It’s hard not to get excited at the idea of another Harry Potter book, even one that might come years from now.
J.K. Rowling’s comment that she might return to Potter’s world one day lit the same fires I remember feeling a decade ago, when I learned that the fourth book in the seven-book series was on its way. Part of the thrill of Rowling’s world, in those days, was the rare feeling of being in the middle of a magical experience. Unlike Narnia or Middle Earth, no one had to turn the last page and forever give up the joy of reading the story for the first time.
To my surprise, though, the thrill of considering a Harry Potter No. 8 didn’t hold up for long. With Voldemort gone and Harry grown, what stories are left for Rowling to tell?
MTV tossed out some ideas: Should Rowling create a new series following Harry’s children? Pull a “Star Wars” and go back to earlier days, elaborating on how Voldemort came to be? Take a close-up look at Harry’s father, James, and his days at Hogwarts? All were plausible ideas, and yet all felt tired.
New York magazine, in a swipe at recent Twilight news, opined that “As long as it’s not a spinoff from the point of view of an obscure character no one remembers, we’re onboard.” (The authors might be alarmed to see commentators on other sites suggest that Rowling should retell the main story from the view of minor characters.)
Monitor readers had some creative thoughts of their own, with suggestions such as a compendium of extra information for diehard fans (e.g., was Hermione ever reunited with her parents?). My own favorite: The reader who was disappointed at the characters killed off in the later Harry books, writing “I would like to see an alternate ending.”
Mugglenet, one of my favorite Potter sources from the old days, posted the full Q&A session where Rowling spoke the bombshell words. Maybe I’m stuck in the past now, but my interest was more piqued by the Mugglenet summary of other highlights from the same Q&A. Rowling talked about an early draft of the first Potter book, Mugglenet said, explaining how in that draft, “Hermione was Harry's next door neighbor and Hermione's father was first on scene when Harry's house blew up, and saw Harry being taken from the rubble. Hermione remembered the story when she first meets Harry.”
We’re so familiar with the core story, now, it’s delightful to hear extra details about it, or learn more about its genesis. But for me, at least, the last page can’t be unread. The story had a fine ending, and now it’s done.
Rebekah Denn blogs at eatallaboutit.com.