Harry Potter fans were delighted to discover a new entry in the canon today: J.K. Rowling's new Rita Skeeter column on Pottermore gives an update on (some of) our favorite wizards and witches, though it's largely in keeping with the epilogue. (Harry's an auror and married to Ginny; Ron and Hermione are married, etc.) However, after reading and rereading this short story, perhaps there's more to it than just a fun, buzzy update. Maybe it's an elaborate clue that there's more to come in the Potterverse. Let's put on our tinfoil conspiracy-theory hats and take a look.
"We've seen many a famous face from the wizarding world grace the stands here in the Patagonian Desert – Ministers and Presidents, Celestina Warbeck, controversial American wizarding band The Bent-Winged Snitches – all have caused flurries of excitement …"
Celestina Warbeck is already part of the wizarding world, but the Bent-Winged Snitches are not. Who are they? Is this a clue? While that's obviously a quidditch reference, it's also an anagram for "Stitch ends, begin new." Maybe things are starting over!
"But when word swept the campsite and stadium that a certain gang of infamous wizards (no longer the fresh-faced teenagers they were in their heyday, but nevertheless recognisable) had arrived for the final, excitement was beyond anything yet seen."
Yeah, no shit, many people are still pretty into Harry Potter, even over here in Muggle Town.
"About to turn 34, there are a couple of threads of silver in the famous Auror’s black hair, but he continues to wear the distinctive round glasses that some might say are better suited to a style-deficient twelve-year-old. The famous lightning scar has company: Potter is sporting a nasty cut over his right cheekbone … Is the Chosen One embroiled in fresh mysteries that will one day explode upon us all, plunging us into a new age of terror and mayhem?
I don't know, is he? Please, dear God, let the answer be yes.
"Or does his injury have a more humble origin, one that Potter is desperate to hide? Has his wife perhaps cursed him?"
Ginny has been possessed before. Let's assume the idea of "cursing" Harry is just one of Rita's mean gossipy things, but is it so impossible that once you've been possessed by Voldemort, there's a tiny shred of you that always will be? Maybe a kind of secondary horcrux-y kind of thing?
"Should we read anything into the fact that his wife Ginevra has been perfectly happy to leave her husband and children behind in London whilst reporting on this tournament?"
The only thing we should read into that is that Ginny likes her job and we should all be so lucky.
"… Potter and Krum competed against each other in the controversial Triwizard Tournament, but apparently there are no hard feelings, as they embraced upon meeting … After half an hour’s chat, Potter and his sons returned to the campsite where they socialised with the rest of Dumbledore’s Army until the small hours."
Viktor's not just a good quidditch player; he's also pretty brave and powerful in general. Maybe Harry needs his help!
"Weasley, whose famous ginger hair appears to be thinning slightly, entered into employment with the Ministry of Magic alongside Potter, but left only two years later to co-manage the highly successful wizarding joke emporium Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes … Was the work of the Auror Department too much for a man who has admitted that the destruction of He Who Could Not Be Named’s Horcruxes ‘took its toll’ on him? He shows no obvious signs of mental illness from a distance, but the public is not allowed close enough to make a proper assessment."
First of all, it would be shocking if Harry et al. didn't suffer from severe PTSD. They were basically child soldiers. While there does not appear to be a ton of mental-health care in the wizarding world, surely the kids of Hogwarts Class of Whatever could stand to have some counseling. But second of all, duh, of course Ron would rather work at a joke store. Third of all, what a perfect cover for someone gathering intelligence about all the other members of the wizarding world. While nefarious types would of course avoid members of the Ministry of Magic, they'd be far less suspicious of the proprietors of a joke store. It's like how the people on The Americans are "travel agents."
"… Hermione Granger, of course, was always the femme fatale of the group … After a meteoric rise to Deputy Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, she is now tipped to go even higher within the Ministry, and is also mother to son, Hugo, and daughter, Rose. Does Hermione Granger prove that a witch really can have it all? (No – look at her hair.)"
Sexism: alive and well, even in the damn wizarding world.
"Neville Longbottom, now a popular Herbology teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is here in Patagonia with his wife Hannah. Until recently the pair lived above the Leaky Cauldron in London, but rumour has it that Hannah has not only retrained as a Healer, but is applying for the job of Matron at Hogwarts."
Great, that means Neville is down.
"Last of the ringleaders of Dumbledore’s Army is, of course, Luna Lovegood (now married to Rolf Scamander, swarthy grandson of celebrated Magizoologist Newt). Still delightfully eccentric, Luna has been sweeping around the VIP section in robes composed of the flags of all sixteen qualifying countries."
Luna Lovegood, also down.
"Wherever there is a red head one may make an educated guess that it belongs to a Weasley, but it is difficult to tell whether it is George (wealthy co-manager of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes), Charlie (dragon wrangler, still unmarried – why?) or Percy (Head of the Department of Magical Transportation – it’s his fault if the Floo Network’s too busy!)"
This is basically a confirmation that Charlie Weasley is gay. Is there marriage equality in the wizarding world? Perhaps not yet? We spent all that time on the rights of house elves, but nary a mention of the rights of queer witches and wizards. (Nor any mention of gender nonconformity at all.)
"But let us not be severe. Harry Potter and his cohorts never claimed to be perfect! And for those who want to know exactly how imperfect they are, my new biography: Dumbledore’s Army: The Dark Side of the Demob will be available from Flourish and Blotts on July 31st."
July 31 is Harry Potter's birthday. And in meatspace life, July 31 falls during LeakyCon, a giant Potter fan gathering. Seems like a good time to make a big announcement!
Let's note here that this new column maybe technically takes place before the epilogue in Deathly Hallows; Rita Skeeter's writing is dated today, while most fans consider the epilogue to be set in 2017 (though dating conventions are sort of fraught). That said, there's no reason the storm clouds couldn't be gathering, or that this couldn't still be prelude to additional new material. C'mon, J.K.! The world deserves more Potter.