The Awakening of the Harry Potter Fandom

Madelyn Wong, Editor

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In the summer of 2011, Harry Potter fans across the world mourned. Deathly Hallows Part 2 marked the end of the beloved wizarding era. As years went by, the fanbase grew quieter until the magical franchise nearly slipped out of pop culture entirely.

This month, however, the Harry Potter fandom revived. On September 12, 2013, Warner Bros. announced that they have made plans for another movie in the world of wizardry. And who is the mysterious wizard behind the script? None other than series author J.K. Rowling herself.

That’s right, despite many claims that she was unlikely to reopen her fictional universe, Rowling has agreed to pin her possible future as a screenwriter on this project.

“I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea that I was really excited about and this is it,” Rowling explains in her official statement.

The premise for the new movie is inspired by the companion book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which was originally released as a charity event. Warner Bros. and Rowling plan to center the plot on the fictional author of the textbook, Newt Scamander. Rowling asserts that the movie is neither a prequel nor a sequel to Harry Potter’s journey; instead, it is another look at her magical world. The new Scamander’s adventure will begin seventy years earlier in New York. This will set Fantastic Beasts right at the height of the 1920s.

Fans are abuzz with this new development, particularly right here in Madison, Alabama. Many of our own Bob Jones students are thrilled by this step away from the original series.

“There are so many opinions that no one would’ve been completely happy with a prequel or sequel,” sophomore Kayla Buckalew points out. “I really like this idea of getting a further glimpse into […] this world she’s spent so much time creating.”

Junior Madi Harrold seems to agree. “Who can ever get tired of the 1920s? Not only is it the Jazz Age and the reinvention of the woman, but now it has the magic and awe of the wizarding world.”

Others are more wary about the new turn taken by the franchise.

“I just don’t know about if it’ll have as good of a storyline [as the original series],” senior Zach Perry criticizes. “But I would like to see how American wizarding communities work. Especially the schools.”

Fans like Abigail Nichols, also a senior, are conflicted about the way the 1920s have been twisted. She uses the recent The Great Gatsby adaptation as an example; the movie pushed the time period too much with heavy bass beats, prominent skin-showing, and even twerking.

“If [Warner Bros. and Rowling] do it legit— like the real ’20s were and just a little modern touch, I’ll be very happy,” Abigail offers.

Of course, there are also students who are sick of the Harry Potter universe entirely.

“It’s just an over-extended franchise,” argued one junior. “It just needs to end already.” One underclassman claimed that she would never read the movies or watch the books, because witchcraft is against her religion.

Both students have requested to remain anonymous. When asked why, they half-jokingly explained that they didn’t want the fans coming after them— a legitimate concern. For as many students that are determined to avoid the new movie, it seems that there are twice as many dedicated fans already enamored by it.

“I don’t care if the new movie is about paint drying at Hogwarts,” laughs senior Hannah Forrest. “I’m definitely going to see it no matter what.”

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