Commentary: Artists can’t make up their minds

Des Delgadillo, Copy Chief
Des Delgadillo, Copy Chief

A gaggle of Harry Potter fans were stunned into anxiety when author J.K. Rowling expressed regrets for pairing lovable goofball Ron Weasley and girl genius Hermione Granger at the end of her seven-book series.

In her interview with “Time,” Rowling said Hermione and Harry would have been a much better fit, with apologies to poor Ginny, of course.

Not only does this reinforce the idea that Weasley’s are forever cursed and can never catch a break, it raises an age-old issue of artists retroactively changing their work.

Of course, Rowling’s comments in the “Time” article were not meant to be taken as anything other than an author fondly humoring a fan question. But her comments do give some insight into the cognitive processes of those unicorn-like creatures called artists.

Any teacher worth his or her salt will emphasize the need for a “filter” when in the throes of creativity, but the buck needs to stop somewhere. After all, it is Steven Spielberg anal-retentive attention to human psychology that make his films so spectacular, with the legendary director refining his narrative every step of the way. But when the final product has drawn millions of viewers and even more dollars, it should be time to move on, not digitally alter the movie to appeal to whomever it was Spielberg was trying to reach by taking guns out of “E.T.”

It is at this juncture where dedication to a craft shifts from marvelous gift to crippling obsession. Creative people like Spielberg and Rowling do not simply dream up a fantastical world like that of “E.T.” or Harry Potter, perfectly sound, all things in their places. They instead, like so many creative minds before them, become absorbed in their worlds’ little inadequacies, hoping to tidy up a nook here, a cranny there. For them, it is therapeutic; for us, it is the latest “Star Wars” box set, where George Lucas has surely changed something else about his interstellar adventure. I like the sound of “Star Wars Episode Seven: Oh, and Another Thing.”

Peruse any major film’s DVD or Blu-Ray menu and you are bound to find what has become a cliché in the film world: The alternate ending, better known as the “We couldn’t make up our minds” ending, or the “Test screeners said we shouldn’t do this after all” ending. Look no further than this as a precursor to a cavalcade of “amendments” to your favorite book or movie. And here is where we find the artist, the creative genius, in its natural habitat: A world of impulse switches and indecision.

Des Delgadillo, a sophomore journalism major, is copy chief of the Campus Times. He can be reached by email at

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