TL;DR: See title.
I've been wondering, since my fandom is Harry Potter, how best to handle major canon discrepancies when answering questions, when separate canon-based explanations conflict and create disparate, but also valid, answers.
What is the best way to handle this?
What prompted me to ask this question is Pottermore and J.K. Rowling's explanations regarding the Chamber of Secrets and the Basilisk. in relation to the books. Currently, J.K. Rowling says this:
Originally, the passage on Pottermore read:
Please do not convert the images to text. Thanks!
So, the paragraphs are close, but there's definitely enough wiggle room between the two for a canon purist to argue retcon, author CYA, or just plain old, "Foul!"
There's more! (Of course there's more ... )
On July 30, 2007, J.K. Rowling says in an interview with La Gazette du Sorcier:
Delailah: How does Dumbledore understand Parseltongue?
J.K. Rowling: Dumbledore understood Mermish, Gobbledegook and Parseltongue. The man was brilliant.
This seems to correlate with the following, from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:
‘Ron,’ [Harry] breathed, ‘this is it. This is the answer. The monster in the Chamber’s a Basilisk – a giant serpent! That’s why I’ve been hearing that voice all over the place, and nobody else has heard it. It’s because I understand Parseltongue ...’
However, the actual books don't reference Dumbledore being able to understand Parseltongue at all (as far as I can recollect). Pottermore's information conflicts with the 2007 interview because if Dumbledore understood Parseltongue, shouldn't he have heard the Basilisk, as Harry did? Furthermore (ugh!), J.K. Rowling contradicts herself on Parseltongue:
Q: Since Ron is able to speak Parseltongue in the last book, does that mean that Parseltongue is a language that most witches and wizards can learn or must a person be born with some ability to speak Parseltongue?
JKR: I don't see it really as a language you can learn. So few people speak it that who would teach you? This is a weird ability passed down through the Slytherin blood line.
I'm not looking for the actual question to be answered here -- please do not leave an answer here. This is the meta forum and I've already asked this question on SFF.se. I merely wanted to be thorough with an example of a canon discrepancy by providing this lengthy example. What I really want to know is:
What is the best way to handle complicated or convoluted canon discrepancies in questions and answers?
♦ I'm not looking for statements that J.K. Rowling or George Lucas or whoever sucks or can't do math or doesn't know their own canon. Spending years and years on one story or universe comes with changing attitudes, and I'm sure, like anyone, authors have moments of "If I had it to do over ..." And perhaps these thoughts slip out when it would be best that they didn't, and canon discrepancies are born. So, yeah, please no character or authorial competence assassinations. I'm not interested in reading that. Thanks!