July 19, 2007 by Colin
The word’s out, thanks to some clueless bookstore employees and some impulsive online booksellers. The NYTimes tells us that the latest volume of the Harry Potter series is violent:
“…at least a half-dozen characters we have come to know die in these pages, and many others are wounded or tortured. Voldemort and his followers have infiltrated Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic, creating havoc and terror in the Wizard and Muggle worlds alike, and the members of various populations — including elves, goblins and centaurs — are choosing sides.”
This is only logical. Having set up the ideological framework for a world populated by wizards, muggles, wandmaking dwarves and cuddly yet gigantic henchmen, J.K. Rowling has followed the Edgardo Diaz playbook in exquisite detail:
- Identify a trend in popular culture that hasn’t yet accelerated
- Personify that trend with a diverse group of individuals
- Develop a family-friendly storyline and marketing message
- Differentiate your product by emphasizing the attributes and quirks of your characters
- Deploy an aggressively effective multi-channel marketing machine
- Continue to produce product based on the same storyline, despite a changing cast of principal characters
Most importantly, when your principal characters eventually age out of your target market – get rid of them! Replace them with more appealing, more refreshing and more malleable characters.
That was Edgardo Diaz’ script for Menudo, and it’s obviously what J.K. Rowling has in store for Harry Potter and the gang from Hogwarts.
Nothing like a nice slaughter and wholesale cast overhaul to clean the decks for the next iteration of the wizard franchise: a wide range of spin-off books.
After all, Rowling has already announced that she’ll be producing an encyclopedia of spells, characters and place names. This is an excellent first step to ensure the mythology established by the Harry Potter series remains front of mind with readers of all ages and types: pre-teens, teens, adolescents, young adult, mid-age crisis, wiccan …
Next steps? Brand diversification, much like the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Judy Blume and Boy’s Own series.
- Haggrid’s Guide to Outdoor Adventure
- Your Twin Brother’s a Third Wheel at the School Prom
- Distinguishing Family Pets from Family Enemies
- Geocaching by Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs
Books for Young Girls
- Dealing with Others’ Jealousy, by Hermione Granger
- I’ve got a Crush on My Brother’s Friend, by Ginny Weasley
- Undermining the Establishment for Profit, by Lucius Malfoy
- The Dumbledore Way: Harnessing Your Inner Strength
- Oligarchic and Anti-Competitive Behaviour in Diagon Alley
- Long term effects of poor parenting, by Dr. Draco Malfoy
- The Golden Snitch and HyperExtended arms
- Cranial Injuries, Short Term Memory Loss and the Bludger
- Will Those Eyebrows Really Grow Back: a Laboratory Safety Guide
- A Danger and A Benefit: A Dragon’s role in limb loss and reconstruction
For more on how the higher education crowd consider Harry Potter, see insidehighered.com
[tags] Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, Pottermania, Deathly Hallows, Menudo, boy bands, Hermione, Weasley, Dumbledore, Hogwarts [/tags]