Just Call Me a Potter Purist

Posted June 30, 2016 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Discussions / 29 Comments

Potter Purist(1)2016 seems to be the year of the revival of Harry Potter fans. Cursed Child is debuting on stage, the screenplay is being released, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal Studios Hollywood, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set to hit theaters this fall. It seems like everywhere one turns Harry Potter has come back into the forefront of the media. However, I’ve found myself completely apathetic to almost everything that’s going on. As much as I have always and will always love Harry Potter, I can’t shake the wrongness that I feel when it comes to the continuation of Harry’s story.

I’ve been purposely avoiding news of the Cursed Child.

I’m not going to say that I’ll never see the stage play or read the screenplay, but I’m in no means going out of my way to do so. Every bookstore in my area is hosting a midnight release party of some sort for the Cursed Child screenplay release, and my desire to go is at absolute zero. I know this point of view sounds negative, but it seems disingenuous to me to try and recreate the hype and excitement of the original seven book releases. I pre-ordered all of the books back when you had to go physically pick up your pre-orders at the store. I attended the midnight releases, participated in the costume and trivia contests (from which I was banned from on more than one occasion because my knowledge was too deep and no one else was getting a turn). I spent my elementary and middle school summers scouring the internet, specifically Mugglenet, for new Harry Potter news and theories, and I have BINDERS full of theories, spell lists, quotes, etc. and notebooks where I painstakingly annotated and toke notes on every chapter to build my case for what I believed would happen in the final books. Harry Potter was a HUGE and ESSENTIAL part of my life, especially from the ages of 8-16.

Trying to recreate those feelings now just really doesn’t feel right to me. I’m a firm believer that any sort of “sequel” shouldn’t happen, as it compromises the integrity of the original series, especially seeing as JKR was not the main writer of Cursed Child. Sure, I love the bits and pieces of background she’s published through Pottermore and yes, I wish more than anything that she’d release an encyclopedia or Hogwarts: A History, but I don’t want a continuation of Harry’s Story, especially if it’s not straight from her pen.

What About Fantastic Beasts?

The new film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is something I can get slightly more on board with. I of course had the book along with Quidditch Through the Ages and read them obsessively (remember how terrifying the Lethifolds are?) and I find the film a less offensive idea than Cursed Child because it doesn’t follow Harry directly. It serves as an opportunity to learn more about wizarding history and magic in other countries without compromising the core story and characters in the original series. I love looking into the periphery of the Potter world, and I’ll admit I do get chills whenever I see a teaser trailer for it. You probably won’t find me camped out in front of the theater for the midnight release, but I’ll probably see it at some point.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I was lucky enough to visit Universal Studios Hollywood just a few short weeks after The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened, and it was something I ended up having very mixed feelings about. Was it surreal to see it brought to life? Absolutely. But it also didn’t excite me quite as much as I hoped, and some of the magic was marred by the insane crowds, the out of control pricing, and just the general pervasiveness of the real world invading a space that I had previously held only in my heart and mind. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have gone and really would like to go again (especially to see how it’s decorated during the holidays), but it didn’t fully meet my expectations, perhaps partially due to the fact that I’m much older now, or due to the fact that it seems so commercialized now. I swear I’m not trying to come off as a hipster, but I feel as though a part of my childhood is being compromised by the resurgence of Harry Potter in so many avenues at once.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter(1)How do you feel about all of these new additions to the Potter universe? Will you be at the midnight releases? Do you prefer to stick to the origin story? Do you think Cursed Child compromises the canon? What’s your fondest memory of participating in the fandom back when the original books were being released? Let me know in the comments!

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29 responses to “Just Call Me a Potter Purist

  1. SO I am kind of excited for Cursed Child, but I’m not sure why. It’s crappy that JKR isn’t the main writer for the book because it feels wrong to me. I would love a prequel about the Marauders more than anything, especially a sequel about his children. I always figured I’d love for the world to be expanded but it seems like they’re just trying to capitalize on the success and keep it going farther than necessary. I’m also okay with Fantastic Beasts because I feel like it’s more canon than Cursed Child, kinda? But I’ve noticed a lot of huge HP fans are also feeling exhausted from it all – and I’m definitely getting there!

      • I’m with Lauren- I would’ve DIED if this were a Marauder’s or Dumbledore prequel but I’m still excited for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child nonetheless. For me, it’s not even *completely* about extending the story, it’s about nostalgia and banding together with the Harry Potter community to celebrate a story that had such a huge impact on all of our lives. I love that there are new readers getting into it and I think it’ll be an awesome experience for anyone who read the books late and missed out on midnight release parties. While it’s upsetting that JK wasn’t the main writer, I have faith in her that she wouldn’t agree to releasing anything she felt would be a disservice to the fandom. I’ve avoided all the spoilers and I’m not going to make a final judgment until I read it!

        • I’ve seen many people talk about what they love best about Cursed Child is the re-uniting of the fandom,and I can certainly understand that. I definitely would’ve preferred a prequel though, because I feel there’s honestly a need for it after the glimpses and hints we get about the past in the original series. I think there’s something very sensitive to a lot of original fans about revisiting Harry himself after all of the time we spent with him in adolescence, and it makes me wary that other people, however well-intentioned, helped to make the decision of where his story went after book 7.

    • YES I didn’t state it directly in my post but I really do feel like it’s more about capitalizing on the money than a continuation of the series. I feel like a lot of original fans would have been more excited about prequel stories, but bringing Harry to the forefront of the media again was really the way to garner the most attention. I love JKR and HP will always be my favorite series, but I’m just not that into this Cursed Child hype!

  2. I am not sure if I will read The Cursed child. But its exciting that HP news keeps going around in the world. It makes it feel real. And yes, I am excited about the movie.

    • I definitely think a lot of people are very excited about the prospect of having Harry Potter events to go to again and releases to look forward to. I’m personally not a big fan of reading screenplays, so that’s a turn off for me, but I know that I will at least watch FBAWTFT.

  3. I have to disagree when it comes to Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I’ve gotten to go twice, and I feel like they do a fantastic job of separating the real world from the park. Unlike the rest of Universal Studios, you can’t buy Coke products- only drinks taken from the books- there’s no pop music blasting through the park- just music from the scores- and all the workers do a great job of playing the role of wizard or witch. Referring to credit cards as “muggle plastic” and whatnot. So yeah, I can’t agree with you on that. I though Universal did a fantastic job.

    However, I do see where you’re coming from with the Cursed Child. And while I could never truly say no to more from the Harry Potter universe, the Cursed Child does seem like it’s creating some artificial version of the excitement surrounding Harry Potter. I really enjoyed reading this- I haven’t heard much from this perspective! πŸ˜€

    • I did enjoy how all of the drinks are themed in that section of the park, and we definitely bought several. I didn’t have interactions with employees who were as committed to being as involved in the experience as you did, but I can see how that would make a huge difference. I still want to visit the Florida version and perhaps see if that one feels more magical to me!

  4. I actually don’t really want to read The Cursed Child either. I’ve read the blurb about what’s in it and I just don’t really want to know about what happens to Harry in the future. I loved how book 7 ended and I don’t want to reopen that storyline! However, I do want to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them although, like you, I’m not squealing-and-jumping-around excited. I think it’ll be really cool to see the US’s version of wizarding and how it’s different from England/Europes wizarding. The original series is definitely number one in my book and it’ll always be that way πŸ™‚

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    • I completely agree! Although, I have read up on the US wizarding history on Pottermore (which has COMPLETELY changed as a website, it’s really jarring) and it just doesn’t feel like it has the same level of detail and creativity that Hogwarts’ founding does!

  5. I totally understand what you mean with this post. Harry Potter was my very first fandom and it really changed my life. I prayed for years that Rowling didn’t release a sequel, because it would ruin the entire saga in my opinion, that’s why I’m not excited at all for the Cursed Child. Fist, I don’t think we needed a sequel, second I hate reading screenplays, third JK Rowling is just one of the writers. I’m very excited for Fantastic Beasts, but I don’t like at all that they transformed Pottermore into a blog for sharing film news and that they mostly replaced those amazing illustrations with movie stills. I preferred the old website, it made me feel the magic of the books. Concerning the Wizarding World, I’m not excited as much as I’d like to, because I will probably never have enough money to visit it in US (I’m from Italy), I can still hope for the Studios in UK, but it’s more a bucket list item than a plan. Yesterday I’ve been sorted in the Ilvermorny School, but honestly I don’t care about this new piece of writing as much as I’d like to! Sorry for the super long comment, but I’m glad to not be alone in this journey πŸ™‚

    • Hi Alice! I share so many of your sentiments! I hate reading screenplays too, which is a huge turnoff for me in terms of the Cursed Child, and I’m extremely wary that there are other writers aside from JK Rowling who have decided on the futures of Harry, Ron, Hermione, etc…it just feels wrong! In terms of the Wizarding World, I was a but underwhelmed visiting it, but I have been to the studio tour just outside of London and it was REALLY amazing, I definitely recommend going if you have a chance to!

  6. I would not be averse to Hogwarts: A History being an actual book! I’m actually looking forward to Cursed Child, but it’s mostly because I just love the world so much and I am curious about the “future”. That being said, I’m also a little bit wary of it since it’s not mainly written by JKR. I’m definitely snagging a copy but I’m not sure yet about doing a midnight release!

    I am, however, really excited about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I think it’ll be a fascinating look at a historical period in a while that we love so much, and that one is one I’d go out of my way to see as soon as possible. And I also just LOVE the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Yes, it does get crowded and crazy and I’ve waited in insane lines and spent insane amounts of money. But I still found it to be extremely magical, and I’m always looking for excuses to go back and visit!

    • Have you visited the Wizarding World of HP in Florida? I’ve only been to the new (and relatively smaller) one in California, and I have heard the the Florida version is larger and feels a bit more authentic. I think if I were able to go to either park on a day that wasn’t so crowded (I went on a Saturday a few weeks after it opened) I may be able to appreciate it and soak everything in more!

  7. Great post, Cristina! With all the renewed Potter hype it’s quite refreshing to see someone admit ‘actually, I’m not that into it…’

    I do have tickets to go and see The Cursed Child and I am pretty excited, even though it was hella expensive to book. I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap but it’s a shame it couldn’t have been cheaper than it was – I know a lot of people who would love to see it who just can’t afford to. I’m interested in learning more about Harry’s adult family and I think it will be interesting to see what life is like for a child whose famous father basically saved the wizarding world from Magic Hitler, and I like how it’s bringing people together; there are older people who can see this play with their kids or younger siblings and tell them what it was like to wait for the original books to come out. Most of all I love the discussions it’s raised in terms of race after they cast Noma Dumezweni as Hermione!

    Also I’m excited for the play because I’m going to see it with my three flatmates from uni. The four of us haven’t been all together since we graduated in 2013 and we’re all living in different parts of the country now, so I’m looking forward to seeing the play with the same people I saw the very last film with. πŸ™‚

    As for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, that’s actually what I’m not looking forward to. I’m just not excited about it. I love the idea of exploring more of the Potter world that isn’t Harry-centric, and Newt Scamander sounds like an interesting character, it’s just not captivating me. I’d much rather learn about the Founders and the history of the school, to be honest! How did they meet? How did they decide to build a school? How did they decide it would be in Scotland – did Rowena win a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors? How did Hogwarts protect its students during the witch-hunting craze in the 16th-17th centuries?

    My main problem since the completion of the school has been the expansion of the wizarding world. I don’t think Britain is the only country in the world to have witches and wizards, we know from Beauxbaton and Durmstrang that it isn’t, but some of the new schools J.K. Rowling has been introducing just seem a bit silly to me. For example, I find it very hard to believe that the US only has one school – it’s huuuuge! Also right now Africa only has one school. Africa’s a continent! There are so many different languages, from Arabic to Swahili to Dutch, and we’re honestly expected to believe that all of those children can fit into ONE school? As for the Brazillian school, a Portuguese friend of mine has informed me that the name of the school literally translates to ‘Castle Witch’. Gee, I wonder what they do at ‘Castle Witch’…

    I think I’m just being picky and thinking too much into it because I love the original series so much. I love that J.K. Rowling is including other countries in her wizarding world, I just wish there was a bit more thought put into them than what I can currently see. I mean across Africa and Asia there won’t even be the same magic system, right? Why would African and Asian witches and wizards use Latin and Greek-based magic? There’s a lot to think about, and while I love J.K. Rowling I feel a bit like she sometimes bites off more than she can chew and we end up with something a bit silly, like a ‘secret’ school called Castle Witch…

    Anyway, there’s my rant over. Sorry for the long comment. 😐 Great post!

    • I am in firm agreement with you over your feelings about the expansion of the wizarding world. I went onto Pottermore last night for the first time in YEARS and read up (and got sorted into) the Ilvermorny school in America, and I was honestly just…underwhelmed. It does seem rushed and sort of thrown together, especially with the intricacies and attention to details that’s been put into her creation of Hogwarts! I’ve also heard that a lot of her depictions of magic in other countries has been rather problematic, and doesn’t seem to really have the proper research done to back it up. So much to think about!

  8. I get what you mean. I didn’t pre-order the Cursed Child and I have 0 intention to buy the book. But I do follow the news to see how it would go. I read the spoiler and honestly I’m so unhappy with it I wish I never read it. The Cursed Child make it seems like JKR is milking the series. And I don’t think it’s really necesarry. All was well, and that’s all I need to know. Harry Potter is my childhood, I grew up watching the movies and reading the book, and I don’t want to see it ruined. I do excited for Fantastic Beast, because as you say, it expands the wizarding world. It gives us a glimpse of wizarding world that doesn’t centered wih Harry Potter. Even if the movie is bad, or dissapointing, it won’t hurt my love for the original 7 books HP saga because it doesn’t closely related to Harry, while the Cursed Child is really really tied to the 7 books series.

    • Definitely, Fantastic Beasts is more forgiving because whether good or bad, it won’t really impact the canon of the core characters we’ve grown to love in the original 7 books. I’ve stayed away from spoilers because I am pretty out of the loop with all things Cursed Child, but now I think I probably just really won’t want to know…

  9. I can understand how you feel. I am a little wary of The Cursed Child too, because The Deathly Hallows was such a perfect ending for me that I am not sure if I want a continuation of Harry’s story… all I need to know is that “all was well.” However, as a new HP fan, having just read the books in the last two years, I do love the general resurgence of HP hype.

    • I can see how the experience of Cursed Child would be different for someone who has read the books for the first time recently! I think for me a huge issue is how closely it is tied to my childhood and formative years, and I feel like whenever I’ve seen things from when I grew up try to be made popular again it never quite works in the same way.

  10. I’m completely with you on this one (I think we discussed this before in relation to The Cursed Child?). The reality is, I’m just not that excited about either of these. I know I will see both of these adaptions EVENTUALLY like you, and maybe I’ll love them and wonder what I was ever worried about… but until then I remain doubtful. It seems much more likely that it will stain the purity of Harry Potter than make it better.

    P.S. LOVE that you kept HP folders!!!

    • I think you’re right and we definitely have chatted about our concerns about this, lol. I feel like my feelings are growing stronger the closer the release date for cursed child is. Last night I went on to Pottermore for the first time in YEARS and while it was never a part of my original HP journey, it has changed SO much and really feels like a media platform for cursed child and fantastic beasts now, and just doesn’t have that original charm anymore.

  11. I suppose I feel quite odd about the Cursed Child. My family keeps asking me if I’m totally pumped for the new book, and I just sort of shrug my shoulders at them. Honestly? I have no idea what the Cursed Child is even about. I’ve somehow avoided all of the news/hype/excitement surrounding it. I might have subconsciously done this on purpose because it’s not *really* Harry Potter. I have no idea if I’m ever going to read it. I’m a little scared to.

    As for Fantastic Beasts, I definitely plan to watch that in the theaters. I won’t be there opening night of course, but I love seeing the Wizarding World come to life on the big screen even if that’s not *really* Harry Potter either. I don’t know why this book v. film distinction exists, but it does.

    • I am right there with you, I admit that I really don’t know too much about the Cursed Child aside from the fact that it’s happening! You’re completely right, to me it doesn’t feel like “real” Harry Potter, and I don’t think I will be able to accept it as canon, especially as it seems so many things are changing. Fantastic Beasts is more up my alley, because I can appreciate the nuances of the wizarding world JKR created that I love so much without having to tarnish my image and memories of the core case of characters.

  12. I completely understand where you’re coming from, Cristina. Harry Potter was a huge part of my growing up, and I want to remember it as a perfect and amazing. So I’m wary of all the new stories coming out of the universe, as it might mire that memory (like the conversation about the appropriation of Native American culture in Ilvermony forcing me to think of JKR as less than perfect). I am going to a release party for Cursed Child and running away from all potential spoilers for it, but I feel that I’m approaching it with careful enthusiasm.

  13. I completely agree with you! If I could afford it, I definitely would have purchased tickets to see the play and I know I will be reading the screenplay when it comes out. But I don’t feel any true excitement for it. I’m only doing it because I can’t stand to be out of the loop on the matter.

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