Why The Wizarding World Of ‘Harry Potter’ Should Stay Small – Huffington Post

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Readers spend most of their time with friendly Gryffindors, like Harry and his friends, who go relatively unsupervised by their Head of House, Professor McGonagall. It’s other, more rule-abiding students — prefects, officially — who do what little regulation must be done within their clubhouse. And of course, there’s the headmaster, Professor Dumbledore, of whom even Voldemort is afraid.

The Harry Potter books aren’t just a fantasy saga, but a series in which readers became more and more deeply enmeshed in a fictional home. Boarding school novels can’t just hang out indulging in pranks forever, obviously; often the central conflict of these books, especially as a series progresses, revolves around the protagonists finding that the school is no longer able to protect them from the realities of a harsh world. Hopefully, they’re able to call upon the lessons they’ve learned as students to rise to these new challenges, even strike out into the world on their own.

As the Harry Potter series continued, Harry, Ron and Hermione often found themselves temporarily thrown into increasingly terrifying, high-stakes situations, far beyond the controlled tests offered in their classes. Finally, even the school itself becomes compromised; it’s no longer a safe haven, and the three friends choose to leave before their last year for the still more risky journey throughout the magical world to defeat Voldemort.

Deathly Hallows takes the form of a quest, unlike the six previous books in the series, but Hogwarts remains the beating heart. Even as the friends travel across rather nondescript lands in search of the remaining Horcruxes, the journey is leading them, inevitably, not to an unseen destination, but back to Hogwarts for the final, climactic battle. As the series ends, Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione have returned to Platform 9 3/4 to send their own children off to Hogwarts, a quiet narrative reassurance that our fictional home base has recovered and that the magical school adventures will go on, even as the books are ending.

Rowling has drawn adoration and criticism for continuing to write about the Potterverse after the series ended; officially, she’d said she planned to end the series at seven, a position she still maintains. But unofficially the franchise keeps expanding story by story and snippet by snippet. In a new play Rowling collaborated on, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, audiences will see a middle-aged Harry struggling with his career and his son’s early difficulties, which seems like a bit of a run around to the ending of the books.

Now that we’re dabbling in bits of non-Hogwarts magical history — stories from other continents entirely, in fact — the degree of building out of the magical world almost seems to be undermining the perfectly contained world Rowling built within Britain and its beloved wizarding school. The Potter world felt and continues to feel to me like my own bedroom: It isn’t insulated from the threats of a dangerous world, but its particularity and familiarity make me feel psychologically cushioned enough to face those threats.

If my bedroom suddenly became the size of a football field, it would change the whole nature of my room and my relationship with it. Now the Potterverse’s walls seem to be coming down, and instead of feeling excited, I just want to hold onto that room that was just the right size.

Why The Wizarding World Of ‘Harry Potter’ Should Stay Small – Huffington Post