Things that I think and do
Are you sitting down? Or at least near a weight-supporting structure? Because the HUMUNGOUS news has broken that J.K. Rowling is in the process of writing the eighth Harry Potter book.
Yes! It appears that Rowling isn’t content with the uncountable millions she’s earned from the series so far, and also isn’t content with the apparently less than satisfactory reviews of her foray into writing non-Harry Potter books.
Sadly, none of this is true – it was an April Fool’s joke by some scallywag who wanted to cause worldwide excitement and joy. I was duly fooled for about five minutes and then realised that this unspeakable cad published the rumour on the 1 April. It’s a bit of a shame really. Or is it?
I’m quite a fan of Harry Potter, I have to say. I don’t own any costumes or memorabilia or anything like that, but I loved the books and the bits of the films that didn’t involve Daniel Radcliffe trying to look either anguished or overjoyed. I also wangled a free trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour last summer and had an absolute whale of a time – if you haven’t been, definitely make it happen because it’s a fascinating and truly brilliant day out.
If Rowling were to dust off her laptop and get writing I’d mostly be curious to know where she’d go with an eighth book. What would she call it? Harry Potter and the Difficult Tax Return? Harry Potter and the Job Interview of Fire? Harry Potter and the Order of Jury Service?
Personally I was quite satisfied with the ending of the seventh book, although it did take me a couple of attempts to understand what the folk was going on. We’ve all been taken through seven years of this specky wizard kid’s life and at the end of it all our questions have been answered (except why every character apart from Harry has a vaguely ridiculous name) and most plot lines neatly closed.
Now that Harry’s left school and there isn’t an evil lunatic trying to kill him every year what could Rowling make him do that would be sufficiently interesting for the millions of fans who would undoubtedly devour the new book?
He probably managed to finish Hogwarts with a full education – conveniently, most of Voldemort’s attacks came towards the end of the year after exams, which I think is a very considerate touch – so presumably he’d apply for some graduate schemes or go travelling in Bali. Yet unless Harry Potter became some kind of ‘Superwizard’ character, saving the magical world every time a diabolical villain threatens it, it’s hard to imagine how the storyline could evolve.
I’m no literary expert, but I doubt that even J.K. herself could maintain the interest of teenagers across the country by writing about Harry’s everyday adult life.
“Harry’s broomstick broke down on the M25 near Heathrow the next morning, and so he walked into his office later than usual. He sat down at his desk to see an email from his best friend Ron Weasley, who had become a world-famous hair stylist, asking him if they were still going for a curry on Tuesday. Harry sighed as he remembered that his daughter’s school play was on Tuesday and that he’d have to sit through two hours of Wind in the Willows featuring a wizard toad and a stolen magic carpet instead of necking Butterbeer with Ron, watching the Quidditch highlights.
Can you imagine? Obviously I’m not J.K. Rowling and I would assume that she’d be able to write something rather more interesting (and imaginative) than that. I’m just struggling to think of what the plot could possibly involve. Would it be 400 pages of school Parent Evenings and Harry’s commute to work?
What’s slightly more saddening about this is the fact that Rowling seems to have only found great success with Harry Potter. That book she wrote before and released under a nom de plume was a bit of a winner, but largely because it came out that it was her that had written it and everyone had assumed her talents stretched beyond wizard youth fiction.
Her attempt at an “adult” novel, called A Casual Vacancy I believe, received mediocre reviews (by her standards of course – I’d be pretty happy if a book I wrote got three or four stars). In a way I’m glad she isn’t returning to Harry Potter – she’s undoubtedly a talented author, and Harry Potter is an amazing feat of fictional writing, but it seems a shame that she might have had to resort to retreating into the security of that whole magic and teen angst malarkey.
An eighth book would also mean an eighth – or rather, ninth – film, which would raise several issues. Primarily the actors would have to be changed; the three main characters were already looking distinctly older than seventeen in the last film. We could see the start of an impressive beard on Harry and none of them were anywhere near spotty enough.
Sad as it would be to no longer see Emma Watson running around with her perfectly coiffed hair determinedly gripping a wand, a new film adaptation would almost certainly need younger and therefore different actors. This would rather ruin the continuity in the fundamental aspect that Harry, Ron and Hermione would be different from the previous eight films. Although I would not raise any objection at all if Alan Rickman and possibly David Bowie were involved. And Rachel McAdams.
So there is to be no new Harry Potter, and on balance that’s a good thing. The next couple of years will see Disney’s attempt to create a seventh Star Wars film, however, and I’m really not sure how I feel about that.
Like Harry Potter, the series has come full circle and the important questions have been resolved – except those of how Hayden Christiansen got his part in the last two films and why Ewan MacGregor had to have quite so ridiculous facial hair. It’s been confirmed that R2-D2 is involved (he kept fuelling those rumours in his press conferences, the cunning little guy) but one charming droid does not an epic film make.
How can they follow a saga that ends with the eternal destruction of evil, a bloody huge explosion and a party with hundreds of small bears? Luke Skywalker is the only Jedi in the ENTIRE GALAXY and there’s no malevolent cloaked figure with a breathing disorder to vanquish. I’m highly sceptical. They’d just better not include Mickey bloody Mouse anywhere.