With the seventh movie of the first part of the seventh book about to open in the US and the second part to follow this summer -- what does the future hold for Harry Potter? His creator J. K. Rowling excited her fans recently by hinting that she now wasn't ruling out the possibility of writing more about his world dismaying Daniel Radcliff who told Sky News:
"Oh God, she promised me categorically that there wouldn't be another book involving Harry," said Radcliffe, who has been playing the wizard since he was 11.
Asked whether he wanted to be a part of any future film, he said it was "very doubtful", adding: "I think 10 years is a long time to spend with one character."
Ten years is a long time indeed, and while Radcliffe may be done, what about his character and his story? When the final book came out, Rowling -- who spent way more than ten years with the character -- seemed pretty set that she was done with Harry and his world. But now she seems to be having second thoughts, telling Oprah that "I could definitely write an eighth, ninth, tenth... I'm not going to say I won't. I don't think I will... I feel I am done, but you never know." At the U.K. film premier she clarified that any further books were unlikely to have Harry as the central character.
If there is another book it, with or without Harry, certainly won't be out for quite a while and so once the last movie is out it will be interesting to see what happens to our boy wizard. Will he fade into obscurity or stay in the public consciousness for some time to come? Will future generations of young readers latch on to his story as enthusiastically as those who grew up with him? I'm guessing yes. After all there is that theme park, Muggle Quidditch on campuses, fan fiction, conventions, and a huge online fan base. Most of all, the books are still very popular among younger kids; my fourth graders, for instance, are reading them with great enjoyment and agree with me that they will never go out of style.
So whether or not Rowling ever writes another book (ignoring those debating whether she should or not), I think the series will endure. Harry will hang around because he is one of the great characters of children's literature and because his stories are good. Really good. The sort that will become classics of children's literature.
Cross posted at educating alice.