Shared Text: ’30 Books That Could Be the Next Harry Potter’

Well, we’ve had a day of Hunger Games posts and a follow-up day of Twilight thoughts; it must be time for some Harry Potter reflections and news. Today, a light and a relatively heavy post on the Hogwarts Saga: the first on Harry’s legacy post Deathly Hallows, the second on literary alchemy’s resurgence in the ’20’s and 30’s parallel to the contemporaneous renewed study of metallurgical and esoteric alchemy.

First, the fun.

I argued this time last year in Christianity Today, as the world braced for the last Harry Potter blockbuster film from Warner Brothers (but… does anyone seriously doubt there will be a re-boot or re-make sooner than we can believe today?), that Harry’s influence on the culture was not over. The final movie represented only the end of the beginning because the tsunami of Potter Mania in the early 21st century had remade the literary landscape: reader expectations for narrative fiction and the experience to be had were re-set at a much greater height — and smarter writers and publishers have naturally rushed to meet those expectations.

Twilight and Hunger Games certainly are the most successful book and movie franchises a la Harry to date but the queue to be the “Next Harry Potter” is quite long. And almost everyone standing in that line is someone in whom serious readers probably would recognize the Potter family resemblance and embrace for the likenesses and differences.

We’ve talked about Divergence, Chaos Walking, and the Leviathan trilogies here and I hope to continue those conversations (because none of the three are Hogwarts clones, if the influence is important). TotalFilm.com has conveniently given us a snapshot, though, of ‘The 30 Books That Could Be the Next Harry Potter’ to make my “it’s only the end of the beginning” point. Working through this line of Harry Heirs will keep The Boy Who Lived alive in our imagination for years, if not decades.

Please take a look and let me know what you think! My youngest boys’ favorite author, after only Jacques and Rowling, is listed as #1 and you will be reading about Artemis Fowl here if you stick around; I’ve got notes on this boy wonder begging for an outlet. I look forward to reading what books pictured here you have read and liked, despised, or can’t wait to re-visit.

Comments

  1. I *love* Artemis Fowl. I right with your boys on that one, though I think Fowl ranks higher than Redwall for me. πŸ™‚ Very much looking forward to reading your thoughts on that series…

  2. Very interesting. As an aside, I was just listening to the Lionsgate fourth quarter earnings conference call for financial analysts (talk about strange ways to get your jollies!) and they have licensed the film rights to the Divergent and Chaos Walking series. Lionsgate is the company that produced both the Twilight series (by the recently acquired Summit studio) and Hunger Games. They are keen to be the number one producer and distributor of young adult films, so let’s hope they start reading your blog — they certainly seem to agree with you on some of the next big things.

  3. I seriously hope it’s not the RL Stine books or Stephen Donaldson’s Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. I tried to get into the last, several times, but could never make it past the first few chapters, even when I was skimming through the text to try to find something interesting happening. It was plain, boring and uninspiring.

    I would have liked to see the Ranger’s Apprentice books by Australian author John Flanagan on such a list. I am reading the second (of 11) to my kids at bedtime and all four are hanging on every word, not to mention my husband. It’s also a coming-of-age tale, also a story of entering into training in a mysterious occupation (rangers are the king’s bow and dagger-wielding spies in 623AD quasi-Britian, aka “Araluen”). Good and evil are at it again, but in this series, the sides are more clear-cut than in Potter, probably because the books are aimed at a slightly younger audience. Which may be the reason this book doesn’t make the TF list. Unfortunately.

  4. Hana wrote:

    [Lionsgate film makers] are keen to be the number one producer and distributor of young adult films, so let’s hope they start reading your blog β€” they certainly seem to agree with you on some of the next big things.

    Given my review of Lionsgate’s hijacking of ‘Hunger Games’ and disdain for movie making in general, especially films derived from texts I think are especially rich in artistry and meaning, I doubt any of the moguls will ever find HogPro blog posts important reading. But I’m guessing that was your ironic point, Hana, for which ‘Thank you!’

    I love the mental picture, however delusional, of a movie mogul deciding to invest in ‘Divergent’ only because of how impressed he was by the parallels between Veronica Roth’s novels and Harry-Bella-and-Katniss drawn out here.

    My boys love the Rangers Apprentice books, too, Sharon. That series is right up there with a set of series about cats and their adventures (The Warriors) and, a family favorite, Hank the Cow Dog (the latter on audio is essential for any kind of car travel).

  5. Kathleen says

    “oh my leg, oh my leg!” fond memories of reading Hank in the car complete with voices…

  6. Indeed, John, you take my meaning perfectly! But I strive to be in a bit more charity with the folks from Lionsgate, who, being but mortal humans, can only ‘see through a glass [a camera lens?], darkly’ πŸ™‚

  7. Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev says

    I thought their ideas of what makes Potter so great were flawed, and so their ideas of what could rise to generate a massive fandom were also flawed. I think we’ve already gone into great detail about why Harry Potter is great, so I’ll just go straight to some books that would make great fandoms.

    According to my sister, Fablehaven and Artemis Fowl were correct choices. There’s a series by Gilbert Morris she says would make an awesome mass fandom.

    The stories I’d personally like to see up there were Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn Trilogy. Magnificently written alternate-history steampunk novels. I wish I knew enough alchemy to see if it isn’t there, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

  8. Fablehaven is a great series and I would love to see it come to life on the big screen. I thought while reading it that it could be “the next Harry Potter”.

  9. Melissa D. Aaron says

    I’m always very leery of tossing around phrases like “the next” anything. Harry Potter is unique. What strikes me about that list is how many dreadful books get multi-million dollar film options, and how many good ones have missed the cut. I would love to see Jasper Fforde become the Next Big Thing. I think it’s very unlikely, but they are incredibly smart books. I would be quite happy to see *The Big Over Easy* as a Brit mini series.

    It’s too soon to see what long-lasting effect the HP books will have, but I’m encouraged by the fact that my little niece and nephew–six and two, respectively–are already huge fans.

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