A New Harry Potter Book? My Prediction.

Slate's Culture Blog
June 17 2011 11:53 AM

A New Harry Potter Book? My Prediction.

Participants in a viral marketing campaign initiated by J.K.Rowling turned up a website yesterday, called Pottermore , that suggests that the Harry Potter author will have big newsnext week. At the moment, the only link on the page is to a YouTube channel with acountdown to 12 p.m. British time, June 23, when Rowling will make herannouncement. I did not have the slightest desire to get up for the royalwedding, but I'll be awake and alert at 7 a.m. six days from now.

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But the news will almost certainly be disappointing, becausethe only thing worthy of this sort of hype is news of a new Harry Potter series, and Scholastic has alreadysaid the announcement does not concern a new book. The reigning theoryseems to be that it's a comprehensive website for the series. But to be honest,we don't need a new book about Harry Potter. He's an adult now, settleddown—spoiler alert, I guess—with Ginny Weasley and their three children, theyoungest of whom is nine when the curtain closes on the epilogue in BookSeven . But I believe I have correctly guessed Rowling's plans for anotherseries, whether it's to be announced next week or in years to come. I believethis series will take place in the Potter universe, and concern a characternamed Ted Lupin.

Ted, you will recall, is the orphaned son of Remus Lupin andNymphadora Tonks, both Order of the Phoenix members killed shortly after hisbirth in the final battle with Voldemort's forces. Ted has the makings of suchan ideal protagonist, I find it hard to believe that Rowling would invent himjust to abandon him to the world's fan-fiction writers. I present the followingevidence for why Ted is Rowling's perfect hero for a new series:

  • Like his mother, Ted appears to be a Metamorphmagus , arare condition in which he can alter his appearance at will. (When Remus Lupinannounces Ted's birth to Harry and his friends, he notes that, like Tonks as aninfant, Ted's hair color changes hourly.)
  • He may also be a werewolf, like his father. Idon't know precisely how that works, since werewolfdom is transmitted throughanother werewolf's bite. Wizarding genetics are complicated.
  • He has Harry Potter-like characteristics thatwill make him appealing to fans of the original series. Like Harry, Ted losthis parents to Voldemort as an infant. Harry in fact anticipated this. WhenRemus appeals to Harry to let him accompany him on his search for Horcruxes inthe beginning of Book Seven, Harry refuses him on the grounds that Tonks ispregnant and he does not want the child to be raised without a father.
  • He is Harry Potter's godson, an obvious analogto Harry and Sirius.
  • He has dark wizard ancestors, adding a dimensionto his past that was lacking in Harry Potter's infallible parents. We know fromthe Black family tapestry at 12 Grimmauld Place that Sirius Black had threecousins: Bellatrix, who became Voldemort's cruelest servant; Narcissa, whomarried Lucius Malfoy and spawned Draco; and Andromeda, who was outcast formarrying a Muggle-born wizard, Ted Tonks. Andromeda was Nymphadora's mother.Bellatrix would go on to kill both Sirius and Nymphadora before she herself waskilled. This makes Ted a second cousin to Draco's son Scorpius, who alsoappears in the epilogue.
  • He's a ladies man. In the epilogue, he is seensnogging VictoireWeasley , daughter of Bill Weasley* and the exquisite FleurDelacour.

If I were writing this new series email me, J.K. ! it wouldgo something like this: Shortly after the epilogue, when Ted is just out ofHogwarts, something happens that requires Harry Potter to go abroad or in someother way generally exit the picture, making room for a new storyline and a newhero. (Harry can make Dumbledore-like appearances now and again if necessary.)Ted is training to be an Auror like his mother, a pursuit that has lost itsluster in the years of peace that have followed Voldemort's death. He isreticent about his time at Hogwarts, but we learn that he was in fact aSlytherin, and that he was briefly involved in a gang of students whoincreasingly turned to the dark arts. Those gang members becomesecond-generation Death Eaters and produce the new villain, whom Ted will haveto vanquish. The book almost writes itself.

*Correction, June 22, 2011: This post originally stated that Bill Weasley is a werewolf. He was injured by the werewolf Fenrir Greyback, but did not become a werewolf himself since Greyback was not in wolf form at the time. He did adopt some wolf-like characteristics, such as a preference for very rare steaks.

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Chris Wilson is a Slate contributor.