Though players lack the ability to fly around on their brooms, their enthusiasm for Quidditch, the sports game enjoyed by Harry Potter and his Hogwarts’ friends, appears to be no less diminished, if the reasonably popular “Muggle” version of the game is anything to go by.
Some 2,000 chipper, ethnically diverse, and not wholly fit competitors, mostly high school and college students, mill around the bleachers, the Porta-Potties, the team tent area. The line for the waffle cart stretches nearly to the East River. One infield retailer does a brisk business selling championship lapel pins, while another is on its way to liquidating the Quidditch players’ “broom of choice,” according to the brochure, a $55 handmade model dubbed the Shadow Chaser. Everywhere there are fans – dads wearing shirts that read PROUD PARENT OF A MCGILL QUIDDITCH PLAYER, alongside teens in capes and the crimson-and-gold scarves of Hogwarts. Only five years old, this grand tournathaddment of nonfantasy Quidditch will draw some 10,000 paying spectators. A Fox newscaster once called it “a cross between the Super Bowl and a medieval fair.”
Surviving Death Eaters will have to be brought to justice or reintegrated into magical society. Long-standing rifts among magical communities that the war widened must be healed. Most of all, we must ensure that the values that triumphed in the final battle – tolerance, pluralism, and respect for the dignity of all magical and non-magical creatures alike – are reflected in the institutions and arrangements that emerge from the conflict. What ultimately matters is not just whether something evil was defeated, but whether something good is built in its place.
Could such a situation provide material for an Expanded Universe series of stories, as we’ve seen with the likes of “Star Trek” and “Star Wars”?
In Hermione, Joanne Rowling undermines all of the cliches that we have come to expect in our mythic heroes. It’s easy to imagine Hermione’s origin story as some warmed-over Star Wars claptrap, with tragically missing parents and unsatisfying parental substitutes and a realization that she belongs to a hidden order, with wondrous (and unsettlingly genetic) gifts. But, no: Hermione’s normal parents are her normal parents. She just so happens to be gifted. Being special, Rowling tells us, isn’t about where you come from; it’s about what you can do, if you put your mind to it. And what Hermione can do, when she puts her mind to it, is magic.
An illustrated, comic book style, summary of the Harry Potter saga, by Lucy Knisley (warning: contains spoilers… for those who haven’t read the books, and are yet to see the final film in the series, that is).
And even at Hogwarts, while they learn about spells and potions, they completely neglect the fundamentals. They are made to write essays on the history of magic, but are never taught to write. They take Arithmancy, but never learn mathematics.
I’m no expert on matters in the Harry Potter universe, but I’ve always seen Hogwarts as an institution that is along the lines of say the Newtown High School of the Performing Arts here in Sydney, a high school, that while specialising in the study of the arts, also tutors students in the usual school curriculum subjects.
Can we adjust to life in a world that will not see any more new Harry Potter books published? In other words should JK Rowling, creator of the saga, pen an eighth addition to the series?
British novelist Naomi Alderman believes a new book would not be a good idea:
I understand the temptation to revisit old triumphs. It feels dangerous to step away from ground where you know you’ve been successful. Imagine if you wrote something that wasn’t quite as good! Or something that didn’t capture the imagination in quite the same way. Well, what then? Creators all know that the most dangerous thing isn’t to try and fail, it’s to stagnate. Maybe not every new world or new set of stories you make will enjoy the huge success of Harry Potter – but a worse fate would be to keep on ploughing the same old furrow, not able to try anything new.
On the other hand, children’s fiction writer Frank Cottrell Boyce doesn’t think the prospect is all that bad:
It may seem a strange thing to say, given the unprecedented sales and the generation-defining excitement her books generated, but I think JK Rowling is vastly underrated. The scale of her success means that it’s unfair trying to compare Harry Potter to any other book series. Even the most popular writer can usually find somewhere quiet to think about what happens next. Rowling wrote the last five Harry Potter books right in the middle of the Potter phenomenon, with fans and the media second guessing her next move everywhere she looked. It’s hard enough to come up with something. To come with something that no one else has come up with – that’s formidable.
I’m hardy the most dedicated Harry Potter fan so sitting in a packed cinema among people that clearly were, was half the fun of seeing the sixth movie in the series, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince.
Fans variously clapped, cooed, and cheered, in support of their on-screen heroes and heroines as proceedings unfolded.
This however is probably the first HP movie I’ve seen (out of four) where there was more reliance on (good old fashioned) cinematography and acting to tell the story, rather than the overload of special effects which have featured previously.