Is it over now, this collective moment? Not really. Not at all.
“Deathly Hallows” is the last official, visual representation of the series but, like Dumbledore’s phoenix rising from the ashes, the end represents new beginnings.
Last month, Rowling announcedPottermore, a not-yet-unveiled Web site whose Twitter feed has close to 170,000 followers despite having 10 tweets. Pottermore has promised to expand the Potterverse, with backstories on minor characters — how Harry’s piggish aunt and uncle first met, how Professor McGonagall once loved a Muggle.
“What we’re going to be getting is J.K.’s text,” says Heidi Tandy, the woman behind Fiction Alley, a well-known fan-fiction site. “Just her text, word for word.” That means that, for the first time in a long time, fans will have new, original material to look forward to. New characters to play at conferences. New romances to imagine. The books have ended, the movies are ending, but true fans have always known that Harry Potter really lives in hearts, not on pages or screens.
“ ‘Harry Potter’ has everything,” says Spartz, the MuggleNet founder. He’s now 24, lives in Chicago and runs a successful ring of community Web sites. “It has good versus evil. Love, sex and war. Right and wrong. Tough moral dilemmas. J.K. Rowling was providing moral guidance to an entire generation of readers. There is no important question left untouched.”
He pauses, pondering the question that launched his meditation.
“How has ‘Harry Potter’ impacted my life? For over a decade, ‘Harry Potter’ was my life.”