Despite the first book being released 20 years ago, the Harry Potter is as popular now as it’s ever been–more so if you focus on the merchandising. And more magic is coming this year. Potterheads everywhere can look forward to two new magical books, Harry Potter — A Journey Through the History of Magic and Harry Potter — A History of Magic, which will be released this fall and sold, no doubt, by the bushel.
To be clear, these are not new stories in the Harry Potter saga. Both books focus on giving fans a deeper look at the world of magic and providing background details and context. According to author J.K. Rowling, History of Magic will be aimed more towards adults, while Journey Through the History of Magic will be for readers of all ages. This post-facto historicizing is hardly unprecedented. J.R.R. Tolkien’s son Christopher published The Silmarillion in 1977, several years after his death. Like J.K. Rowling’s coming books, that tome (now a shibboleth of hardcore nerd-dom) contextualized the adventures of a famed protagonist rather than offering a clean new narrative. That hasn’t stopped movie studios from pondering making the thing into a multi-platform epic, so don’t assume that the lack of Harry in the new Potters rules out the possibility of adaptations.
The timing of the books release in fall lines them up for significant holiday sales, especially in light of the Potter movies’ status as a seasonal tradition for many families (largely due to the Christmas-y scenery shot by Chris Columbus). And Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Global Experience Specialists aren’t about to let the company’s publishing wing run away with the thing. It seems likely that the book will be sold out of the Hogsmeade Villages (it’s the all-magic village Harry and his friends would visit during the school year) being installed in select malls later in the year. These villages will feature Olivander’s Wand Shop, amazing set designs, and, of course, lots of merchandise. This is hardly a surprising development, as the massive success of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando and Anaheim has made it clear people want as much magic in their lives as possible.
It also makes sense given how long it has been since Harry Potter’s initial release, as the first generation of Potterheads have now grown up and are starting families of their own. And these magic-loving moms and dads want to make sure their kids fall in love with this fantastical world just like they did. And with malls slowly but surely being hollowed out, they make for the perfect space to give muggles a taste of the wizarding life.