yen for the highway when it comes to anyone who might make a living from what she has created.
    BTW, pedants reading this thread, when I wrote “substantial” below, I meant “substantive”.

    Comment by Graham Young — April 19, 2008 @ 11:15 pm

  7. Yes she is a witch… and not because of her recent court case. Anyone who can write about witchcraft encouraging its use, especially for young children certainly is a dark one. I havent read much about her childhood or her family life but there no doubt there is an open door in her/their lives for demon powers to converse in some way or other. She admits “falling in love” with Harry Potter (it came to her) and being “impressed” to write the stories. This is classic evil spirit activity…the abnormal coming into the normal…and the person feeling it. As a pentecostal christian I write on witchcraft folk because I know the spirit realm and know what the “hairy one” get up too. Doors can easily be openned into that dark realm through incantations, calling up the dead, OUIJA boads etc. If a spirit latches on, the end result for the child can be psychiatric medication or even an exorcism at a lively christian churches. Pentecostals and some other groups still do it today. It works when we use the Name of Jesus Christ. The “hairy ones” run. Parents are downright stupid if they let their chidlren play with any form of witchcraft. Its a real world those children will be entering.

    Comment by gibo — April 22, 2008 @ 12:52 pm

  8. So what about CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien Gibo. Are they channelers of demonic powers as well?
    Sounds like I’m going to have to burn half my library.

    Comment by Graham Young — April 23, 2008 @ 11:20 am

  9. I actually read Lord of the Rings GH. It was quite a journey. Tolkien achieved what he set out to do…to write a long novel. I was put onto it by a pastor who reckoned it had many Bible-type similarities in it, which it did. I saw heaps in it that could relate to parts of, or characters from, The Word.
    I have had only a brush with CS Lewis and his works and have no complaints about him at this stage. You cant always get to read everything. I believe he had a good christian heart.
    My problem with JK Rowling is that not only has she written a kids series on dark goulish stuff down at their level (and the kids seem to love her books showing the success of the seduction) but she has written what I consider a teaching series. She shows the young ones “how to do it”. And I think this is what a lot of christians are concerned about.
    It is the openning of “the doors” to evil spirits we worry about. What most think is a game, to us diehards-in-Christ it is real.
    To be honest…I know about openning of “doors”. Some many years ago I stupidly openned one; and suffered for a longtime afterwards. I wont describe the mechanism lest others want to follow. It was a similar openning to those opennings you do with incantations; a bit different but then just the same… and then out comes the nightmare. So it was a personal thing for me and actually set me on a road to warn others about careless and witchcraft practices.
    Ive seen two Harry Potter films, you have to see at least some to know what youre talking about if you want to write against the dark stuff and have a clear picture of what satan is presenting in order to grasp a few children. The latter of the two films was the darker… and I havent even seen the latest film which is even worse so “they” say.
    So thats my concern about JK Rowling and young Harry Potter. If we allow the children to practice the witchcraft, not all mind you, but some are going to get ensnared with powers they will regret having contacted for many years to come. Those some can also get involved with warlocks and witches…and I know what the warlocks want from the young girls they grab.

    Comment by gibo — April 23, 2008 @ 6:24 pm

  10. Gobo, to call her a witch is ridiculous. yo need to find something else to whine about.
    this is fantasy and lots of people enjoy it, if you don’t like it, don’t read it, don’t look at it, and don’t talk about it.
    what esle is evil? petter rabbit (hey rabbits don’t talk) it MUST be evil.
    give me a break and people need to leave jk rowling alone to do what she does best write and entertain us with her genious.

    Comment by andrea — April 25, 2008 @ 7:16 am

  11. Well Andrea. I have experience with the openning of doors. Once openned they are hard to shut. Ive had experience with evil spirits so I know they are there. I know what they do. My statements against Rowling stand. In the end if she doesnt seek Jesus Christ to turn from what she has done, satan will probably finish her off. He kills his own. If the offences are great, God may allow him too finish her. Its not a joke. Corrupting children into the occult is extremely bad in Gods Sight. Those who serve satan frequently live shortened lives. If youre a witch you need to repent too.

    Comment by gibo — April 25, 2008 @ 5:04 pm

  12. letmewatchthis

    Is JK Rowling a witch? « Ambit Gambit

    Trackback by letmewatchthis — August 30, 2013 @ 12:59 am

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