In the fall Harry Potter fans received a huge surprise – their wish for a new development in Harry’s magical world was answered. Warner Brothers, the studio that created all eight films in the original series, announced plans to create a new movie that would take place in the fictional world of wizardry, with a possibility that the film will be the start of a series. Better yet, the script will be written by original Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
The movie will be based on “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” a Harry Potter series spinoff. Rowling said that the movie will be “neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world.” An added bonus for American fans: The movie will be set in 1920s New York.
Potterheads have survived for more than two years without any new material, so news of the movie has been very well-received. However, Rowling has been given no deadline to finish writing the script, so a release date is nowhere in sight. Fans have made it this long, but this announcement may make Hogwarts withdrawal even more challenging. So what can you do to endure the wait?
Fans are always wishing for one thing – more books in the series. Sadly, it doesn’t look like that will be happening anytime soon. However, there are more than enough books reminiscent of Harry Potter to last fans well past the movie’s premiere, no matter when that might be.
To start, if you’ve missed out on any of the many fantasy-series-turned-movies, such as “The Hunger Games,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “The Lord of the Rings,” “Percy Jackson” and the soon-to-be-movie “Divergent,” now is the time to read them. If you think they might be overrated, remember that you never would pass over Harry Potter for its popularity.
Christopher Paolini’s first book in his Inheritance Cycle, “Eragon,” also was adapted into a movie, but it never quite reached the fame of similar action-fantasy series. To be blunt, the movie was a failure. However, the books are far from a flop. The story centers on Eragon, a boy who finds himself in a world of magic when he finds an egg that hatches into a dragon. The four-book series details the adventures of Eragon and his dragon. Potter fans will find similarities between the series and Harry’s magical experiences.
“The Mysterious Benedict Society” by Trenton Lee Stewart features the story of four extremely gifted children. But unlike Harry and his friends, they are blessed with extraordinary brainpower rather than magic. They are sent to investigate an academy for similarly gifted people that has been transmitting cryptic messages through a secret TV signal. The children use their unique strengths to solve mind-bending puzzles and discover the source and meaning of the messages. The story continues throughout two sequels and a prequel, and it also includes a perplexing book of brain teasers similar to the ones the children are solving throughout the books.
“The Magicians” and its sequel “The Magician King” by Lev Grossman are probably some of the most similar books to the Harry Potter series since they both feature the theme of average characters whose lives get turned around when they realize magic exists and are suddenly accepted into school to learn it. But despite their extremely similar subjects, the two series are not the same by any means. As a New York Times review put it, the books could be “labeled as a Harry Potter for adults”; they are not intended to be children’s books. Instead, they contain more mature themes that are better suited for older readers who want a step up from Harry Potter.
Ever want to know more about how the Harry Potter series became what it is today? “Harry, A History” by Melissa Anelli is one of many nonfiction books dedicated to the subject. With a foreword by Rowling, it is one of the best books available on the series’ history. The book covers the worldwide domination of the series, from its conception, publication and rise in popularity. Anelli has been more than a fan since the books’ beginnings; she runs the Leaky Cauldron website and has had a front-row seat to the Harry Potter action. “Harry, A History” makes fans feel as if they took every step of the journey with Anelli and Rowling. This book provides an inside look at just how the amazing series became what it is today.
The ultimate list of books for Harry Potter fans is in a book itself. In writing the series, Rowling drew inspiration from many different authors and works of literature: Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma,” the gothic “Dracula,” fantasy authors such as C.S. Lewis and many others. “Harry Potter’s Bookshelf” by John Granger shows how Rowling wove all of these classic works together to create one astonishingly popular series. Granger also has written several other Potter-themed nonfiction books, though this is one of his best.
Though it may be a while, these books will help tide you over until the eventual release of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Of course, no books will ever replace Harry Potter, but hopefully these ones will help fill the gap. So grab one, curl up with some Butterbeer and enjoy.
Kathryn Krawczyk is a senior at Lockport High School.