Two weeks after releasing the script of the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, J.K. Rowling announced even more stories about the Wizarding World are on the way—this time in the form of three short eBooks published by her digital platform Pottermore.
To some readers who have tired of the constant updates on Potter and the gang over the years, the news feels like overkill. Nine years after the original series came to an end, why are we still getting new stories about the Boy Who Lived?
But the move makes perfect sense for Rowling’s 2016 game plan: It indulges committed fans, and it gins up attention for her forthcoming film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
The books, priced at $3 each and running about 10,000 words in length, combine “J.K. Rowling’s writing that originally published on pottermore.com, as well as new work,” Pottermore wrote in a press release. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists will tell stories about Horace Slughorn, Dolores Umbridge and Quirinus Quirrell. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies instead focuses on fan favorites Professor McGonagall and Remus Lupin. Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide gives the lay of the land at the enchanted boarding school. The books are available for pre-order now and will be published on Sept. 6, a little less than halfway between the play’s publication and the release of Fantastic Beasts.
To some, this feels like Rowling is simply rehashing old stories that readers were happy to leave alone. But as I wrote last week, a hearty faction of devoted fans greets these new entries with open arms: “I don’t understand Potter fatigue,” LeakyCon organizer Melissa Anelli told me. “When I love a story, I want as much of it as I can.” The numbers show plenty of people agree with her: Cursed Child sold more than 4 million copies in the U.S., U.K. and Canada in its first week (and that’s just the print editions, never mind eBooks).
Cursed Child and other post-Deathly Hallows Potter stories have paid a service to fans: the plot points have rewarded them for loyalty with wish fulfillment, giving our heroes happy endings (Hermione is Minister for Magic! Everyone’s marriages are rather happy!) and offering tidbits about minor beloved characters (the Trolley Witch is actually a fierce fighter!). These eBooks seem likely to do the same, plunging readers back into the world they fell in love with years ago and reminding them what makes that world special and worth revisiting.
Those suffering from Potter fatigue have a perfectly reasonable solution to the quandary this release puts them in: Just don’t buy the books. As Rowling has proved with her monster sales this month, she has plenty of fans who are more than eager to queue up for more stories from the Wizarding World.