041508rowling.jpgThere’s troubling news today for fans of fantasy tween novel franchises: Choking back tears in a Manhattan courtroom yesterday, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling testified that her lawsuit to stop the publication of an unauthorized “Harry Potter Lexicon” has caused her such stress and heartache that it “decimated the demands of my creative work for the last month. You lose the threads, you worry if you’ll ever be able to pick them up again. I really don't want to cry, because I'm British.”

As detailed yesterday
, the proposed book is essentially a print version of a Harry Potter fan site that Rowling previously awarded for excellence in web fandom (something she now “regrets bitterly”). But the website is free, and the billionaire author (along with Warner Brothers Entertainment) claims that a print version, if sold, would amount to “the wholesale theft of 17 years of my hard work.” Rowling went on to dismiss the book as “sloppy, lazy, dire and atrocious,” which is ironic because Rowling once confessed that she consulted the Lexicon website to check facts while writing the Potter series.

In her opening statements, a lawyer for the publisher, RDR Books, characterized Rowling’s lawsuit as an exercise in dark magic to see if she has “the power to make the Lexicon disappear from our world.” The author claims her litigious sorcery is simply motivated by her plans to publish her own Potter encyclopedia, with the proceeds going to charity, not Voldemort – the dark lord’s name that Rowling’s lawyer actually apologized for uttering in court yesterday.

Photo of Rowling speaking to the press outside court courtesy AP/Louis Lanzano.