Harry Potter and the Unbreakable Brand
Can the boy who lived stand the brand test of time?
If you were born in the late ’80s or early ’90s, chances are you’re a Harry Potter fan. And if you’re a Harry Potter fan, I’ll assume you have heard about the newest release by J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the latest and supposedly last installment of the franchise. The book, a printed script from the new play co-written by Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany, sold more than 2 million copies in 48 hours. I think it’s safe to say, the Harry Potter fandom is alive and well. And so is the Harry Potter brand.
Sadly, not all fans are loving this book, and there are a couple reasons why. First, many are complaining about the format of the book. It is a printed version of the script. It is not a novel, and it doesn’t follow the usual Harry Potter formula.
Secondly, it’s apparent that Rowling’s involvement with the script was minimal compared to the previous books. The voice of the novel reads more like a fan fiction rather than a Rowling original, and there are some minor discrepancies in the wizarding world that Potter fans have picked up on. (Spoilers)
There has even been backlash on social media. Fans have been warning others not to purchase the book, citing how difficult it was to read.
Despite some fans’ disappointment, Harry Potter is as popular as ever, and the script is projected to be the fastest selling book of 2016. This raises an interesting question: is the Harry Potter brand unbreakable? From books to films, theme parks to plays, it seems anything with the Harry Potter name is destined for greatness. My theory is, if you put the Harry Potter name on a product, especially one approved by Rowling herself, the fans will come. Only time will tell how long the brand can maintain popularity. But it sure seems like it is being nurtured. We’ve got a new play. A new book. A new film set to release in November that already has a confirmed sequel (!!). Add to that the support of the best fans, and I have a feeling Harry Potter is here to stay.
My opinion? I think the script/book was great. But is it my new favorite Harry Potter story? Not even close. I didn’t have insanely high expectations, and I knew it would be different than what we have come to expect. In my eyes, it was a nice extension of the universe I have come to love. I eat up any new bits of the Harry Potter world, and if bears the brand stamp approval by J.K. Rowling, it’s good enough for me. I mean honestly, I would probably buy Harry Potter dog shampoo if they sold it – and I don’t even own a dog.
Long live Harry Potter and the Harry Potter brand! And if you’re not on Pottermore yet, you’re missing out!