The End of the Harry Potter Series?
(My apologies, in advance, to those of you who don't give a rat's behind about the Harry Potter series).
I finished reading the final Harry Potter book last week. I highly recommend it, but anyone who is interested enough to hear me highly recommend it has probably already bought and read through it.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows shows an improvement in the author's writing skills (which were woefully absent in the early books). However, one mistake is very apparent. While her young heroes go into hiding, she takes an interminably long time detailing it, boring the reader with small details which don't add to the plot, and taking up a vast number of pages to do it in. It's almost as if she felt that she needed to add a great number of pages in attempt to make the reader feel as if he's getting his money's worth.
Other than the rather dull middle, most of the book is an interesting read. When Rowling does crank it up, she can create an interesting environment worth reading about. And this particular book nicely ties up most of the loose ends. I guessed part of the outcome, and was pleasantly surprised by some things, too.
The ending is rather mundane, and is apparently Rowling's attempt to keep anyone from creating sequels involving a young Harry and his friends, but it leaves it wide open for so many spin-offs that I'm almost wondering if this is the point where Rowling will sit back on her laurels and allow ghost writers to take over.
Since the movies are two books behind, we have plenty of time to see what Hollywood and her publishers will cook up next. However, this brings me to a second point: Daniel Radcliff, the actor who's been playing Harry Potter, is really getting too old to continue to play him believably. The same can be said for the other actors who play his sidekicks. What will happen to the movies? Will new actors be chosen or are these actors so identifiable that we will have to suffer through the final two Harry Potters, watching adults pretend to be children?
And what will replace Harry Potter?
There is another magical children's book series by C.S. Lewis. The movie Narnia, which came out a couple of years ago, was an excellent summation of his first book. Perhaps it's time to dust off the other books and create a quality sequel.
Or how about the Oz series? There are oodles of books in that series, and plenty of room to create wonderful, magical worlds. One movie that was largely ignored was Return to Oz (1985). It's a pity that there weren't more movies to follow. Perhaps what killed that particular movie was the implication that Dorothy was insane and was being given shock treatments. I have to admit, it had a rather deadening effect on those of us who love fantasy.
Then there's the original Wizard of Earth series by Ursula Le Guin (Rowling came close to plagiarizing from her, and this was most apparently her source of inspiration). Le Guin did it better than Rowling, and won all sorts of awards and acclaim as a result of her efforts. I would dearly love to see such quality writing transformed onto the Big Screen. However, that would take Le Guin's agreement, and possibly she is careful about sharing such responsibility with others.
There are also other aspiring writers who are attempting to compete with the Harry Potter series. A relatively new Potter wannabe is Charlie Bone. Perhaps there's room for Charlie now that Harry has retired. The Lemony Snicket series seems to be rather prolific, as well.
One thing's for sure: Hollywood is always looking for new kid-themed material. I just hope they don't make us suffer with another version of the Care-Bears.