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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Harry Potter-verse stories we'd like to see

The saga of Harry Potter is, at last, finished. And let me state this from the outset: I do not have any great desire to see another novel about Harry Potter as a character.

But ever since reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, my mind has been reeling with wonder. J.K. Rowling tied up all the threads throughout seven novels by the end of that book. But whether she wanted to or not, she also sowed the seeds for a lot of further stories from the Potter-verse. She's been doing that from the very beginning but Deathly Hallows somehow maddened the lust to know more about the world that Harry lives in.

Well, Rowling has said something about eventually writing a comprehensive Harry Potter "encyclopedia" that will go a long way to fleshing-out the Wizarding world and its history. And maybe a book about Neville Longbottom that would be sold for charitable causes. But I think there are some fascinating possibilities for more narrative fiction from the world of Harry Potter, with stories that are begging to be told at some point...

- The First War: We've always heard about how bad it was, but we know hardly anything about what happened in the Wizarding world between 1970 and 1981, when Voldemort and his army was tearing everything apart. It's been said that World War II was just a continuation of World War I, with a period of time in between to rest and reload. That's partly why this would be a fascinating read because it was while reading the third Harry Potter book, Prisoner of Azkaban, that I realized that Harry and his generation were being used to fight a proxy war by those that came before, until the young ones grew into their own. Maybe with a rich account of the First War, we can finally get to see a place that I've always wanted to see depicted in the Harry Potter books: the wizard prison of Azkaban. This book should end just when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone begins: in the aftermath of October 31st, 1981.

- Full-length novel about Dumbledore and Grindelwald: The "Obi-Wan Versus Anakin Duel" of the Harry Potter saga, that until we get to "see" it is going to become just as legendary an exercise in imagination. This story deserves a book all to itself as much as the First War does. We know from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald were once friends in youth, who came to share (for the Dumbledore we came to know and love anyway) some very disturbing dreams. The two eventually split, before Grindelwald was defeated by Dumbledore in 1945 (ever since this was mentioned in the first book, some have wondered if this date implies that Grindelwald had something to do with Nazi Germany). A book about Dumbledore and Grindelwald might not only give us a close look at the early years between the two wizards, but also what happened in the World War II years at Hogwarts when Dumbledore was at first reluctant to confront his former friend.

- Hogwarts: The Early Years: Sometime in the late 900s A.D., four of the greatest sorcerers of that age established an academy of magic somewhere north on the isle of Britain. The alliance between Godric Gryffindor, Rowena Ravenclaw, Helga Hufflepuff, and Salazar Slytherin – and their eventual falling-out – would carry ramifications that would rock the Wizarding world for the next one thousand years. I'd love to see this story laid out somehow, especially how Slytherin ended up creating the Chamber of Secrets.

- How the magic and non-magic worlds separated: At some point, those who could work real magic decided the time had come to live apart from the Muggles (non-magic folk in the Harry Potter books). The result, in my mind anyway, was that there were two very real realms that grew and evolved in parallel to each other, but with radically different underpinnings: the Muggles rely on technology and science, while the Wizarding people use magic and other forces of nature that mystify us Muggles as much as Arthur Weasley is captivated by ordinary batteries and electrical plugs. This splitting-away might be a fun thing to see, especially with how the Wizarding community ended up with a government so much like Muggle bureaucracy.

- The story of Dean Thomas: J.K. Rowling has hinted a number of times that Harry's fellow Gryffindor classmate Dean Thomas has a much more interesting background than we've yet be let in on. I will admit that he hasn't felt to be much more than a secondary character but his role in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows did pique my curiosity about him quite a bit.

- A Marvels-style glimpse of the Wizard world from the viewpoint of a Muggle: In 1993, Kurt Busiek wrote a graphic novel for Marvel Comics called Marvels. Beautifully and realistically illustrated by Alex Ross, it was the story of the events of the Marvel Universe as witnessed by an average "man on the street". Well, what if a British Muggle had managed to witness every major event of the Wizarding world that had happened between World War II and 1998 – from Grindelwald's possible involvement with the Nazis to the destruction wrecked by Voldemort's forces throughout England. And what if that Muggle had somehow been "missed" by the Ministry of Magic's squad of Obliviators, so that he/she not only saw these things... but remembered it all as well?

- Hagrid's biography: Hagrid is, shall we say, one of the more interesting characters in the Harry Potter saga. I'd love to see more about him, especially his life after getting expelled from Hogwarts.

Those are just the ones that came most immediately to mind during the past week. What else could we see turned into more stories from the world of Harry Potter? :-)


Anonymous said...

How about a story about how the Wizarding World works in North America? I'd love to see an Appalachian version of Hogwart's, with an emphasis on folk magic. Perhaps Manley Wade Wellman's John the Balladeer is a professor there...

Anonymous said...

You should write Jk and tell her your ideas. They would be great to hear about.