Since J.K. Rowling wrapped up “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” in 2007, she hasn’t let the series go.
And though many of her fans wish she’d just leave the series alone, Rowling’s frequent tinkering with the “Harry Potter” universe is only making it better.
Just months after the final book was released, she told us that Albus Dumbledore was gay. It sent tremors across the fanverse. We knew that J.K. Rowling had untold piles of notes and ideas about every goblin and ghost in the “Harry Potter” universe, but could she still reveal things from — or add things to — the canon once the series was over?
It was just the beginning.
Next came Pottermore, a sort of interactive web game that also fulfilled the rumour that Rowling would release an encyclopedia of everything in the “Harry Potter” universe. Since then, Pottermore has grown, turning into a hub for additional Rowling-written material. It has everything from tiny details, to in-depth profiles of characters with fresh backstories, to a whole new short story about American wizardry that raises even more questions about the magical universe. This September, Rowling will even publish three “Pottermore Presents” ebooks, collecting the site’s information and adding new stories.
After Pottermore, the floodgates were open. Rowling co-created a play, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” about what happens 19 years after the end of the original series and debuted on Harry’s birthday, July 31, 2016. A lot of “Harry Potter” fans don’t like it.
She’s also writing a trilogy of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” screenplays about the adventures of Newt Scamander, a minor character in the “Harry Potter” series. The first movie comes out in November.
The deluge of new information has exhausted people. Telling J.K. Rowling to shut up is a subgenre of the think piece now. The Atlantic, Slate, the New York Post, the Boston Globe, Time, the Sydney Morning Herald, Elle, and thousands of people have asked Rowling to please just give it a rest.
*jk rowling wakes up* what’s today’s tweet *spins large bingo cage* hagrid… is… pansexual and… he later joined isis
— brian feldman (@bafeldman) June 8, 2015
I used to agree. I know a lot of random Harry Potter trivia, and I’m proud of it. But Rowling’s additional information became mildly annoying. If I don’t care that Hesphaestus Gore’s tenure as the Minister for Magic between 1752 and 1770 has a mixed record among magical historians, am I not a true Harry Potter fan?
But who are we to criticise J.K. Rowling for doing what she loves? It’s literally her world — she created everything form Harry to Hogwarts. She can do whatever she wants. Rowling’s former Twitter cover image says it best.
And once you’ve mastered the original material and talked about it to death, it’s fun to get new information. It repositions aspects of the original series. Now that we know Dumbledore is gay, his friendship with Gellert Grindelwald is totally different. And knowing that a descendant of Salazar Slytherin escaped to America and started a new wizarding school further complicates the Slytherin legacy.
The way Rowling reveals the information also makes it fun. It unfolds kind of like the news cycle, in bits and pieces that dominate a certain sector of cultural conversation. The “Harry Potter” universe is just so comprehensive, it’s almost like we’re getting news reports. It’s a fun distraction to take part in that conversation instead of discussing whatever Donald Trump just tweeted.
As we’ve found out, all of Rowling’s trivia has become a bridge to bigger, newer projects. I enjoy her “Cormoran Strike” novels, which she writes under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, but they aren’t as fun as her magical world. If years of tweeting about who she regrets killing at the Battle of Hogwarts is a way of keeping “Harry Potter” fans engaged until she comes out with a grand and enchanting “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” movie, then it will have all been worth it.
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