The greatest thing about fictional worlds is their capacity to stretch out beyond a set of books. Minor characters, barely seen locations and briefly mentioned events can provide a whole new opportunity for ideas. It is even more possible, and perhaps even more important, when a world is so far removed from our own. For the sake of this blog post, I’m going to be focusing on the Wizard World of Harry Potter fame. It is a magical and sometimes mysterious place filled with many, many things that we only know a fraction of information about. We may know Harry Potter and his years at Hogwarts very well, but there are parts of his world which would – and have – made fantastic opportunities for further reading. Quidditch Through The Ages and The Tales of Beedle the Bard are two of such opportunities, books that provide more information into different aspects of the Wizarding World. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them is not only another book, but it’s also on the cusp of being turned into at least one film. This book/film allow us – the Muggles enjoying Harry Potter – to experience the world through different eyes and different aspects of said world that we might never have been exposed to.
As I’ve been working through a re-read of the first three Harry Potter books, I have found myself considering the possibilities within the Wizarding World to explore further some of the characters and locations.
I have decided to pick out a handful of locations I would love to learn more about through either novel, short story or film. The chances of them actually happening may be slim, but a Muggle can dream.
The Wizarding Bank created by a goblin named Gringott and operated by other goblins. It is a weird and wonderful location that we have been lucky enough to see in various guises in the Harry Potter books and films. The idea that a bank can be created under the streets of London, with vaults dedicated to each individual or family, guarded by spells, enchantments and, as rumour has it, various other magical creatures. It’s something to be revered and it’s something which I think would benefit from its own set of stories. We know very little about the goblins who work at the bank, whether there are any cheerful goblins, or even what most of them are called. It would be interesting to experience Gringotts through the eyes of a young goblin who has started working at the bank. Alternatively, there is also the potential for Bill Weasley to be the focus of a story and experience Gringotts and his work for the bank over in Egypt.
Where better to begin a brand new story than in the only all wizarding village in the country? It would be a great place to learn more about the history of the Shrieking Shack, or Madam Rosmerta’s life running the Three Broomsticks. What a fantastic opportunity it would be to meet many new characters, some of the regulars at the pub, or really get to know the owners of Honeydukes and Zonko’s joke shop. There are also many, many shops and homes which we haven’t had the pleasure of visiting, or learning anything about. I wonder what it would be like for a small child growing up on the outskirts of Hogwarts, learning more than he or she should know from the older children as they make their visits to the village.
The Ministry of Magic
There is much we know about The Ministry, and much we don’t know. The number of departments which are designed to look after the Wizarding World and the different people who must be involved in the place. What we have learnt about The Ministry has been fascinating, sometimes terrifying, but to learn more would – and could – be very important in further understanding the Wizarding World as a whole. Whether we followed a character we’ve met but know little about, or a brand new character, the opportunities are endless.
The idea of exploring the Wizarding World in other countries is quite broad, but I think it would be completely fascinating. We have had glimpses at what is out there – other schools involved in the Triwizard Tournament, dragons in Romania, Gringotts workers in Egypt. We know from Quidditch Through the Ages that those wizards in Eastern countries opted to use a flying carpet instead of a broomstick, whilst the Wizarding World in the UK has outlawed the breeding of dragons. These small differences can really bring something new to an experience. Perhaps we could follow one of the lesser known characters from Hogwarts as he or she travels the world. Or maybe one of the older characters doing so in their youth.
A village probably quite unlike Hogsmeade, whilst it has been home to many wizarding families over the years, the fact that it is shared with Muggles is what makes this village so interesting. We’ve seen how Harry Potter manages to live alongside his Muggle relatives, we’ve heard glimpses of Hermione’s Muggle upbringing, we’ve even witnessed Harry and Hermione at Godric’s Hollow on their quest for Horcruxes. But when have we really had the chance to see exactly how Muggles and Wizards live side by side in the same village? The opportunities for discovery from unsuspecting Muggle friends, the idea of Muggle friends at all. There is the potential to continue on Harry Potter’s life – though that would depend on whether he’d want to return to the location of his parents’ deaths, or I’m sure there are many other wizarding families who would be fantastic protagonists for a new set of stories.
There are many different possibilities within each location, many more locations besides and the opportunity to explore the worlds of new and existing characters. In a world as vast as Harry Potter’s Wizarding World, the potential situations are endless. With the recent news of Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them being made into a film it brings about the question as to whether anything else would be possible. It’s certainly not impossible. If it was, then JK Rowling wouldn’t be the one in control of the writing of the Fantastic Beasts films. She’s always shown an interest in going back to Harry’s world (no matter how small), whether that’s through his eyes or someone else’s, we don’t know. Nor does it really matter. What matters is that the world is so big that she could write a book a year for the rest of her life and still have many, many more stories to tell. It really is a truly remarkable world that she has mapped out. If only we could really wander through the streets of Hogsmeade, or visit the Museum of Quidditch in London.