This weekend sees the release of the newest Harry Potter movie. I say Harry Potter movie, knowing full-well that the world’s most famous wizard is unlikely to make an appearance, although when magic is involved, I guess you can never be too sure.
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is the latest edition in the second Harry Potter franchise. If you’ve ever wanted to know what Dumbledore got up to in his ill-spent youth then you are in luck, as Rowling sets about adding more and more layers to the characters and plotlines of her ever-expanding universe.
For so many who grew up reading the books, watching the movies, their own lives keeping time with that of Harry, Ron and Hermione, “Harry Potter” became an integral part of growing up. Its place in the cannons of childhood significance is more poignant than a Transformer, a Pikachu or a Care Bear because those things all have a singular time and place. Unlike the aforementioned childhood fads, for many, Harry Potter has grown with his fans through his and their childhoods, into adolescence and has stuck with them into adulthood.
For those who want to keep the Potter wheels turning, these new films should be the ultimate escape from the drudgery of grown-up life. At the same time, there is a brand-new audience waiting to binge in ways only the Netflix generation can. All I’m saying, JK, is there’s no-pressure, just the weight of expectation from an entire generation of disenfranchised millennials who need this to be good, way more than they need a vote of No Confidence in the Chamber of Secrets.
It’s hard to remember a time when there wasn’t something Harry Potter related waiting in the wings. Be it a book launch party at midnight or a movie to help ward off the cold before Christmas. AD Harry Potter is now over 20 years ago. It was a time when Brit Pop was in its death throws, bludgeoned by Rap Metal, Hip Hop and oversized jeans. Tony Blair was still considered cool, it would be 3 years until the collapse of the Twin Towers and 10 until the collapse of the global economy with a further decade (and counting) of austerity measures. When the Philosopher’s Stone was unpackage and placed in book shops in 1998 it was just another book by an unknown author that managed to win a few awards. Sure, it did better than most new books but if you’d picked up a copy of “The Philosopher’s Stone” in 1998 and someone had told you that it would go on to sell over 120 million copies you would have laughed in their face.
The book hints at the vastness of the world that is to come but only those of us gifted with the power of hindsight or Rowling herself could ever have noticed that back in 1998. The clues are all there, that something incredible was on its way but Holmes, Poirot and Rebus couldn’t have cracked Rowling’s code.
However, whilst world domination seemed unlikely, the book was well received, winning the Nestle Smarties award for books aimed at children aged 9-11 years old. It is an award the Rowling would go on to dominate, winning it with the next two books in the series, before, I suspect, other authors were given their chance or her books were deemed too grown-up for 9-11 year-olds. What made the award so special was that the winners were chosen by children. So, from the very beginning, regardless of what critics had to say the fans of Harry Potter knew that Rowling was really onto something special.
This latest incarnation comes at a time when no one doubts the spell-binding appeal of magic and wizards. Rowling has nothing to prove to anyone, having now established herself as one of Britain’s most successful writers. However, does anyone really expect the new films to be as good as those originally novels? Some might even question how much we need to know about Harry’s mum and dad, or a young Snape or Dumbledore. Yet, I suspect that Rowling is itching to prove those doubters wrong, just like she did as she sat in that train station, and first put pen to paper.
Rowling changed the landscape of children’s literature by creating a larger, more immersive world than most children’s writers had ever dared to try before her. She took a traditional story about an orphan, cast aside by the adult world and made him the most important and powerful thing it. She took all the light that comes with tales of heroes and magic and she wrapped them in a darkness rarely found in children’s literature. Harry Potter didn’t just bring wizards and magic onto kids’ bookshelves; those novels opened the door to a world of darkness, of evil and of ultimate sacrifices that gave birth to a new level of expectation in children’s literature, and above all else gained back some ground for paper and ink when the rise of the console looked so unstoppable.
I feel for Newt Scamander, partly because I had to Google him to find out what his name was, but also because I can’t help but feel that he has a big job on his hands, bigger even than Harry because so much is expected of him and because this franchise has so much more to do than the original series of books did. There are gaps to fill in that need to tie in with what we know comes next and because we know where everything is headed we’ll spot the mistakes much more easily than we did before.
I hope that the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise can find the magic that made its predecessor so special. I hope this isn’t the 1980s to Stevie Wonder’s 1970s, because if it is, we still have the 90s to come. Above all else I hope that the fans are left happy and that they’ve been given just enough of that Potter magic to forget about Brexit and fixed odds betting machines for a while.
Wizards and Magic at the Slots
No Wizard would be worth his salt if he couldn’t perform a little slight of hand before he incinerates you in a blazing ball of fire. Street Magic is that every day attainable magic that we can all aspire to, as long as we knuckle down and learn the tricks of the trade. Chances are, you’ll never actually meet a wizard but street magic, card tricks and cutting folks in half is something we all have to experience at some point in our lives. The Street Magic game has all the smooth operating magic of a well-greased street performer. Card tricks and breaking out of handcuffs keep this guy ticking over until he finally decides that it is time to make a large building disappear. The game has a decent selection of bonus features and looks good, with purple, the colour of magic, playing a significant role in the game’s design.
Click here to play the game
Harry Potter would never hand over the rights to a slots developer so Net Entertainment have done the only thing they can do, which is to create a game that looks very similar to the world of Harry Potter but most certainly is not Harry Potter. Yes, the castle in the background looks a lot like Hogwarts, but the important thing is that it is not Hogwarts. There might be owls and wizards and witches all hanging about in dungeons that look similar to those found in Hogwarts, but they are their own unique thing. There’s no quidditch and there’s no lightning bolts on anyone’s forehead, so it clearly is not the same thing. However, if you happen to like Harry Potter and also happen to like playing slots games, then this one is perfect. The game looks amazing and has some really cool bonus features that make it worth checking out.
Click here to play the game
Wizard of Gems
This game is keeping things simple and sticking to two very important types of slots games. Ones that involve wizards and ones that involve gems. This feels a little strange to write but the wizard is also kind of cute in a fuzzy little old guy with huge eyes kind of way. Don’t be fooled by this game. It looks like it has all the trappings of a highly sophisticated slots game but the reality is that this is all very straight forward. If you like a traditional 20 payline celebration of gems and wizardry, then this might just be the game for you.
Click here to play the game
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