Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Let's Talk About Books | Harry Potter

As a twenty-one year old I'm one of those lucky people who was able to grow up as part of the Harry Potter generation. I grew as Harry grew and, just like they are for many people all around the world, those books were a comfort to me when I needed them most. I discovered Harry when the first film came out, for some reason the books had never appealed to me when I saw them on the shelves, and as soon as I realised it was a series about a magical boarding school I was all over it.
     It just so happened that when the first film came out I had just moved house and school for the fourth time. Unlike the other times we had moved I was now old enough to really miss my old house and my old school and all of my friends. I moved from the beautiful, warm countryside of Somerset to the freezing cold, grey winters of North Yorkshire and I was unbelievably alone. I didn't want to have to make new friends or get used to a new bedroom, I wanted my old friends and my old bedroom but as I was only ten years old I could hardly move away on my own. So for me Harry was a friend; a friend who, like me, had to start a new school in a completely new world to the one he was used to. He was a comfort at a time that I needed comforting most.
     As sad as it sounds over the next ten years I pretty much based my calender around when the next Harry Potter film was coming out and I devoured each book. I adored the characters, the story and the school. Obviously after a while North Yorkshire became home for me - it is, after all, where I was born in the first place - but I never gave up Harry or Hermione or Ron. Harry Potter is, and will always be, a huge part of me.
     It may surprise some of you, then, that I'd be very disappointed if J.K. Rowling one day announced that she was planning on writing a sequel to the series. Would I read it if she did? Most likely, yes. Would I enjoy it? To some extent I probably would, yes. Would I like to know more about Harry's adventures as an auror and the adventures of his children at Hogwarts? Yes, of course I would, but I also like to imagine that future for myself. Not to mention there is a thing called fanfiction, and there are some amazing fanfiction writers out there.
     My main issue with a Harry Potter sequel would be that, no matter how fun the characters were or how interesting the plot, it would never even come close to its predecessor. Albus Potter seems cute enough in the epilogue, but how could he ever rival his father as a protagonist? Ultimately, no matter what trials he might face, his life will never be as bad as his father's. That's not to say that a protagonist has to have a tragic backstory to be a good protagonist, but it does bring me to another point: the villain.
     After Voldemort who could possibly be an impressive enough threat to the wizarding world? The biggest evil to threaten the wizarding world has already been defeated and no matter what might happen I highly doubt that anyone or anything will ever be as bad as Voldemort. Every story needs a good villain just as much as it needs a good protagonist - sometimes we can overlook this if the protagonist and secondary characters are particularly fantastic - and a new Harry Potter villain would be just as devastatingly disappointing as the villain in The Hunchback of Notre Dame II; a villain who couldn't possibly match up to the wickedness we saw in Frollo during the first film. That, however, is for another talk; I could rant about Disney sequels for hours.
     If J.K. Rowling ever really felt the urge to return to the wizarding world and felt she could write something just as wonderful as the Harry Potter series I'd rather see a prequel than a sequel. I don't mean a book about Harry's parents because as far as I'm concerned there's no point; we already know what becomes of each of the Marauders. Instead I'd love to see her go far, far back to the creation of Hogwarts. Even though, again, we already know what happens in regards to Salazar Slytherin I'd happily read a novel about the four founders. I'd love to see what happened to witches and wizards before they had a school - a safe haven - to go to.
     Ultimately, however, I'll happily re-read Harry's story for years. J.K. Rowling spun a beautiful tale of love, prejudice, war and loyalty through seven books and, no matter how much I might miss Harry's world, there's nothing stopping me from re-visiting Hogwarts with all the characters who took me there in the first place. No sequel or prequel necessary.
     Thanks for reading! J.

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