By Henry Tyndall
Nineteen years ago, readers of J.K Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” experienced true magic as the novel’s hidden world of witches and wizards came to life in their heads. Ten years and seven books later, these readers and the millions of others who had since been enchanted by the saga believed the “Harry Potter” canon had come to an end. But today, almost a decade later, the light shines brighter on the world of “Harry Potter” than ever before.
“Just because I’ve stopped on the page doesn’t mean my imagination stopped,” Rowling told reporters at the gala for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”, regarding the years following the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, the seventh installment in the “Harry Potter” series. “It’s like running a very long race. You can’t just stop dead at the finishing line. I carry that world around in my head all the time.”
The first glimpse back into the world of “Harry Potter” since the series’ finale came when Rowling began releasing articles through the website Pottermore.com. The articles gave updates on the characters’ lives and careers, and touched on some new backstory to the world detailed in the seven novels.
Rowling claimed that despite her choice to expand the world of “Harry Potter” through Pottermore.com she would never return to full-length storytelling. Years later, this statement proved to be false when it was announced that a trilogy of films written by J.K. Rowling were scheduled to be released between 2016 and 2020. The first of these would be named “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Though set in the same universe as “Harry Potter”, Rowling claimed the films would not contain any of the same characters as her first saga. However, the trailer for the first of the three films, scheduled to premiere in November 2016, mentioned Albus Dumbledore, a major character in the seven “Harry Potter” novels.
It was not long after the initial hype of the film announcement died down that it began to rise again, this time over the anticipation of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”, a play claiming to be based on an original story by J.K. Rowling, and considered by many fans to be part of the “Harry Potter” canon. However, the play would be performed only in London, and the dismay of the Harry Potter fanbase over this exclusivity prompted the release of the play’s script in book form.
The script of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” received an overwhelmingly more negative response from readers than the “Harry Potter” series had. Students at East Chapel Hill High School seemed to share this negative opinion.
Sean Allen, a junior at East, also gave a dissenting opinion on “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”, insisting, “It doesn’t understand the source material whatsoever. Also, it has a complete disregard for existing Harry Potter lore and the rules that the Harry Potter universe follows.” He goes on to testify that he, “Wouldn’t recommend [‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’] at all. Continuing Harry’s story was a mistake, and it was left perfectly at the end of [‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’].”
Because Rowling did not write the script to the play, and has been cryptic about whether or not she considers the play part of the “Harry Potter” canon, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” has done little to hurt her reputation. However, it has been proven historically that when the creators of beloved series refuse to leave their creations alone, such as George Lucas’s criticism over the prequels to his Star Wars saga, they often end up making fans angry. Rowling may have made it through the scrutiny of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”, but if “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” doesn’t live up to the hype, she could find a similar situation to Lucas’s on her hands.
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