Time to expand the Potterverse

Yesterday, I tweeted a link to a damn sweet collection of photo manips done by this talented Tumblrino. It reminded me once more how bad J.K. Rowling is at marketing the Potter franchise. Well, “bad” is a strong word. Let’s replace it with “extremely careful”. Though the typical merchandise and multimedia products are available, the Potterverse has never been the backdrop for something like a spin-off Saturday morning cartoon, a comic book series or something else that expands on the world presented in the books. While that is a good way for Rowling to protect her intellectual property from the mad ideas of other authors and marketeers, it is also a missed chance for a setting so rich like that of the Potter books.

Let’s just take a look at, for example, Star Wars. Over the years, the so-called “Expanded Universe” has deepened and enriched the franchise through comic books, novels and an animated TV show. “Enriched” is both negative and positive in this case: for every great character added to the pantheon of space heroes, a dozen plot holes popped up due to sloppy writing or contradictions with other storylines. This, of course, is the danger of such an expanded setting: once you give the reins to other authors, you don’t know what they will do to your creation. That must be a scary feeling, but one should also not forget that new people bring in new ideas.

I’m not saying the Potter franchise will die anytime soon, but I feel like the world of Hogwarts could use some fresh ideas. I mean, there’s a lot to work with, it just needs some fleshing out! How about a somewhat darker series of stories about Snape’s youth, where we see his lonely moments in Hogwarts, his initiation into the Death-Eaters and his torn psyche? Heck, we already know a lot about Snape, so why not pick something up that has only been mentioned passingly. Murf mentioned over on Twitter how a story about dragon-wrangling in Romania would be damn sweet. What’s a job like that like? How do you hide dragon hunts from mortal eyes? Who would take up such a job? It would be like Deadliest Catch, broadcasted in a pub in Diagon Alley!

As said, I can understand Rowling’s caution with handing over control of her universe to other writers, but I really feel she’s missing chances here. If a set of photo manips by a talented git from the Internet can get fans hyped about the possibilities of an alternate timeline, imagine what would happen when Rowling announces a mini-series about such a “what if”- scenario?

Trust me, even a Silencing Charm couldn’t calm the fandom then.

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3 comments

  1. You do know that we have a couple of the schoolbooks from Hogwarts IRL? And that there`s going to be a movie based on those books? And that there`s talk of a theatre play? Plus there`s Pottermore?

    If you think JKR is sticking to only the 7 main books, then you need to do better research :p

    The movie I mention here is exactly what you want, apparently. It`s based on Newt Scamander, who is the “author” of Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them, which is entirely about all the strange magical creatures they have running around in the wizarding world.

    ‘Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for 17 years, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world.
    ‘The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, 70 years before Harry’s gets under way.’

    Having the setting 70 years earlier, may also mean that we get more of young!Dumbledore and his battles with Grindelwald, who was the Big Evil before Voldemort.

    Yes, JKR is protective of her world, and she controls every single thing about it, but that`s not necessarily a bad thing nor does it mean that there is NO expanding whatsoever.

    (here`s some information about the theater play: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/jk-rowling-developing-harry-potter-667178
    And here`s a link to information about both the play and the new movie: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/news/harry-potter-headed-for-west-end-in-new-play-produced-by-jk-rowling-9017736.html )

    1. Thanks for the info, and this is exactly what Rowling needs to do even more. However, she should also be willing to trust other authors and artists with her license. It’s one thing to trust a movie director to translate your book to the big screens, but a completely other one to have someone else write a novel in your world. The interesting facet of the latter is to see what someone else would do with your creation. I bet Neil Gaiman could write a thrilling story dragon-wrangling in Romania…

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