Top 10 reasons to get behind the Harry Potter spin-off
#10 – It’s An Exercise in World Building
This is far from the first time an author has written more about a fictional world they spent years creating. The wizarding world is Rowling’s Culture, her Middle Earth, her Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away. It’s full of people and places she has a right to discover and share and, crucially, other people want to hear about.
#9 – There’s a World Beyond Hogwarts
One of the criticisms levelled at Rowling re: Harry Potter is that it was all so insular. What about the rest of the world, the dissatisfied rabble cried, everything’s not about the British! Well, now you’re going to find out, aren’t you, so you can shut up about it.
#8 – It’s Not About Harry
The one thing Harry wanted all along was a normal life with a normal family. At the end of Deathly Hallows he got that, and now he deserves to be left well alone. Which Rowling has he send to do.
#7 – It’s Her Mother Flippin’ Job, Mother Flippers
Rowling has said in interviews (which can’t find right now because I’m writing this on my phone while waiting to watch a David Sedaris recording at the BBC) that she believes in working. That she wants to demonstrate the value of it to her children. That she has no intention of twiddling her thumbs while thousand pound notes flow down her moneyfall. And now that she can financially do whatever work she wants, she’s continuing to write, presumably because it makes her happy, and people still want her to.
#6 – Just, Like, Don’t Be A Hater
There’s a culture that I’ve often bought into of ripping into our old heroes, simply because they still do what we used to love them for. “Why does Paul McCartney think he’s still allowed to play guitar?” “Why would Arnie do another Terminator movie?” “Why is my greengrocer selling cabbages when that’s what he did last week?” It’s mean spirited, and worse, it’s illogical. Why wouldn’t they do those things? If you don’t want to see them, don’t go, but don’t assume no one else wants to. I love JK Rowling, and even the mediocrity of The Cuckoo’s Calling can’t stop me.
#5 – Other People Want To See Them
I know, I know; we’ve just been burned too often before. We’ve seen stories we love revived, and they’ve returned as maggot-ridden zombies that want to suck our souls. But not everyone has been made so cynical. Some people still have hope. And who are you to say their hope is folly?
#4 – Just, Monsters, Right?
There are so many cool creatures that pop up briefly in the Harry Potter books. Nifflers, and pixies, and a variety of dragons. I for one want to see more of these magical weirdos, and I don’t care who knows it.
#3 – Do You Even Know What It’s About?
I’m sorry, I’m so rude; I’ve been writing this under the assumption that you’re all giant nerds like me. But maybe you haven’t read the book this film’ll be based on. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (great title) is mentioned in the books as one of a Harry’s textbooks. So JK Rowling wrote a (presumably much abridged) version of it so sell as a fundraiser for Comic Relief. It’s a textbook written by a wizard ( who I picture as diminutive and balding because his name is Newt, I mean come on) who just went all over the world finding cool animals. There are literally dozens of reality shows about people who do just that, and they’re only after creatures that don’t have magical powers. Chumps.
#2 – Sorry, that’s NEWT SCAMANDER
How can you not want to know more about a guy with a name like that? I can picture him now, hunkering down outside his tiny brown tent, heating up soup in his billy can and writing notes with a battered quill, deep in the middle of a preternaturally dark and vast forest, knowing that somewhere nearby there’s a manticore cave.
#1 – There’s a Reason She’s Chosen This Story
JK Rowling literally has crates of backstory and subplot that didn’t make it into the books because they were obviously already long enough. (Again, no sources for you, for aforementioned reasons) There are stories about the parents of Harry’s friends, there’s more about Dumbledore, there’s an entire other wizarding war. But she’s decided that she wants to tell the story of a guy who wrote a textbook. This might be an act of faith, but we need those sometimes: I believe she’s made a deliberate and considered choice.
It may be a clunker. It may be Star Wars all over again. But it may be awesome, and we can at least wait for a trailer before we pass judgement. She made our lives magical; we owe her a little respect.