J.K. Rowling Debuts New Harry Potter Stories: History of Magic

Harry Potter returning in new play

The Harry Potter franchise could be on the verge of a major comeback. Following the original seven novels in the Harry Potter series and the subsequent film adaptations, author J.K. Rowling has inked her quill to provide fans with a wealth of supplementary literature to further expand upon the magical community. The additional resources in your Hogwarts library might include volumes such as Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, with the latter of these publication’s currently being adapted for the big screen and set to open in theaters on November 18th, 2016. Though, this particular story is only tangentially related to bespectacled teenage wizard of the original Harry Potter series.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will follow the adventures of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), the author of one of Harry’s school textbooks, in 1920s New York. Since the film will take place in a different time and locale with a different set of characters from the Harry Potter books, news has now emerged that J.K. Rowling is publishing a brand new set of stories, chronicled as a collection under the title The History of Magic in North America, to further delve into the history of this previously unexplored corner of the Wizarding World.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them images with Eddie Redmayne
Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Prior to the first installment of Rowling's History of Magic in North America (released 8th March, 2016), an official statement was posted on Pottermore to explain the concept behind the series:

"Magic in North America will bring to light the history of this previously unexplored corner of the wizarding world in the run-up to Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them. And you'll want to get up to speed before the film comes around in November."

Through her four-part prologue, Rowling will endeavour to provide broad snapshots into the North American Wizarding School IIvermorny, explain Native American legends and highlight the differences between the magic practices of American and European wizards, but it could prove to be a tall order. The narrative of the first short story, entitled Fourteenth Century – Seventeenth Century, spans back to an earlier period of time to examine the primitive days of the Wizarding community on the North American continent - and, while it makes for some fascinating reading, it attempts to take on the rather large task of covering a three-century wide Native American history in fewer than 400 words.

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Understandably, the author wishes to set the scene for the highly-anticipated Fantastic Beasts project, which is somewhat of a risk and will act as the first test as to whether moviegoing audiences are truly invested in the world that Harry and his friends lived in, or if they are solely interested in following the adventures of their favourite characters – who will not feature in the new film. However, if this spin-off can succeed in getting audiences engaged in a brand new story and hero by shedding some light on the backstory and building momentum towards the forthcoming feature, then J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. will be able to really cut loose and focus their creative energy on further expanding the Harry Potter franchise via this new shared universe.

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For the next three days, a new History of Magic in North America story will be published on Pottermore at 9 a.m. (PST), leading up to the film release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which opens in U.S. theaters on November 18th, 2016.

Sources: Pottermore [via The Wrap]

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