Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Where could J. K. Rowling take Harry Potter next?

New contributor Jaimee Jenkins examines what might be next for J. K. Rowling


It’s quite rare that an author transcends her literature quite the way J.K. Rowling has over the last two decades. Once down on her luck and struggling, like so many young writers, to get her work seen, she became one of the most successful creative people in history. And now, she’s so beloved (and frankly, clever) she’s become a trusted voice in social commentary. The Steeple Times’ Matthew Steeples wrote about Rowling’s advice on how to deal with Twitter trolls earlier this year and that represents only one of countless examples of the author weighing in thoughtfully and logically on the issues of the day.


From a writing perspective, Rowling has seemingly been a little quiet for a while now. It likely doesn’t feel that way to her however, because she’s actually spent the last few years on her mystery novels, her stage play sequel to the Harry Potter series, and screenwriting for Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them and its coming sequel. Much of her work these days, however, builds on her incredible book series in other ways. And this only leads us to wonder, if only just for fun, where Rowling could take the series next.


One idea that has been circulating for some time, though it’s unclear if this is with Rowling’s approval or not, is a television series. Some have actually argued on the Internet for some time that Harry Potter might have worked better as a television series to begin with. The films were immensely popular, so this isn’t a concrete argument, though it is interesting to think of how much more in-depth an adaptation could have been as a series. And now that J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings has been picked up as a television series (by Amazon no less), some believe it’s inevitable that Harry Potter will follow suit, potentially via Netflix. It’s an interesting idea, but needless to say if Rowling were directly attached and not merely approving it would quickly become a very, very big deal.


Another possibility could be an expanded presence in the world of gaming, where licensed material is more prevalent than ever. Console and mobile games come to mind first but there are other avenues as well. Several of the titles available in 2018 in the online slot genre are based on literature or specific franchises, and Harry Potter could easily join the group if Rowling and Warner Bros. saw fit. Augmented reality also provides an exciting new medium for Harry Potter games through which people could experience the sensation of casting spells. In any of these games however, the key would be involvement from Rowling. Were she to write the content – be it descriptive blurbs on a Harry Potter slot arcade, character dialogue in an AR experience, or even entire in-game storylines for mobile or console games – those games would be enormously successful.


But of course, more than any other idea, more books would be the next step that would delight fans around the world. Many Harry Potter diehards agree that the series stopped at the right point, and that the character of Harry’s story is more or less complete. As she’s proven through the aforementioned theatrical play and the Fantastic Beasts films, however, Rowling has a lot more to say about her wizarding world – undoubtedly enough to fill new novels and even whole new series. She could write about adventures at wizarding schools aside from Hogwarts, or write about the first struggle between Harry’s father’s generation and Voldemort. She could write about an international conflict between wizards, or invent a new dark wizard to challenge Harry as an adult (which sort of happens in the theatre play, but isn’t a huge story). She could even do one-off biography-style novels about the early history of some of our favourite characters.


The only thing we know for sure is that Rowling’s creativity is boundless, and anything more she has to offer will be eagerly consumed by millions.


Jaimee Jenkins grew up in Maryland, USA and has been writing short stories and entertainment blog articles since 2015.


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