Daniel Radcliffe recently said a Harry Potter reboot is inevitable and fans were outraged.
In an interview with IGN, the 29-year-old said that the ‘sacredness’ surrounding the films in which he played the boy wizard would soon wear off, and that there would likely be new films or even a television series based on JK Rowling’s books.
Unsurprisingly, this offended many Potterheads, as the idea of casting new actors to play Harry, Ron and Hermione probably verges on blasphemy for some.
But why should it? I’m as big a Harry Potter fan as anyone (fight me), but I think a Harry Potter television series could surpass the achievements of the films – so long as it’s done right.
A reboot would give us a chance to see more accurate depictions of our favourite characters. Daniel Radcliffe never had particularly untidy hair, Emma Watson’s front teeth weren’t big and Rupert Grint’s nose just isn’t that long. Sure, they’re the faces we now picture when we think of the golden trio – and they were fantastic – but they weren’t perfect.
Equally, the personalities of these characters were somewhat lost as the complex storylines of the longer books were altered and simplified to squeeze them into feature-length films.
Take Ron, for example. Rather than being shown as immature but quite funny, when Grint’s character is used for comedic effect in the films, we’re almost always encouraged to laugh at him rather than with him. And don’t get me started on how regularly he’s scapegoated as the cause of the trio’s problems.
Hermione, the brightest witch of her age, is hardly shown in the films as the level-headed pragmatist she ought to be. Watson’s character is glamorized and is frequently incapacitated by her emotions. The real Hermione wouldn’t sit crying and need Harry to dance with her to make her feel better – she’d get a grip and figure out the next step towards defeating Voldemort. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with crying or finding comfort from a friend – it’s just, according to the books, that’s not usually Hermione’s style.
Away from the main characters there is much room for improvement too. One of the cardinal sins of the films was the desperately disappointing transfiguration of Ginny from a cool, brazen Quidditch star in the books to a plain wallflower who is shown as little more than Harry’s love interest. Cho Chang even takes one for the team, in a complete storyline switch from the books which sees her blamed for the exposure of Dumbledore’s Army. The list could go on and on.
So why are we revering these films when there is clearly so much about them that could be better? Let’s give it another shot. What have we got to lose? And think of the scope that a television series could offer which the films just couldn’t match in two and a half hours. Each book could be a season, maybe even each chapter an episode. Unlike terrestrial television, streaming services now offer the freedom of variety in season and episode lengths, meaning plots don’t have to be stretched or squeezed to fit accordingly. Tone could vary wildly too. As well as the grandiose yet harrowing Department of Mysteries and Battle of Hogwarts chapters, we could see the lighter side of the trio’s school life, from the quirky mystery of Percy’s secret girlfriend to the tales of Winky the House Elf and Hermione’s Society of the Promotion of Elfish Welfare.
Hell, the props are still sat there in Leavesden for the Warner Bros Studio Tour. Why not make use of them?
It probably won’t be for a few years, and maybe that’s for the best. Harry Potter is a series which enchanted a generation. The films were fun, but the books were magical. Let’s let the dust settle for now, but then let’s have another shot at doing them justice.
Image: Deanna Castings