The Pottermore team recently announced the upcoming launch of a series of non-fiction eBook shorts called Harry Potter: A Journey Through….
The series is an adaptation of the Harry Potter: A History of Magic audiobook and one of the books, Harry Potter: A Journey Through Charms and Defence Against the Dark Arts, will be released today with the rest following a few months after. The other titles include Harry Potter: A Journey Through Potions and Herbology, Harry Potter: A Journey Through Divination and Astronomy, and Harry Potter: A Journey Through Care of Magical Creatures.
While the thought of diving deeper into curriculum-based, Hogwarts folklore is intriguing, there are character-based spin-offs that, if written or adapted onto the big screen, would enchant audiences for decades to come. I’m already on the hunt for a special cloak, wand, and stone just in case I need to stay alive a bit longer to see this dream come true.
Until then, here are some ideas for spinoff stories that Rowling and the team at Pottermore could bless us with in the form of longform texts and visual adaptations:
Dougal and Minerva in the summer of 1954: A whimsical, quirky romance about that time Professor McGonagall fell in love with a muggle during her first summer after graduating from Hogwarts? Yes, please. While their eventual engagement didn’t last due to Minerva’s fears of ending up in an unhappy marriage, the story leading up to the broken engagement could offer insight into more of who Minerva is. Her reasons for ending the engagement are heartbreaking and unfortunate, bringing that story to life would still be great for the sake of creative storytelling.
Rubeus’ Expulsion from Hogwarts and Return from Azkaban: Sure, we got a taste of this story in the Chamber of Secrets via HWMNBN’s diary. Imagine the events of that year told from the perspective of Hagrid, though. He must have missed Aragog so much and felt so betrayed by his school. Not to mention how terrified and abandoned he must have felt at Azkaban. Or maybe he felt numb and was dissociative. Either way, more Hagrid content is always welcome. This would be a great way to tell more of his story while also learning about the carceral apparatus in the Wizarding World.
Families of the Visitor’s Tea Room at St. Mungo’s: Hidden in the Purge and Dowse Ltd. department store is the hospital that is home to people who were seriously injured by spells and other magical experiences gone awry. Not only would it be awesome to see a scene depicting how to enter the hospital, it’d also be fascinating to see what’s going on in the Visitor’s Tea Room on the fifth floor. It would be a sea of lime green robes broken up by waves of spell-damaged and otherwise injured wizards. The Visitor’s Tea Room is where all patients and their families can relax, buy gifts, and mingle. Imagine a documentary about the hospital or a spotlight series on a few of the patients. Regardless of the specific focus of the story, more information about St. Mungo’s would be wonderful.
A Biography of Merope Gaunt (CW: Abuse): So, let’s talk about how Merope Gaunt-Riddle was a victim of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of her brother and father. While the way she got with her eventual husband was problematic AF, she is a perfect example of someone who needed mental health resources and support as someone recovering from years of trauma. When she’s left, alone, abandoned by her husband (who her abusive brother actually cursed because of how much she was infatuated with him…did I mention their family had a long history of inbreeding…I don’t even wanna go there right now), and pregnant. Finally she dies after giving birth, as a teenager, in an orphanage. Before her death, though, she was deprived of an education by her family and was self-taught in her craft. When she’s pregnant she sells her family’s prized possessions for cash while battling depression. (This is the part where you research how the stress of the gestational parent can negatively impact the fetus; for instance, predisposition for mental disorders after birth that can be exacerbated if the child is raised in poverty.) Her body was never found after death. Her child grows up in that orphanage, ignored and not given the care he needs, the care his circumstances required, and he becomes a mass murdering cult leader. Eventually he murders his father and uncle, the ones who abused his mother. Then the rest is history. Imagine that story on screen or written as an extended text?
Pre- and Post-War Quibbler Publication Changes: While many of us are still annoyed by Xenophilius Lovegood’s actions during the War, his history as the eccentric but loving father to Luna still captivates. Especially his work with the Quibbler. Forever on the hunt for the truth, Xenophilius offered readers of his tabloid the inside scoop on conspiracy theories and cryptozoology. From profiles of the Crumple-Horned Snorkack to an interview with Harry Potter about the return of Voldemort, the banned-by-Umbridge publication was unique in its commitment to delivering interesting news. During the Second Wizarding War, the Quibbler was one of few sources people could trust. A story about the evolution of the Quibbler, and its creator, would be fun.
Critical Race Theories of the Wizarding World: Is the Wizarding World living in a post-racial fantasy? I doubt it. But, even if they are, it’d be fascinating to find out how they got to be where they are in terms of race relations. The merging of so many different cultures, and the existence of concepts like “pure blood” suggest that issues related to race must come up in some way or another. A critical analysis of those issues, maybe in the form of a history book or spin-off story about Dean Thomas, would be a great way to explore the ways in which race impacts magical folks. Maybe there was a Black Student Union at Hogwarts!
The Adventures of Andromeda, Narcissa and Bellatrix After Slytherin: The Black sisters are a perfect case study for arguments about nature versus nurture. They were three sisters from a prominent, wealthy, pure blood family who were all sorted into Slytherin. Each of their stories took drastically different turns after leaving Hogwarts, though. A narrative that centered their respective journeys, and gave a bit more background on the Black family tree, would teach us more about what led each one to make the choices they’d ultimately make. We’d learn more about what led Bellatrix to Voldemort, Narcissa’s journey to motherhood, and Andromeda’s romance with a muggle-born wizard. It still pains me that Bellatrix killed Andromeda’s daughter, Nymphadora. May she Rest In Peace.
Surveillance Studies, Privacy Rights, and the Homonculous Charm: The Marauder’s Map was a brilliant creation. It was also a complete invasion of privacy. Imagine a story that follows a student, a contemporary of the Marauders, who is interested in privacy law and its intersections with spell casting. They want to leave the Wizarding World to attend law school in the Muggle world with intent to return to the Wizarding World to do work in public policy. Or just imagine a thorough explanation about the myth of privacy in the Wizarding World supplemented with an in-depth history of how magic has been used for surveillance. Remember the The Weasley Clock? Or the fact that the Marauder’s Map could reveal the whereabouts of ghosts, animagi, people under the influence of Polyjuice Potions, and people wearing invisibility cloaks? A story that centered issues related to surveillance and privacy in the Wizarding World would be thrilling and informative.
Hogwarts After Dark With Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs: Let’s take a moment to remind ourselves of the fact that it’s incredibly difficult, and sometimes dangerous, to become an Animagus. From the mandrake leaf sucking to the lightning storm, the weather- and moon-dependent process requires skill, patience, and time. The fact that Sirius, James, and that damn, dirty rat chose to become Animagi specifically to help and support Remus during his werewolf transformations still amazes me. “It took them the best part of three years to work out how to do it,” Remus informed Harry. Then he explained: “A werewolf is only a danger to people. They sneaked out of the castle every month under James’s Invisibility Cloak. They transformed, Peter, as the smallest, could slip beneath the Willow’s attacking branches and touch the knot that freezes it. They would then slip down the tunnel and join me. Under their influence, I became less dangerous. My body was still wolfish, but my mind seemed to become less so while I was with them.” A story about their adventures, trials, and tribulations would be exciting and offer insight into the life of Animagi, the power of friendship, and werewolf transformations from a new perspective.
Some other possible stories could center Hermione and Viktor’s short-lived romance, explore the relationship between Dumbledore and Ariana from her perspective, (a hypothetical) Neville’s Declassified Plant Revival Guide, and so many more stories. So, before the inevitable cinematic remakes of the films are in pre-production, directors and screenwriters should consider creating filmic adaptations that cater to fans’ deepest desires. One does not require the Mirror of Erised to see that what fans truly need and deserve are the complex, fascinating, and magical backstories of our favorite characters brought to life on screen. What stories would you like to see brought to life via the screen?