While G. Norman Lippert’s novels aren’t quite as masterfully written as J.K. Rowling’s original series, that doesn’t make them any less compelling. I blew through The Curse of the Gatekeeper in a single day, and it was a really enjoyable experience.
Do I have a few reservations about certain plot elements? Sure. That’s natural with fan fiction, just as it is with any kind of adaptation. As Linda Hutcheon writes in A Theory of Adaptation, one of the unique aspects of experiencing an adaptation is that the reader/viewer/listener is almost always comparing the adaptation to the original. Does it measure up? Where is it different? Are those changes working? Does it hold “true” to the original? I have found the same to be true for fan fiction. So yes, there are moments in this novel where I thought to myself, Wait a minute, that doesn’t seem right. The main ones [potential spoiler alert coming!!] are:
- Lucius Malfoy is spearheading the evil plot to bring back Voldy’s “bloodline”…out of love and devotion for his master. Really? Because at the end of the HP series the Malfoys all seemed pretty thoroughly finished with good ol’ Uncle Voldemort, given the entire year of subordination and abuse he’d subjected them to. But okay, I’m willing to go along with Lippert’s vision of the future because old Lucius seems pretty mental at this point, and because it makes for a good story.
- Voldemort made a failsafe plan for his failsafe plan? And then he told his closest cronies about both of them? Hmm…as I recall, Voldy was pretty damn mistrusting of just about everyone, especially those in his inner circle. Constant fear of usurpation, etc. This part of the novel was the only really difficult part for me to swallow, as it was just too inconsistent with Rowling’s character.
Sure, there were a few other small things in there that had me thinking about issues of compatibility, but I’d say that on the whole these are small problems in an otherwise very enjoyable text. And as someone who’s always thirsty for more from the Harry Potter storyworlds, this will have to do until and unless Rowling herself decides to flesh out more of the stories. For now, it’s a fun way to revisit the characters and places Rowling developed so amazingly in the original series and to imagine what this second generation of Potters/Weasleys/Grangers will get themselves into.