The Dog Ear: Pottermania isn't done yet
Published: Monday, September 16, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 16, 2013 22:09
If you heard cheering last Thursday, that was the sound of relieved “Harry Potter” fans rejoicing that they have something “Harry Potter” related to look forward to once again.
Six years after “Deathly Hallows” was published and two years after the last movie was released, “Harry Potter” fans – like me – continue to wish that the series never ended. I felt Pottermore was a disappointment, so I was forced to accept that no new additions to the “Harry Potter” franchise would ever arrive. I pacified myself by going to King’s Cross Station and the Harry Potter Studio Tour while in London. As incredible as that was, I wanted more from J.K. Rowling. Thankfully, Rowling managed to surprise everyone by agreeing to be the screenwriter for the film series of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
“Fantastic Beasts” was originally published in 2001, a tiny paperback about 50 pages long. Since it was published in between the fourth and fifth “Harry Potter” books, I feel that the series greatly overshadowed “Fantastic Beasts,” depriving it of publicity and therefore, a lack of readership. Many people own the entire “Harry Potter” series, but how many own a copy of “Fantastic Beasts?” And if they do, do they ever re-read it? I have an old copy of “Fantastic Beasts” I bought when I was in middle school but I don’t ever remember reading it more than once. That’s not a reflection on the quality of the book more so than the style of the book.
Written by Newt Scamander (aka Rowling) “Fantastic Beasts” is a fictional textbook required at Hogwarts. Essentially, it is a small scale encyclopedia of magical creatures. A critter is presented, a paragraph or so is written about it, and then you progress to the next creature. Notes written by Harry, Ron and Hermione are found throughout the book, a nice touch to make you feel part of their world. Despite all of the fun facts and commentary by the characters, a textbook-designed book isn’t really one you return to again and again.
That being said, I am extremely curious as to how this one little book is inspiring a film series. If Rowling wasn’t the screenwriter, I could not see how this would work. Rowling says that “Fantastic Beasts” is “neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world.” An extension of one author’s world can never be created by another.
Rowling is one of the most ingenious authors I have ever encountered. Her magical world is already so vast and filled with intricate details that I can’t begin to imagine her writing more material. Fans are going to find themselves even more immersed in the magical world, still regretting that they never received an owl from Hogwarts when they turned 11.
The announcement of the film series makes me question if Rowling’s other short books will find themselves on the screen in years to come. Will sports fans find themselves watching a movie based on “Quidditch Through the Ages?” Will “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” see a greater amount of screen time than it received in “Deathly Hallows?” Rowling has now shown she has no shortage of material or ideas and fans have long ago made it evident that they have voracious appetites for anything “Harry Potter.” My only hope now is that “Fantastic Beasts” is truly fantastic.