Daniel Radcliffe, cast as Harry at 10, acknowledged that Rowling was “unquestionably responsible for the course [his] life has taken” before directly contradicting her. Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger, dodged mentioning Rowling directly but nevertheless countered her comments.
Evanna Lynch, Katie Leung, Bonnie Wright − perhaps better recognised as Luna Lovegood, Cho Chang and Ginny Weasley − added their condemnation, as did Rupert Grint, aka Ron Weasley.
I find it impossible to witness without thinking of those initial paparazzi shots taken in Leicester Square, with Rowling protectively huddling Radcliffe, Watson and Grint against a flashbulb she is probably the most wary of.
I’m the same age as the actors and remember picking over the images as they grew up, finding an unlikely mirror in their gawkiness. Like a family portrait, the height differences and hairstyles change. Like a family portrait, you can always tell who is mum.
Part of the reason Rowling’s franchise changed from international bestseller to cultural phenomenon is that its readership were the first to grow up with the internet. Harry Potter fans were able to build DIY websites and gather on forums. It all granted Rowling’s creation a life-extending elixir arguably more powerful than that of the Philosopher’s Stone.
Not only did it keep Potter in the public consciousness, but it kept Rowling accountable and, crucially, accessible to her fans in an online age of unanticipated scrutiny.
The books will still be read in their masses: mercifully, the children who are reading them today aren’t privy to the slings and arrows of social media. But for those parents reading with them, who adored the films and the sheer glee of their release, the Potter franchise has lost a little magic.
Alice Vincent is the author of Rootbound: Rewilding a Life.
The Telegraph, London