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Feature: Harry Potter

Mystery

We’re unlikely to see a new Harry Potter book or movie till late next year... but what’s likely to be in store for the boy wizard once our next dose of the saga finally arrives? And when might it all end?

Welcome to the drought. With The Order of the Phoenix out in paperback and The Prisoner of Azkaban starting to make its way from the big screen to the shiny disc, it could be almost 18 months before our next dose of Harry Potter. Filming on The Goblet of Fire has already begun, but after the 18-month gap between films two and three, it’s been confirmed that the fourth film won’t be out till November 2005, rather than next summer. As for sixth novel The Half-Blood Prince, JK Rowling’s assured us that her pregnancy won’t delay its completion (and who are we to doubt her?), but it’s not finished yet, and it’ll take time to print. So again, a summer release seems doubtful. It’ll all make for a Potter-tastic Christas next year, but in the meantime we’re left to speculate.

The big news this month is, of course, the first real hint of what’s to come in print – the title of book six. Now what The Half-Breed Prince actually means (except that it’s a lot more sensible than the rumored alternative, ‘The Pillar of Storgé’) is a good question, but we’ve already been assured that the half-breed isn’t either Harry or Lord Voldemort. So taken at face value, it seems to mean that somewhere in the royal family (but of where?) there’s some wizardly blood.

So let’s assume JK Rowling is about to tackle royalty… well, it would make sense. With the war against Voldemort out in the open, there’s got to be international negotiations about a united front, and given JK Rowling’s witty way of commenting on the current-day world (check out The Order of the Phoenix’s take on government interference in schools), some gentle, but barbed comment on the pre-Iraq shenanigans at the Security Council might well be in order… (and what is the Order of the Phoenix but an Alliance of the Willing, preparing for action against a rising enemy who received wisdom insists is no longer a threat?). Considering the way the books sometimes hark back to the England of an earlier age, could royalty still have a major role in the ensuing diplomacy?

Of course, it’ll probably be something totally different. It usually is (maybe Prince’ll be Hary’s new dog).

We know better what to expect from the next movie… which is, about half of the book. Among other things, new director Mike Newell’s already wielded the time-keeping axe by cutting the Dursleys – a somewhat odd decision considering the pivotal role they have to play in book five as Harry’s ultimate protector. It suggests that Newell may be thinking of The Goblet of Fire as a film in its own right rather than part of a series, which is echoed by the decision to drop John Williams from scoring duties. After the darkly acclaimed Prisoner of Azkaban this might be a mistake.. but equally, Azkaban scored by establishing its own style. Perhaps every movie from now on will have its own distinct style, from comedy to horror to… well, who knows?

Find out much more in…
Xposé #88

Image © Visual Imagination Ltd. Harry Potter photos © Warner Bros
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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Xposé #88
September 2004
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