Nothing’s sacred in today’s quick-buck culture, and it turns out that Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling isn’t exempt from this plague. Publishers confirmed three collections of short stories that take Harry Potter fans deep into the world of wizardry and reveal a “dark side” of the Hogwarts saga.
In these soon-to-be-released stories, Rowling unveils some surprises and interesting details about the lives of several different characters in the Harry Potter series. Each of the upcoming books is said to be roughly 10,000 words and will be presented by Pottermore, an interactive website Rowling created for fans of Harry Potter. The trio of new stories will be available on the Pottermore website as well as through digital booksellers starting September 6.
“Pottermore Presents is intended to supplement the Harry Potter book series with short-form content that is entertaining and thematically curated by the Pottermore editorial team,” Pottermore CEO Susan Jurevics said in a statement to Time.
Within these upcoming books, the first, entitled Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, is said to reveal the history of Azkaban prison, the truth about the awful Professor Umbridge, and how Horace Slughorn met Voldemort. The second, Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, is said to focus on werewolf Remus Lupin and Hogwarts transfiguration teacher Minerva McGonagall, while the third installment, Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, takes readers behind the scenes of Hogwarts and provides some insight into the Hogwarts ghosts, as well as detailing what happens when the Sorting Hat can’t make up his mind.
Despite the fact that the final Harry Potter book was published in 2007 and the final film in the feature franchise hit theaters in 2011, apparently seven books, a stage play, three theme park attractions, and a trilogy of Fantastic Beasts movies set in the same universe aren’t enough for Rowling. It’s hard to fault the creator of such a widely lauded series for returning to the Harry Potter well, but at some point, the motive goes beyond the realm of creativity and veers toward greed.
Even the most devoted of followers were somewhat disappointed by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and called it amateurish due to the plot holes and fan fiction-y elements it featured. And more still lamented the fact that this stage play written by Jack Thorne was passed off as the eighth installment to the Harry Potter series by Rowling herself.
Now, it’s hard not to at least raise an eyebrow at the anticipated timing of these releases just prior to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is Rowling’s first screenplay credit and takes place 100 years before the first Harry Potter book. Clearly, the motivation has to be questioned when the sanctity of Harry Potter is at stake. Even Rowling’s creativity and willingness to share her knowledge of her wonderful wizarding world cannot be convenient enough to coincide with the release of these potential moneymakers that perfectly.
But these later additions to series with the sole intent to cash in on previous success have become commonplace by now. With Harper Lee having already opened the door with her To Kill a Mockingbird sequel (or prequel perhaps) Go Set a Watchman a year ago, this latest news for Rowling’s Harry Potter saga should surprise approximately no one.
While Potterheads will undoubtedly be overjoyed to fork over the $3 for each of the three new ebooks, it seems high time to question the need for revisiting already vested stories like these. But only when consumers stop consuming will efforts such as the new Harry Potter collections cease to pop up, so it seems as if a seismic cultural shift will be necessary to facilitate such an event.
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