Blogs > Frye on the News

Keeping his eye on the news and offering commentaries and insights on what is happening in Oakland County, around the world, on the tube and in the news.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Harry Potter and the everflowing tears

Harry Potter apparently made reading cool, but this ongoing lawsuit
in federal court in New York is undoing everything that may have been
cool about the little wizard that wowed so many millions of readers
and now movie-goers.

U.S. District Judge Robert Patterson Jr. urged best-selling author
J.K. (Joanne) Rowling and meek Christian school librarian to settle
their lawsuit, which was filed by Rowling and Warner Bros. as she
attempts to halt Michigan native Steven Vander Ark's attempt to
publish an unauthorized lexicon about everything Harry through
Muskegon publisher RDR Books.

Accounts of the trial have shown all involved to be rather pathetic.

Vander Ark, 50, cried as he recounted how his love of the Harry
Potter stories prompted him to spend years studying them and
compiling tidbits of facts for a Web site, which is the basis for his

"This has been an important part of my life for the last nine years
or so," Vander Ark said, choking on his words as he wept, The
Associated Press reported. He said he only wanted to celebrate
Rowling, The AP reported.

Rowling, not to be outdone, likewise broke down and wept during the
trial, complaining that the anxiety of his case has drained her of
her desire to write. She has stopped writing her next novel.

Writing her own encyclopedia, which may take two or three years,
Rowling testified, according to The AP, that she may not be able to
finish it if Vander Ark's book is published. "I'm not at all
convinced that I would have the will or the heart to continue with my
encyclopedia," she said, noting that profits of that book would be
given to charity.

She said the closest she could explain the importance of the
characters was to compare them to her children and that writing the
books as a single mother on welfare saved her, The AP reported.

Judge Patterson seemed fair, as he will decide this case. He warned
them that appeals due to some untested copyright laws could keep this
case alive, encouraging both sides to reach a settlement.

I'm impressed that he didn't jail them for contempt.

Harry Potter may inspire legions to read and buy movie tickets. I've
never read the stories, but when my daughters are older, I will
likely get them copies to read.

But I wonder if all the tears and boo-hoos stem really from love of
beloved characters or a love of potential incomes. Like the boy
wizard, these two cry-babies should grow up and work out their dispute.


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