Re: Timeline etc etc

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Posted by Robert Hill on February 19, 2006 at 02:29:19 from user eclrh.

In Reply to: Re: Timeline etc etc posted by Mike Dennis on February 18, 2006 at 19:21:44:

No, it doesn't 'matter' that there are inconsistencies in AR's timeline - it's only fiction after all, and not even mystery fiction, in which small details can be vital. Not only did he not plan the whole series out ahead, I'm pretty sure that in most cases, when he was finishing one book, he had little idea what the next one would be about. But his timeline, and the inconsistencies in it, and the best way for us to approach them, are still interesting and legitimate subjects for us to discuss, provided we remember we're doing it for fun.

Rowling planned quite a lot about the Potter series before seeking a publisher for the first book. Quite a lot but by no means everything. Yes, she has a draft of the last chapter locked away; she has described it as an epilogue. It tells what happens to the main surviving characters after the climax of the series.

You ask 'did she at any point consider that the whole thing may have been a total failure?'. She seems to have spent most of her time being quite sure it would be a total failure. She planned it out because she wanted to, not because she was sure of success. She writes for herself. One of the first things she did after the first book was accepted for publication was to ask the publisher how he'd feel about a series of seven. Obviously, if the first book had been a flop, the others would never have appeared.

At the same time, there's lots of detail in each of her books that's newly invented since the publication of the previous book. She is not particularly good at avoiding inconsistencies of detail (especially in matters of chronology and anything to do with numbers). Such matters are extensively discussed on some of the better of the many websites frequented by her fans.

Since there are ongoing mysteries which run throughout her series, inconsistencies are a bigger problem than in a series like AR's. If some detail seems hard to explain, is it a mistake by Rowling or is it a clue for the next book?

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