With the recent release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as the fact that a new batch of tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child goes on sale tomorrow, the Potter world seems to be ever expanding. Whether you are in favour of these expansions, or think that J.K Rowling needs to just slow down and let go; the Wizarding World is one with many corners to explore. In this week’s ‘Closer to The Edge‘, the most die-hard Potterhead writers we have, got together to assemble the parts of the world that we think deserve a bit more attention, and not just in fanfiction.
The History of Dumbledore v Grindelwald
Batman vs The Joker. Ali vs Frazier. Pepsi vs Coke.
History and fiction are littered with many great rivals and rivalries; Individuals or forces who are inextricably linked to one another and who cannot seem to escape each other. The Harry Potter universe is no different when it comes to the famous rivalry between one time friends, Albus Dumblebore and Gellert Grindelwald.
Before Voldemort, there was Grindelwald. The most evil and malevolent dark wizard to walk the earth, and only Dumbledore could stop him. Although we pretty much know the past that the two share, it is yet to be fully actualized on screen and many of the blanks are still yet to be filled. Yes, they were friends, but how deep did their relationship go? How affectionate was it? Yes, Dumbledore’s sister was killed during a duel between the two and Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth, but just how conflicted was Dumbledore over this? How vengeful was he towards Grindelwald? How could Grindelwald go about committing the atrocities that he did? The ultimate battle of good vs evil, Dumbledore vs Grindelwald and their relationship is something that we need to see on screen in the Fantastic Beasts series. It would be a cinematic battle for the ages; passionate, aggressive, heartbreaking and exhilarating.
words by David Mitchell-Baker
I’d love to see the origins of Hogwarts as a school. I mean, it’s a pretty big deal – the entire premise of sorting children into houses is based on the qualities the founders deemed worthy for their students to have, way back in the 10th century. They were the most brilliant witches and wizards of their time and formed the most prestigious Wizarding school in Britain, yet little has been explored about them and their lives.
I want to see Rowena Ravenclaw discovering the location from her dream of a warty hog that led her to a cliff by a lake. I want to see the conversation about what kind of students should be chosen (you think Hufflepuff is the joke house now but Helga clearly just favoured students who wanted to learn, over other abilities they may show at 11 years old). And if you think the rivalry between Draco and Harry is deep, imagine watching/reading/in some way being presented with the rift that emerged between Salazar and Godric years after forming Hogwarts, the rift that eventually led to Salazar leaving. And because this seems like a bit of a fantasy Airbender type throwback, just imagine the kind of fight scene that would happen with the four of them controlling the elements. Even if this will never become a film or book, there’s enough fanfiction on AO3. For now…
words by Carly-May Kavanagh
Hogwarts in the McGonagall Era
A part of the ‘Potterverse’ I’d love to see explored is Minerva McGonagall’s surely great years as Headmistress of Hogwarts. As Deputy Headmistress and Head of Gryffindor, McGonagall valiantly fought alongside Albus Dumbledore and stood for what they all believed in, even after his heartbreaking demise.
The books portray Professor McGonagall as one of the most serious in Hogwarts, yet subtly (and delightfully) subjective and motherly when it comes to her Gryffindors. Her irony is revealed in Order of the Phoenix, when she offered the ever-annoying Dolores Umbridge a cough drop, and when she asked Harry about his outburst at the same Umbridge and, when he admitted to it, she replied with the legendary ‘Have a biscuit, Potter’.
I’m sure that as Headmistress, she protects Hogwarts just as she protected her house, using her remarkable intelligence, experience and courage. How has Hogwarts mended and then developed after the 1998 war under her watch? How do students approach dark magic and diversity? McGonagall’s leadership would great to behold, especially during these times when we all need someone (even fictional) to look up to.
words by Thea Hartman
Remember that diabolical Doctor Who episode, ‘Love & Monsters’, where Peter Kay played a massive green blob that sucked people’s faces off? What you probably don’t so much remember is the subplot to that episode – the union of a group of very normal people, with the goal of finding the mystery ‘Doctor’ that has changed their lives in some respect. It’s an interesting concept (badly executed and sadly underdeveloped by Doctor Who), and one I believe could be carried into the Wizarding World to great success.
The book/film/TV show (maybe even webisodes?) would open with a completely normal Muggle being caught up in some Wizard drama, completely by accident, and then being thrust back into reality to pretend it never happened. He/she’s somehow escaped the infamous ‘Obliviate’, but unable to move forward from their experience, they attempt to find the Wizarding World again. Their loved ones are alienated by their seemingly crazy antics, scared for our protagonist as they become more erratic and desperate for the truth. Perhaps they come into contact with a similar investigator, but with more shady motives to wanting to prove the existence of wizards. It’d be fascinating to see characters of the Harry Potter stories become background characters, popping up here and there, as the Muggle is drawn further and further into the world he’s stumbled upon. It’s very much in the vein of Patrick Ness’ great novel The Rest of Us Just Live Here, but to me, its always fascinating to see the Wizarding World through the eyes of a Muggle, just realising they aren’t top of the food chain any longer.
words by James Barker
Young Voldemort: A Dark Prequel Series
In the same vein as Hannibal and Bates Motel, I would love to see a prequel series in which we follow the Dark Lord’s rise to evil. In The Half Blood Prince, we got a taste of the young Tom Marvolo Riddle and his cunning, if disturbing, charms. If there’s one thing everybody loves, it’s a good villain; a protagonist that we love and hate, that we can sympathise with as much as we are repulsed by what they do. In the film franchise, Voldemort was (perhaps rightly) depicted as an unsympathetic character, but his history as an orphan abandoned by his muggle father explains a lot about why Tom Riddle became the psychopathic scourge of the Wizarding World. Exploring Tom’s struggle, from his time at Hogwarts to the vengeful murder of his father and the foundation of the Death Eaters, would be really interesting; forming the basis of a truly thrilling drama series, culminating of course in his fateful trip to the Potter residence…
words by Anneka Honeyball
Hogwarts Uncovered: A Reality Show
While most of these alternative shows rest on areas of unexplored plot development within the series, mine is a totally new (if not wacky) idea. Inspired by the popularity of ITV2 reality shows, I think that what we really need is Hogwarts Uncovered, a mix between Educating Essex and Big Brother. We would get to see the day-to-day gossip in the staffroom and the secret classroom antics, all whilst the teachers fret about this year’s O.W.L pass rates and where it will put them on the league tables. I can imagine some top drama as Snape and McGonagall argue about new teaching methods, Lupin’s love life gets exposed and Dumbledore starts an investigation after someone steals his liquorice snaps from his office. We would then also have the more comic moments with secret love affairs (we all know McGonagall was at it with someone!), classroom jokers and the odd inventive spell that goes awry. All I can say is that I would certainly be addicted to the new series of Hogwarts Uncovered. Oh, the shade of it all!
words by Bruno Russell
Percy Weasley’s redemption arc
One of the most deplorably underrated, and forgotten about (seriously filmmakers- not one overt mention?), subplots of the Potter novels, is that of Percy Weasley. Being the 3rd eldest Weasley child, it was always fascinating to me the way in which the Ministry indoctrinates him to the point that he chooses them over his loving, supportive family. Admittedly, Percy had always been an outsider, but this ostracisation always broke my heart. Even more heartbreaking is that when he finally sees the error in his ways, after roughly 2 years, one of his brothers dies so shortly after. However, I like to think that Fred’s death really led to a reunion of the Weasley family, and Percy worked his arse off to prove that he regretted his former actions.
I would love to see Percy’s life as a Dad explored; what his relationship with his wife Audrey, and his daughters (defo twins) Molly and Lucy would be like in practice. Molly, the ever effervescent Gryffindor personality, would always be a handful, whereas Lucy, the quiet and keen Ravenclaw, would be much more similar to her Dad. I’d love to see Percy getting involved in helping with the cooking when the Weasleys do their family dinners, I’d love to see him panic when Molly comes home with a boy for the first time, I’d love to see him in the sweeter, more tender moments with his wife. Percy Weasley is a really interesting, deeply human character, and one that is not given nearly enough attention.
words by Rehana Nurmahi
The Young Marauders
Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs: four names that are beloved by fans of the Potter series, but really we know very little about them. Add in a young Lily Evans and Severus Snape, a series which looked at some of the most influential figures in the Potter world would add so much colour to the universe. Exploring their world, from the moment they join Hogwarts, to the untimely deaths of Lily and James which destroyed the lives of all six characters, would allow us to understand the motivations of those we know a little more, like Peter, Sirius, and Remus. We have so far only been allowed snapshots of these characters, which really feels a shame as there are so many more stories to tell.
The most pressing reason to explore this era of the Wizarding World are the figures of Lily and James. After all, part of the prophecy which really began Harry’s story, states that his parents defied Voldemort three times – given that Lily and James died at the tender age of 21, I certainly want to see their defiance, their part in the war, and how they dealt with the news that their child could be the saviour of the Wizarding World. But more than that, seeing Hogwarts through a different generation, seeing the Marauders as teenagers and young adults, seeing Lily and James fall in love… these things would enrich this world immensely.
words by Rebecca James