Why you should take J.K. Rowling’s Twitter lightly

May 22, 2020.
By Patricio Tarantino.

For the past years and months, J.K. Rowling’s Twitter profile was the only source of the Wizarding World canon. The latest article for Pottermore written by Rowling herself was MACUSA, and it was published almost four years ago (November 2016). Since then, the only new writing pieces considered in the canon were the Fantastic Beasts films. So that leaves us with her Twitter profile as the only place to go if we want to be updated with the latest development on the Harry Potter canon, and to be fair, she gave us nice pieces of information in there in the past.

However, Twitter is known to be the social network where quick and short statements are shared without much thinking, as some politicians and world leaders have proved lately. Is it possible then, that Rowling follows the same behaviour and her answers are not as exact as we would like them to be?

Yesterday, the Harry Potter author shared a series of tweets about the places where she worked on her novels, mainly the ones before she published her first book. We are happy that she finally confirmed that she never visited Livreria Lello in Oporto, Portugal, although she did confirm she wrote in Café Majestic in that very same city. However, the curious tweet for me was this one, about Artisan Roast, a café in Edinburgh:

Knowing Rowling’s sense of humour, this is something she would do. The funny thing is that the “I was in there a couple of years ago” was confirmed by herself on another tweet published in 2016:

Rowling’s tweet is a reply to this tweet by John Rentoul, and as you can see in the following reply, she confirms it is the very same place (and according to her, “very nice coffee they do, too.”). The interesting part of this 2016 tweet is “I went and wrote in there”. Of course, we know now that she was just joking around – but we did not until her recent tweet (the other possibility is that she did go and write there and she just forgot, but it would be weird since she remembers visiting the place).

Of course, this brings the question of what is real in her Twitter tales. Can we take everything she tells there as a truth? Every piece of anecdote she decides to share with us? Can we expand this question to her canon revelations? The thing is, we have been taken every piece of information published on Twitter as the ultimate truth, especially by those (I include myself) who like to detail every part of the canon and her writing process. But maybe Rowling likes to joke more than we know and uses the bird social network as it is supposed to be used: with quick responses without too much thinking (when she is not speaking of sensitive topics, of course).

So maybe this contradiction in her story helps us to see that she is human and likes to fool with her readers, mixing real stories with jokes all the time, and we cannot take everything she says as the canon revelation we were waiting for. Or simply, she has a bad memory (as she has proved a few times in the past).