Comebacks we'd like to see: #17 -- New Harry Potter books

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This post is part of our series ranking the top 25 bygone products and trends we'd like to see return.
Long before I read any of the Harry Potter books, I'd heard about them; working in an English department, it was hard to avoid the excited squeals of my coworkers and students whenever a new one came out. Not wanting to join the hordes of cape-wearing man-children who seemed addicted to the boy wizard, I avoided the series as long as I could. Finally, at the end of fall semester 2001, I decided to take a break from grading. When I got to the movie theater, though, I'd seen everything that was showing, except the Harry Potter movie. Bowing to the inevitable, I decided to give it a shot.

A couple of hours later, I was hooked. I immediately went to Waldenbooks, where I bought a copy of the first book. Around 10 o'clock that night, I was done with it and was dying for the second. All the stores were closed, but I seemed to recall seeing the books at my local 7-11, so I ran over and found book two, The Chamber of Secrets. Somewhere around 7:00 a.m. the next day, bleary-eyed, I returned to the convenience store to pick up The Prisoner of Azkaban. A day or two later, my girlfriend loaned me the latest book, which had yet to come out in paperback. As with all the rest, I burned through The Goblet of Fire. Then the waiting began.

Over the subsequent six years, I've spent a lot of time waiting for J.K. Rowling. I've waited for books to come out and movies to be released. I've waited to see who was cast as Voldemort and who was cast as Sirius Black. I've waited for relationships to develop, conclusions to arrive, and plot points to resolve. In the meantime, my girlfriend became my wife, and we have spent way too much time on geeky debates about the series. When the fifth and six books came out, we each bought a copy because neither of us wanted to wait for the other to finish. When the seventh book arrived, we were strapped for cash, so we only got one copy. She read it first, but was polite enough to burn through it. I helped by keeping the kid out of her way.

Now, of course, there will be no further Harry Potter books. Although I'd gladly buy "Harry Potter and the Thinning Hair," "Harry Potter and the Upsetting Mid-Year Work Review," or even "Harry Potter and the Vaguely Disconcerting Polyps," I know that anything beyond this point will definitely be jumping the shark. For better or worse, Harry Potter is finished as a primary character; his story is done. On the other hand, I still have some hope for his kids, particularly "Albus Severus Potter," whose initials are, interestingly, "ASP." Hmmmm.

In the meantime, I've got the original seven books, and will be going back to them every now and again. I also have some of the novels that inspired Rowling, including C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons. I've got H. Rider Haggard's catalogue and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series. Neil Gaiman is still writing up a storm and there's a rumor that they're going to make American Gods into a movie (I'm still waiting on Good Omens). Although her wizard stories are great, Rowling's greatest achievement was getting the world to read again. Now that she's taking a richly-deserved sabbatical, I'm revisiting a few of my favorites and seeing what else is out there.

At least until she comes out with "Harry Potter and the Incorrigibly Incontinent Puppy." Then all bets are off.

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. No, he doesn't own a cape.

What literary characters would you like to see return?


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