What's next for hungry young bookworms'
When "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is released on July 21, it will mark the end of a remarkable run for writer J.K. Rowling. Her books have sold more than 300 million copies worldwide since "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" debuted a decade ago.
Rowling's determination to end the series will leave a vacuum. Another book, another series, undoubtedly will become the next must-read among the children's set.
Already a few books -- including Susanna Clarke's "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell," "Here, There Be Dragons" by James Owens and the "Stonewylde" series by Kit Berry -- are being touted as successors to Harry Potter's legacy. All have some element of fantasy, which means they are at best variations on the same theme, and at worst, imitators jumping on the bandwagon.
So it stands to reason that the next big thing "will be entirely different," says Lisa Dennis, the coordinator of the children's collection for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
Dennis says that the children's market usually has one dominant genre. Before Harry Potter, the "Goosebumps" series, by R.L. Stine, captured the imaginations of children by way of its fanciful take on horror. Then Rowling shepherded a fantasy revival.
No one could have predicted either series would become so wildly popular, which is why Dennis anticipates a book or series coming out of left field.
"I think we're going to swing to some other sort of next big thing," Dennis says. "My only guess is that it will be something different and unexpected. If I had to guess, it might be something like a graphic novel."
While Rowling hasn't let on what her plans are, it is conceivable that her next book or series might become the new sensation. While there has been much speculation that "Deathly Hallows" might bring the demise of the beloved character, there's also some thought that Rowling might decide to feature other characters from her books. As J.R.R. Tolkien tried -- and mostly failed -- to recapture the wonder of Middle-earth, would Rowling dare revisit one of her characters?
Elisa Beshero-Bondar, an assistant professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, wouldn't mind Rowling revisiting the character of Hermione Granger.
"Hermione is this character with a lot of potential," says Beshero-Bondar, who teaches a course in fantasy and romance at the university. "But pretty much, kind of to my surprise, this epic cycle of Harry Potter has been kind of Harry-centered. To the extent that he's flying around on the Quidditch field, sometimes I think I'm reading about a football player and his popularity and the highs and lows of his life."
Beshero-Bondar realizes that there may be no incentive for Rowling to revisit the Hogwarts gang. Instead, she might mimic Tolkien and Ursula K. Le Guin, the author of the "Earthsea" series.
"If she's going to follow their direction, then Rowling will probably write within her own secondary universe," Beshero-Bondar says. "That's exactly what Le Guin keeps doing, revisiting 'Earthsea.' And that's what Tolkien was doing throughout his life, developing the back story of Middle Earth, to the extent that he has so many papers and so much that never appeared during his life that Christopher Tolkien can go and publish all this stuff from his dad's desk and make a fortune. ... What about the story of Albus Dumbledore as a young man, or something like that?"
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Chesney fans flood the North Shore
- Storm downs trees on North Side; two hospitalized
- Steelers nose tackle McCullers finds performance, fitness go hand in hand
- CMU student admits to arson
- Memories of mice with ‘amnesia’ restored by light
- Construction worker dies in Wilkinsburg
- Steelers sign last of eight players drafted in 2015
- Former Pittsburgh police chief released from prison
- Civil War-era soldier to be buried with full military honors
- Lightning hits Rostraver home; child hurt
- Pittsburgh roots shape former Md. governor’s outlook in run for president