July 9, 2014
J.K. Rowling offers a glimpse at grown-up Harry Potter
by Nick Davies
Author J.K. Rowling threatened to strain the internet to full capacity this week, when she released a short story about her star character Harry Potter, set nearly twenty years after the events of her bestselling books. Met with great enthusiasm (naturally), the brief piece is available to registered users on the Potter content website Pottermore, and online as an exclusive from NBC’s “Today.”
Fans of the books will recognize the “author” of the story, Rita Skeeter, the relentless gossip columnist from the Potter books. It’s framed as an article about the Quidditch World Cup (canny timing, as is the release of the story the same day that Universal Studios’ Diagon Alley park opened for business).
The story offers updates on the lives of beloved characters—Harry works as an auror as he hoped for years, Ron helps manage his family’s joke shop, and Hermione is quickly rising through the ranks—in Skeeter’s familiar gossipy tone, which notes Ron’s thinning hair and posits, “Does Hermione Granger prove that a witch really can have it all? (No—look at her hair.)”
Given the serene, reserved nature of Harry Potter fandom, thoughtful Twitter responses like these were to be expected:
- “I’m a little offended that #HarryPotterIsBack is trending worldwide. Harry Potter never left. Harry Potter forever.”
- “i feel like i’ve been reborn. there’s new writing about harry potter”
- “Harry Potter’s marriage to Ginny is on the rocks because Rita Skeeter is the one reporting on it. Don’t trust tabloid journalism, muggles.”
Daniel Radcliffe, meanwhile, has other things on his mind, as Daniel Fienberg of HitFix.com noted yesterday, during the ongoing Television Critics Association press tour. Radcliffe was on hand via satellite to discuss his role in a TV adaptation of A Country Doctor’s Notebook, and while the reporters kept the questions relevant (or semi-relevant; it sounds like they mostly concerned the experiences of dancing with and bathing with Jon Hamm, and who can blame them for that) in the early going, talk inevitably turned to Harry Potter.
Radcliffe quickly put the kibosh on the notion that he’d reprise the role that made him famous, particularly for anything based on the 1,500-word story released yesterday: “It’s not even hypothetical at the moment. What she’s written, I haven’t read it yet. I am going to read it, but [it is], as I understand it, a very short piece that I’m not sure it, of itself, worthy of adaptation to film.”
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.