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.