|"Are you a wizard or not?"
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- "Although I did feel a bit like a relapsing addict as I sat down to write - the words poured from my pen with frightening ease - I am NOT working on a prequel. Indeed, I've written that clearly at the bottom of the card itself. I just thought that this was the best way to make money for two extremely worthwhile charities."
- —J. K. Rowling[src]
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.
Policemen PC Anderson and Sergeant Fisher are chasing a motorbike which is breaking the speed limit into a dead-end alley. They confront the two youths riding the bike, who introduce themselves as Sirius Black and James Potter. As the policemen attempt to arrest them for speeding and riding without helmets, three men (presumably Death Eaters) on broomsticks fly down the alley towards them. James and Sirius use their wands to lift the police car up to form a barrier, and the broomstick riders crash into it. Sirius and James then leave the frightened policemen in the alley.
From Rowling's explicit cautionary words, it seems that readers' curiosity about what Sirius and James were about to do and who their opponents were is doomed to remain unanswered.
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.
- Anderson (First appearance)
- Fisher (First appearance)
- Fisher's daughter (First mentioned)
- James Potter (First appearance, chronologically)
- Sirius Black (First appearance, chronologically)
- Unidentified guitarist (First mentioned)
- Three unidentified attackers
- Unnamed city (possibly London)
Notes and references
- Sirius and James appear to be in their late teens to the policemen. The story itself is undated with no direct reference to established events, but is said to take place about three years prior to the birth of Harry Potter, thus setting it in 1977.
- Both are wearing "T-shirts emblazoned with a large golden bird". This could be a reference to the Order of the Phoenix or it could be a Golden Snitch .
- When the policemen ask for their names, Sirius gives him three apparently random names: Wilberforce, Bathsheba and Elvendork. The middle name may be a reference to Hogwarts professor Bathsheba Babbling.
- Additionally, the three names given may be the ones of their pursuers, as Sirius might have thought that the policeman was asking for their pursuers' name, but then corrected himself by giving their own names.
- The boys' motorcycle is likely the same one Rubeus Hagrid later borrows from Sirius following James' death in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
- The reason for the three individuals on broomsticks chasing the two is not made clear. The boys' use of magic to defend themselves in front of Muggles may have been a violation of rules set out by the Improper Use of Magic Office, though as they are seventeen they have not have violated the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery.
- Official statement on J.K. Rowling's Official Site
- What's Your Story? official website
- Read the story on CopiedText