New Harry Potter books continue to weave the magic

Twenty years on, the boy wizard is still popular enough to inspire an exhibtion

JK Rowling in 2007
JK Rowling at a signing of the final Harry Potter novel back in 2007
(Image credit: Cate Gillon/Getty Images)

Two new Harry Potter books are set to be released in October to coincide with a new exhibition about JK Rowling's fantasy series.

Publisher Bloomsbury announced the publication of the books to tie in with the upcoming British Library exhibition Harry Potter: A History of Magic, which runs from 20 October to the end of February 2018.

The books explore the magical world of Harry Potter, but are not new novels or stories about the original characters.

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Harry Potter: A History of Magic, the book of the exhibition, will outline the curriculum at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, including herbology, astronomy and care of magical creatures, while Harry Potter: A Journey Through the History of Magic will present a more historical account of Harry Potter's world, delving into the stories behind spells, magical creatures, and wizards and witches.

The exhibition will include previously unseen sketches and pages from Rowling's manuscripts, illustrations from Jim Kay and artefacts from the library archives.

Together with the books, it represents the ever-growing realm of Potterdom experiences, feeding a seemingly unquenchable demand for the fictional world Rowling created more than 20 years ago.

Earlier this week, the Financial Times reported on how publishing group Bloomsbury is reaping the revival of the Harry Potter franchise.

Quarterly revenues were up 19 per cent in the three months to March year-on-year. The Harry Potter series still ranks among the publisher’s bestsellers, alongside Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology, despite the last novel being published in 2007.

It continues to flourish thanks to a series of spin-off books such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, films based on those books and the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play currently in London's West End.

Writers have long predicted the demise of the Potter phenomenon. Tanya Gold, in The Guardian in 2011, dubbed the release of the last film in the main series the "beginning of an end".

Nevertheless, Pottermania remains a global phenomenon, as Rosa Silverman in the Daily Telegraph reports. The boy wizard has cast his spell over swathes of the world's readers, young and old, working "the kind of magic most publishers could only dream of".

If, as Silverman argues, the boy wizard has inspired "a devotion among fans last seen around the time of Jesus Christ", it may be some time before Potterdom wanes.

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