There is no denying what a complete and utter phenomenon J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter is. To quote Minerva McGonagall, “This boy will be famous. There won’t be a child in our world who doesn’t know his name.”
She wasn’t wrong. Originally published in 1997, twenty-one years ago, the series has since spawned seven books and eight films. The books have sold over 400 million copies worldwide, having been translated into 68 different languages. That’s not to mention Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the play that is still storming London since it opened in 2016. What’s more is the Warner Bros. Studios Tour in London, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the endless amount of sweets, gifts and merchandise available for the avid Harry Potter fan. The most recent thing to spawn out of the Harry Potter franchise, however, is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is set to be a five-part series of films based on the character Newt Scamander.
But when is it time to say enough? Although The Cursed Child is supposedly an on-stage work of technical genius (and it ought to be worth the £160 they’re charging for a ticket), Harry Potter fans reacted differently when faced with the script in front of them. It’s true, the Cursed Child’s unbelievable plots are actually a little too unbelievable — and the characters feel like a pale imitation of those from the novels. And although J.K. Rowling didn’t write this, she helped create the idea with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, which means somewhere along the line she undoubtedly must have gone, “Yes, this is a great idea.”
Although the first Fantastic Beasts film did well, the newest release, The Crimes of Grindelwald is dividing opinions. With just a rating of 40% by Rotten Tomatoes, the negative reviews which flag up of plot holes and controversial twists, and the fact that this may all just be a “cash grab”, can it be said that the latest spinoff isn’t as magical as we’re used to? Should Rowling really be continuing to add to a series that had come to a natural end with the final Harry Potter book?
My answer is yes. There is no denying that Harry Potter is a universal phenomenon that has touched so many lives, be that children or adults — and if it continues to touch lives, why is that such a bad thing? Every writer dreams of their writing taking off to even half of the extent that the Harry Potter universe has. Most novels don’t even amount to one film, and yet J.K. Rowling has what will amount to a grand total of 13. And why stop there, when there are so many stories to tell inside the universe? If Rowling continues to enjoy writing it, and her fans are still enjoying it, why stop there? Films are made to be enjoyed. The people who don’t want to watch them don’t have to – the people who want to will, and that’s all that counts.
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