Crowdsourcing Harry Potter?

futurelab default header

by: Alain Thys

Spoiler alert: This post gives away a key plot point of the final Harry Potter book.  So if you’ve haven’t finished the book, do not read on.

Last week Monday (at 1:30 AM) I finished part 7 of the Harry Potter series and after sat through the young man’s wizardry adventures for thousands and thousands of pages, the end of the series felt like losing a friend.

And like many others, I grasped at every sentence in the Deathly Hallow’s final chapter for clues that there might be more books to come.  And I’m not alone.  Millions feel the same and even my 6 year old son already started on Book 8, which he titled “Harry Potter and the Water Dragon” .

Now the good news is that J.K. Rowling has announced that she will probably do a Harry Potter Encyclopedia, with all the backstories, and also we shouldn’t exclude Harry returning to Hogwarths as a guest lecturer for Defense Against the Dark Arts.  (Thanks Marina for the tip!).  The bad news is that after having spent 17 years of her life with the little bugger, Rowling feels like she deserves a break, and while I can’t blame her, this means we’re in for a long wait.

My prediction is that, just like for part 7, the gap will be filled with fan created sequels and tangential stories which will pop up all over the place.  Probably closely followed by loud debates in law-offices on whether they should sue these infringers on Rowling’s copyright or consider them as devout fans who should be nurtured. 

This made me wonder.  What if – in stead of doing a “long wait” Bloomsbury and J.K. Rowling turned the table and crowdsourced the future episodes of Harry and his friends.  This could be done in many ways.  Soliciting and reviewing manuscripts, setting up a “never ending wiki” in which each story has substories, doing Potter writing competitions, you name it.  But in short, “give Harry to the fans”.

This way, everyone would win.  Rowling would be free of the pressure to write more, and if she ever did would have retained her blockbuster status (even in a world of one thousand potters, there is only one original).  Bloomsbury could keep generating cash on a red-hot franchise which still has a number of episodes to go.  The would-be Harry Potter authors would have something to really sharpen their word processors on.  And fans like myself would continue to get their “annual fix” of magic.

And if I would really dream for a moment, my phone would ring next week to set it all up …

No chance I know, but just because it all happens in your head, doesn’t mean it isn’t real, does it?