The “Saving People Thing”

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When planning my Beauty and the Beast story, I was thinking about fatal flaws for my characters. For inspiration, I checked out what TVtropes had to say on the subject. And I realized that most of my main characters share a fatal flaw: personal loyalty.

Or, as Hermione calls it, a “saving people thing.” Harry would go to any lengths to save his friends, even if it meant not saving the world. He gets in massive trouble in Order of the Phoenix, when Voldemort takes advantage of his “saving people thing” to lure him to the Ministry of Magic. And, spoiler alert, Sirius dies for it.

The flaw of personal loyalty must really speak to me, because I never realized that this was a trait my characters shared. My Beauty and the Beast character would do anything for her friends. My suspense protagonist would do anything for her sister.

But this trait is closest to an actual flaw in the main character of my upcoming novel, The Narrator. Prince Calder has a “saving people thing,” same as Harry. He’ll move the world to save his friends. But he also fights to save anyone in trouble, from princesses to minstrels.

And, of course, the narrator is able to manipulate him as easily as Voldemort manipulated Harry.

Yeah. You should be nervous.


Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.

Rowling Ruins Ron’s Romance

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I’m all for JK Rowling revealing information about the Harry Potter series. I like seeing all the bits that weren’t specifically mentioned in the books, like Dumbledore being gay or Neville arguing with the Sorting Hat that he belonged in Hufflepuff instead of Gryffindor.

But now she’s crossed a line.

In a recent interview, Rowling admitted that “I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfilment. That’s how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.” She then said that Hermione should have ended up with Harry.

Talk about your bombshells.

How is this different, you ask? Because this information isn’t a detail that never made it into the books. It’s Rowling saying that she should have written the books differently.

I don’t care that distance has given her perspective. She wrote the books, she published the books, the canon is set. She can’t turn around years later and say “whoops, sorry guys, I should have written that major plotline completely different.”

Well, JK. You didn’t. You wrote it the way you did, you don’t get to call backsies.

I’m not going to defend the Ron/Hermione ship I’ve crewed the past sixteen years. I’m not going to argue that Hermione and Ron’s relationship is credible. I’m not even going to ask how Ginny fits into all of this.

All I’m going to say, dearest reader, is that I promise not to do the same. I won’t let you fall in love with my books and then come back years later and say “whoops, sorry guys, my bad.”

That’s a line I won’t cross.


Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.