Greatness is a word that is thrown around far too often these days. The greatest this, and the greatest that; Tiger Words is the world’s greatest golfer. Oh wait, never mind. Breaking Bad was the greatest television drama (true), or the new Star Wars movie will be the greatest episode ever (false). Shoot, you can even find the world’s greatest cup of coffee in New York; actually, it was just the “world’s best”, but I digress.
In my lifetime, there have only been two examples of things that were truly awe inspiringly, eminently great: Michael Jordan and J.K. Rowling. Period. No one can argue that their body of work in their respective field is secondary to anyone else. Their work, what they brought to the table, was truly an example of greatness. And greatness leaves us yearning for more, thirsting for another drink from the well. Sometimes that works out, and sometimes Michael Jordan wears a Wizards jersey.
Well the thirst for greatness has revealed itself yet again. If you call yourself a “fan” of the Harry Potter series, you are likely aware of two major events that have left millions of people clamoring for more. The most imminent of which is J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997-2013, written not by Rowling, but by Phillip Errington, who is the Director of Children’s Books at Sotheby’s.
The announcement of the April 12th release date in the US immediately set the Potterverse and all of its inhabitants on fire. The bibliography recounts the workings of Rowling as she created and penned the Harry Potter series, and many hidden nuggets and facts about the process and the story. Be it alternative names for some of the books, to the struggles she fought in writing, and changing and perfecting the beloved characters, the bibliography offers a glance back into the magical world that seemingly came to an end on July 21st of 2007.
While it is not a continuation of the Harry Potter story, or really any of the wizarding world, the bibliography does offer the opportunity to see how greatness worked behind the scenes. And for a fan base that spent years feasting on small clues like occlumency, and just what was so special about Harry having Lilly’s green eyes, this provides a new smorgasbord for the oh so hungry fan base to feast upon. In fact, the desire for more Rowling information is so great, UK versions of the Bibliography which were released in February are selling on Amazon for over $120. But greatness, true greatness, inspires that type of desire. And at this point, it should be enough to hold fan’s appetite over for a little while.
At least, that is, until November 18, 2016, when the new film trilogy Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based on a book of the same name, comes to a theater near you. As the concept was developed and screen written by Rowling, it will be the first look through the authors eyes into the wizarding world in nearly 10 years. Most true Potter fans have read the book and its fun play on the text book that Harry, Ron, and Hermione used in their first years. But that was more of a text book, than a story.
And here is where the real test begins. Will fans of the books see the same magical, breathe taking story telling we have come to expect? Or will she dictate the story to be different; to be in the wizarding world, but with a different story telling lens? How do you take a text book, and turn it into a story. Truthfully, if anyone can pull it off, certainly it is Rowling.
Sometimes greatness can come back, as Michael did in 1995. Perhaps Rowling has 3 more championship runs left in her, like Jordan did. Or perhaps she’s slipping into her Wizards jersey (pun intended). One thing is for sure, we’ll all be ready to consume either way. We will be there, because no one wants to miss a chance of watching true greatness.