Every one of us has missed a deadline or two in their life, and most people agree that that is an understandable, if unfortunate, circumstance, provided that you can offer a legitimate reason for the delay. Well, the Internet just learned that J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy edits were once late for an unbelievable reason — because an aardvark chewed through a power line.
If you can't bring yourself to believe this incredible story, you are not alone. Rowling told her Twitter followers that "nobody ever believes" the tale, and that even her editor "struggled" to take her excuse seriously. I can't say I blame him. I mean, when was the last time you had an aardvark obliterate your corner of the power grid?
(True story: My power once went out for a few hours because a snake crawled into a nearby transformer.)
According to Rowling, the aardvark incident happened while she was in South Africa, working on final manuscript edits for her 2012 novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy. The Harry Potter's author's Thursday evening tweet came in response to a tidbit from Quite Interesting, which related the story of how the Large Hadron Collider in Bern "was shut down after a weasel fell into it" in 2016.
Others responded to the tweets to say that they, too, had been forced to miss or move deadlines in the wake of "attacks" from rabbits, geckoes, squirrels, cats, and other wildlife. Sorely lacking was any discussion of whether CERN researchers' reboot of the Large Hadron Collider may have contributed to the Biff-as-president alternate reality in which we currently find ourselves. (That's the bad reality, in case you hadn't noticed.)
Of interest to many may be the fact that Rowling rolled out her aardvark tweet just after Buzzfeed reported that some of the editorial staff of Harry Potter website and social hub Pottermore had been fired. The author has kept mum on the subject so far, but it seems unlikely that she will be able to remain silent for long. (In a statement to Buzzfeed, the company said: "As a result of a reorganization at Pottermore, there have been a small number of job losses. These reflect the evolution of the business and are being handled as sensitively as possible.")
The firing of some of Pottermore's editorial staff is the second sea change the site has undergone since its founding in 2012. Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Pottermore insiders expressed doubts about the future of the site and its "waning in confidence from fans since the decision to cast Johnny Depp." Rowling has been an outspoken defender of the decision to retain Depp in his role as Grindelwald, and fans were devastated to hear that Jude Law's Dumbledore will not be "explicitly" gay in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Whether these controversies have actually contributed to the sudden culling of Pottermore staff is anyone's guess, however. As much as everyone loves J.K. Rowling's funny tweets about writing, many fans would also love to see her tweet about the issues facing the Harry Potter universe.