I remember watching the credits roll after the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and thinking, this is it. I was sure that I would never again feel the joy of new Harry Potter material. The movies were over. The last book had been out for ages. Eleven years of obsession and this was ostensibly the end.
Except it wasn’t. Because soon after came the release of Pottermore, with its tidbits of sometimes fascinating, sometimes entertaining, and sometimes heart-wrenching information. Every time new chapters were released, the fandom came back to life to dissect everything we were given. Sure, the releases were too far apart and the tidbits were never enough, but we kept going back for more nonetheless.
With the releases of the Fantastic Beasts movie and The Cursed Child imminent, some fans are nervous. After all, for so many of us, these books are sacred. But I’m choosing to be optimistic. And it’s not just because every new trailer for Fantastic Beasts or every new photo for Cursed Child makes me want to happy cry. Harry Potter is what introduced me to the concept of fandom, to the idea that a community of fans doesn’t need to be limited to a single club of people you know but can stretch across the world thanks to the internet. And seeing how excited so many others are, well, the feeling is catching. Because, from where I stand, it’s that joy that is most important. New material doesn’t cheapen the books —in fact it can illuminate some of the dark corners. After the release of Deathly Hallows, I scoured the internet for interviews where Rowling would tell us what happened next. The epilogue wasn’t enough for me. In my daze of post-Potter depression, I was thrilled to learn that Harry had fulfilled his dream of becoming an auror and that Hermione had gone into magical law. I smiled at the idea of Luna Lovegood traveling the world with her husband as wizarding naturalists. I was happy that my favorite characters were happy. And most of all, I loved knowing that Rowling cared enough to think past the end of the books—and to share her conclusions with her fans.
I’m always hungry for more information. I know I’m not alone in that. There have been some missteps (History of Magic in North America, to name a big one), but there have also been some wonders (who didn’t cry reading the Remus Lupin bio on Pottermore?). And, more than that, I love that Rowling is engaging with new formats. I was generally underwhelmed by 90% of the writing in the Harry Potter movies, so I can’t wait to see how Rowling handles penning a screenplay herself. As for Cursed Child, I’d probably be excited for a continuation in any format, but more importantly, the play has allowed for some awesome casting choices, as well as a whole new story that I never thought we’d be lucky enough to get. I have high hopes that a filmed version will be released so that everyone will have a chance to experience the play visually, as well as through the script.
These new releases keep the Potter fire alive in a way it hasn’t been since the movies ended. That’s not to say that the books wouldn’t have gone on to bring magic into people’s lives forever, but the excitement was undeniably plateauing. Now, between the theme parks, the Fantastic Beasts movies, the play, and the intermittent stream of new information, people have dozens of ways to engage with the series, which means new readers who may have been too young to enjoy Potter the first time around. After all, Disney’s promise to continue releasing Star Wars movies basically forever has brought in a whole new generation of fans (particularly little girls who really love Rey). And, for the rest of us, this will be the first time we’ll ever get to go into a Potter-verse movie without knowing what to expect, which has it’s own thrill.
If I’m confident about anything, it’s that J.K. Rowling isn’t doing this for the money. We all know that she doesn’t need it. The Wizarding World is her sandbox and, in the end, I think she simply has more stories to tell. And as long as there are people out there craving them—myself included, probably forever—she will keep giving them to us. Because it clearly makes her happy to write them and it certainly makes me happy to read them.