Yes, it’s all about Harry Potter this month. That annoyingly efficient, and extremely marketable, boy wizard is causing all kinds of stirs. The latest movie is just about to open here and the latest, and supposedly last, book is due out on the 21st.
But is it the end? J K Rowling has already said that she wants to produce an encyclopedia listing all the characters, places, spells and so on as the ultimate Harry Potter source book. No doubt she’ll have fun working on vignettes of history for that. There’s also a Harry Potter theme park opening up (in America, naturally) and there are still a couple more movies required to catch up with the books. Not to mention all the associated merchandising. It’s not like Rowling’s cash flow is going to look critical any time soon. Or ever, really, but that’s beside the point.
In an interview with the BBC recently, Rowling said, “Never say never.” Her spokeman added enormous clarity with, “As she said on Friday night in her BBC interview, ‘never say never’. It’s not saying that she definitely is [going to write another title] and it’s not saying that she definitely isn’t. I cannot comment further.” Beauty. Thanks for clearing that up.
But do we want any more? Rowling has maintained all along that the seventh book will be the last. The best stories are those that do end and leave us wanting more, rather than giving us so much that we become bored and wander off to look out the window. Just about everything really good has subsequently been spoiled by its sequels. The number of sequels that are better than the originals could be counted on one hand. The original series of seven books, matching Harry’s seven years of High School, was the plan all along. Cranking out a few more now would be bad, in my opinion.
Rowling said of the series ending, “I always knew that Harry’s story would end with the seventh book, but saying goodbye has been just as hard as I always knew it would be.
“I can hardly believe that I’ve finally written the ending I’ve been planning for so many years. I’ve never felt such a mixture of extreme emotions in my life, never dreamed I could feel simultaneously heartbroken and euphoric.”
And that would be a good place to leave it. If she really wants a challenge, she should write a non-Harry Potter book and see if she can pull that off. Would there be a fan backlash? Has Rowling forever tethered herself to Potter? Can she only write other stories if she keeps writing Potter stories too? There is some speculation that Harry will die at the end of the seventh book. Will she then write further Potter-related books without Harry himself? The Adventures of Hermione & Ron?
It will be interesting to find out.
Meanwhile, if you are really keen to save Harry, you can join in with a petition set up by Waterstones Bookshop in the UK. It’s asking for more Harry Potter books no matter what happens at the end of The Deathly Hallows. Of course, if speculation that Harry dies at the end of book seven is true, then any future books will be rather boring:
A worm burrowed into Harry’s eye socket. He did nothing about it, as he was dead.
Not really the high tension adventure we’ve come to expect from Rowling. Anyway, if you want to sign the petition, click here – waterstones.com/saveharry
Maybe we should start a petition to NOT save Harry and let the series end without flogging it into literary porridge over the next few years.