Call me a Harry Potter purist, but I just can’t get excited about the prospect of new Potter related content.
Is it perhaps because I spent years of my childhood voraciously reading all seven books, waiting desperately for each film to come out and even going so far as to pretend my cousins and I were Hogwarts students ourselves that I don’t want the original canon disturbed?
For whatever reason, when it was announced last week that J.K. Rowling’s magical saga would continue with a new play-turned-book Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a story that will follow Harry’s son and family where the final book left off, I felt more trepidation than excitement.
In our nostalgia-driven culture, there is an intense push to bring back old favorites, whether they be shows, movies or even books. The self-avowed ‘90s kids have had a steady stream of victories in this realm.
Shows like The Powerpuff Girls, Full House, Gilmore Girls and Twin Peaks are already slated to return within the next year, while musical acts like Outkast and Sleater Kinney spent a great deal of last year touring together for the first time in ages. It seems everyday there is news of some kind of revival; however, no one ever seems to question whether this is actually a good thing.
For example, Netflix brought back critical darling Arrested Development for a fourth season on their streaming services. Audiences were initially thrilled, only to receive what can only be described as a lackluster final result.
To bring it back to the matter at hand, I fear the same outcome for the boy who lived.
J.K. Rowling has not shied away from expanding the ‘Potter’ universe in the past. She released Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in 2001 for the British charity Comic Relief, both of which break from the actual story of Harry and his friends to share tales of past wizarding accomplishments. The latter of these two, Fantastic Beasts, has been turned into a film starring Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne and is set for release in November.
In 2011 she launched the website ‘Pottermore,’ which allows visitors to be sorted into one of the four Hogwarts houses and released tidbits of information about the Harry Potter universe not included in the original seven books. With the announcement of The Cursed Child last week, the excitement of fans all across the internet shows that the Harry Potter nostalgia train, which has been building momentum for some time, is now in full force.
So what exactly is my concern?
I worry the revival circuit has been sped up to the point where things are barely over before they are brought back. The last book came out in 2007, and the last film came out in 2011. Less than 10 years separate us from the literary end of Harry Potter and already the series is being hauled back out into the spotlight like we have been without it for centuries.
However, I mostly worry that the new stories will tamper with the cohesion and finality of the first seven novels. The story arc of the original Harry Potter books was crafted so that each book fed into each other, leading up to an ending, which left very few major strings untied.
The finale seemed fitting, and most of all, final. I fear that a play centered on Harry’s son will begin to dismantle the original story. With new material there is room to poke holes in old plotlines, destroy earlier relationships, and bring more drama into the Potters’ lives than is necessary.
In short, I’m worried it will ruin the original canonical tale I watched unfold as a child and continue to love to this day.
Perhaps J.K. Rowling will prove me wrong. Perhaps I am just being biased because I feel like I have a hold on the Harry Potter franchise having grown up with it. Either way you spin this issue, it still leaves me with the same question: why are we unable to leave Harry Potter alone?
Featured Photo Credit: Screenshot of Emma Watson as Hermione Granger courtesy of Fanpop.
Julie Kearney is a senior English major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.