‘Harry Potter and the Transmedia Wizarding World’: Paratexts of the Harry Potter Franchise, 2011-17
This doctoral thesis examines five Harry Potter paratexts created between 2011-17 and seeks to understand their impact upon the franchise’s trajectory following the end of the Potter books (in 2007) and films (in 2011). As a piece of long-form analysis, the research represents a significant addition to scholarship on contemporary film franchising and Harry Potter more specifically. The following work shows how the Potter franchise has been purposely sustained, extended and reworked as a result of the proliferation of paratexts, and explores the production contexts of those paratexts as well as their structuring textual concerns. The thesis takes a case study approach of five paratexts created between 2011-17. Although each chapter is dedicated to a specific paratext, the discussions in these chapters are interconnected due to what I note is an increasingly coherent transmedia strategy across the Harry Potter franchise during this period. The first chapter will examine Pottermore (2011—), a website and e-bookstore owned by J.K. Rowling. The second will discuss the ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ theme parks (2011—), spaces that replicate the Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley film sets. The third will look at the ‘Warner Bros. Studio Tour, London: The Making of Harry Potter’ (2012—), a museum and interactive experience based at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden. The fourth is dedicated to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them(2016), the first instalment in a five-film blockbuster series.Finally, the fifth chapter explores the stageplay Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (2016)and its status as a transitional franchising text. This research utilises two methodological frameworks, textual analysis and empirical research, in order to shed light on the importance of paratexts – traditionally considered “ancillary materials” – in understanding how contemporary franchising works. I use Jonathan Gray’s work as a springboard to consider the role of paratexts in transforming the Harry Potter franchise from an adaptation-based phenomenon into a transmedia world-building commercial force.
- PhD