I want to preface this article by making one thing abundantly clear: I adore J. K. Rowling and the entirety of the Harry Potter series. I remember when Sorcerer’s Stone was released in the U.S., we had to get a parental consent form signed so we could read the book in class (oh, the joys of living in the Bible Belt). I was eight, I believe, and I literally grew up with those characters. I care for them in the same way I care for any of my other friends or peers, and there are no words to express my eternal gratitude to J. K. Rowling for giving me the delightful experience of sharing in that wonderful adventure.
Harry’s story is over. After 15 years, 7 books, and 8 movies, the characters with whom I shared laughter and tears are done. Their time has ended. Their stories have came to a close. Even when Pottermore was released, I was skeptical; however, it served as a pretty great accompaniment to the series, and the notes and interviews that shed a little more light on character development and idea origins are excellent. Now, though, Rowling has decided to develop a staged production based on the early life of lil’ Orphan Harry. I’m not feelin’ it. It feels cheap, kitschy, forced, yadda yadda yadda, et cetera et cetera et cetera. I’m not against the idea of a staged production of a story set in the universe, I’m just opposed to a dense story about a heartwarming, underdog orphan overcoming a rough home life and dealing with the loss of his parents. It sounds cruel, but it’s probably going to be incredibly predictable and boring overall (I say probably, because I could be surprised, but I’m really not expecting to be). It just seems incredibly dull and overwhelmingly underwhelming, and all I can picture in my head is a itsy bitsy Harry scrubbing the floor under the watchful eye of Aunt Petunia while singing “It’s a Hard Knock Life”.
And, just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, there’s already been a pretty fantastic series of staged productions done by the Starkid gang; if you’re not familiar with it, it’s all available for your viewing pleasure on YouTube. Just search for “A Very Potter Musical,” “A Very Potter Sequel,” or “A Very Potter Senior Year.” They aren’t cannon, but they’re fun gosh darn it.
Am I saying that Rowling should abandon all literary endeavors now that Harry Potter has ended? Heck no! Am I suggesting that she depart from the wonderful, magical universe that Harry grew up in and never return to it? Heck no!
I want a prequel! I burn for it, I pine for it, I perish! I just don’t want “oh look, another story about Harry”. In case you don’t remember, there are A LOT of characters in the series, and I’m not just talking about the main antagonists like Draco or Bellatrix who are pretty prominent in the existing storyline. Rowling has this entire host of intriguing minor characters whom she could expand upon and create something incredible. Give me my prequel about the adventures of the Marauders! Give me the story of Newt Scamander! Give me a gritty, more adult account of the first war with Voldemort and the original members of the Order! Give me all of it and take all of my money! Rowling is a great author, and I would love to see her move on past Harry and give us a more rich development of the entirety of the wizarding world instead of just one singular character. There is an incredibly clichéd phrase that comes to mind for this circumstance that involves the continuation of abuse after a horse is deceased, and it does indeed seem like what she’s doing.
I understand that Rowling probably sees Harry Potter as her baby. She developed this entire incredible beautiful legacy out of an idea, and that’s wonderful and incredible. I just believe that she owes it to not only to her fans but to herself to remember that there’s an entire world that she can expand upon, and to marry herself to a single aspect of this vast and wonderful universe and completely disregard the rest would be a huge waste of potential.