Harry Potter: The Prequel by J.K. Rowling
The Harry Potter Prequel is an 800-word story written by J. K. Rowling, and was published online on June 11th, 2008. Set three years before the birth of Harry Potter, the story recounts an adventure had by Sirius Black and James Potter.
J.K. Rowling announced on May 28, 2008 that she was writing a prequel story for English PEN, the writers' association, and the Dyslexia Society. The story, handwritten on a card, would then be auctioned off alongside similar cards from other authors on June 11th, 2008, with the proceeds going to charity. A book of facsimiles was published in August 2008, allowing fans to own and read the story. As of 2009 the story is no longer officially available online.
The story was one of three Harry Potter writing projects undertaken by Rowling after the publication of the final book, along with The Tales of Beedle the Bard and a yet-to-be-published Harry Potter Encyclopedia project.
I feel like I can no longer call myself a Harry Potter fan, because this short story was “released” ten years ago, and I didn’t know it existed. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Marauders, although as I’ve grown older I recognize that they were definitely bullies. Still, I’ve always wanted Rowling to write a companion series about them (I’m all set with the sequels, plays, etc.). Another reason why I’m flabbergasted that I didn’t know about this short story.
First of all, I need to point out that I really appreciate the Sirius Black pun. This is a four page short story, barely a breath of a story, and Rowling made time to make a joke about Sirius’s name. Thanks for that.
Overall there’s not much to this little story. It’s a fun little glimpse of life before the trio. There’s moments where you get the impression of the edge of fear that the Wizarding World would have been living in at the time. Only a little bit though – the story was mostly James and Sirius being cheeky to a couple of cops in an alley.
The story is so short, I had barely started to read it before it was over. This prequel is just a tease, but a fun one nonetheless.
As a note, this “prequel” was a notecard auctioned off for charity back in 2008. Tragically, the card was stolen in 2017 and has not resurfaced. This short story is not available for purchase, but you can read a transcript of it here.
Are you a Harry Potter fan? Have you read this brief prequel? Tell me your favorite Marauder in the comments!