Photo by Joey Gale
After tweeting the news of her new book last Thursday, author J.K. Rowling shocked her fans by moving on from the beloved Harry Potter series.
“I feel like it’s about time for her to move on,” first-year Kristin Doherty said. “She’s written about the same characters for over 10 years, so I can imagine she wants to work on something new.”
Few details have been released about the book except that Little, Brown and Company has agreed to publish the book. Scholastic Inc. printed all of Rowling’s Harry Potter books in the U.S.
“I think she should (write another book),” junior Hannah Pink said. “She’s a fantastic author and shouldn’t be afraid to start a new series because of the fear of it not being comparable to Harry Potter.”
Elizabeth Robertson, an associate professor of English from Manchester, England, will be instructing the J-term course called “The Golden Fleece,” which uses the Harry Potter books as part of the course. She said that she is also looking forward to Rowling’s new book.
“I think that a writer as gifted as her should keep writing,” Robertson said. “A student once told me that you (college-aged students) are the Harry Potter generation, and that really stuck with me. You know you grew up with him. When Harry went on to the next year, so did you.”
Robertson decided to teach a course that covered the Harry Potter books because she noticed the effects the books had on her own children.
“I’ve read all the Harry Potter books, and I read them to my children,” Robertson said. “Some of my children had reading problems, but they moved heaven and earth to finish those books. I saw first-hand the effect that Harry Potter had on children. When I read the first book, I found it very well written, funny as well as serious. What I’ve done for the J-term course is incorporate the series with Greek myths and archetypes.”
Robertson found that what stood out most to her about the Harry Potter books was their ability to make students not just read them once, but over and over again.
“Built into the books is the need to re-read the books,” she said. “You get through different books, and you discover new things about characters, and you have to re-read and re-think. Any book that demands that you re-read and re-evaluate your thinking is a sign of a remarkable work.”
The bar is set high after the Harry Potter series, and Rowling’s new book series will be targeted for adults this time.
“I think the fans have fairly high expectations,” Doherty said. “Especially after how successful her last books were. I don’t think anything will ever be as great as Harry Potter, even if J.K. Rowling writes it. I have a feeling it will be very different from Harry Potter, which will be exciting to read.”
The opinion across the board seems to be that Rowling’s fan base will read the new book even if it has nothing to do with her initial series.
“People can make connections with the Harry Potter stories,” Robertson said. “They are popular tests. Harry Potter is a cultural icon — it’s one of the central stories of human culture. The story of the hero, the divine child and the evil forces make it a classic story with some wonderful modern add-ons. It was inevitable that the series would end at the seventh novel. I was ready for Harry and Hermione and the rest of them to go on and live their lives. Things do come to an end.”