If there is one thing that’s seems endemic at the moment it is the fact that certain book series continue to expand past the initial series. Instantly I think of Shadowhunters, The Grishaverse, Harry Potter (although that’s more in film than actual books), Shatter Me
They’re so popular and hyped, and it gets me thinking when is enough enough?
I remember something Laini Taylor said at her Muse of Nightmares Liverpool meet last year that she builds the world just enough so that readers can fill in the gaps with their own imagination and world building. I’ve started to get the feeling this needs to happen more, not just for readers but for authors as well so we don’t fall into the trap of not discovering brand new worlds beyond those already written and imagined.
I don’t know if it is just me but I’ve had enough of needing to know more about The Wizarding World, the Shadowhunter World now seems plenty big enough and I don’t know if I want anything more from other prominent worlds.
I suppose I can understand the desire to write series after series if the world is extensive but where does one stop because essentially it could go on and on and on?
If you’ve been with a series since childhood, there’s always that fear of losing the nostalgia, knowing why you loved these characters and their story in the first place. For me with the Shadowhunters series, Queen of Air and Darkness made me realise I didn’t want to know what happened to Jace, Clary and the rest of the TMI gang when they made an appearance. I wanted to solely remember them in their TMI situation because that’s where they mean something to me. I was satisfied with their ending in City of Heavenly Fire. I required nothing else, and if I did finish reading Queen of Air and Darkness, it would have taken away my idea of what happened to them. I finish their story how and where I would want it to end and that’s a big thing as it means I can leave it nicely wrapped up with a closed ending and move on. That way, it’s there in a bubble when I want to revisit it and that bubble comfortably and gradually expands as I discover something different about a particular detail or plot point, not because there is another book or series added to it sometime in the future.
I have exactly the same feelings with the Wizarding World and Harry Potter. I don’t need Fantastic Beasts or The Cursed Child to exist. In fact The Cursed Child completely warps everything I imagine happening post-Deathly Hallows epilogue. All I personally need from the world is for it to be there. I want to be in Hogwarts, wander down Diagon Alley, and cast a few spells. I don’t need any more, whether it is backstory from the 1920s or any future happenings. To continue my metaphor, it’s already a fully-formed bubble. It’s as large as it needs to be and imagination is there to fill in those important missing details.
I’m not necessarily answering the question of when series should stop expanding as I don’t think there is a straight answer and it will be different for all of us. Some of us want more from a world, some of us don’t. For me, I think I’m trying to avoid the “now is the time to stop reading more from this world” heartbreak I’ve been through with Shadowhunters, and I want authors to finally take control over how many series they write within the same world. I also want to see how they build another world, one with completely different systems, rules and characters. I wasn’t bothered with King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo but I am definitely going to be all over the Adult book that was recently announced.
Now I’ve said all that, do I have any exceptions to this ramble?
The easy answer is yes and the one series I can think of right now is His Dark Materials and the spin off series The Book of Dust that is now published and being written. This is an exception as it is a world I’ve revisited within the last year and I appreciate its intricacy and complexity much more than when I was a child. It’s also a world steeped in science, religion and politics that demands expansion and further exploration.
Apart from that, I don’t have another one and I don’t know what else to say.
When do you think series should stop expanding?
Where should the line be drawn between readers using imagination to expand worlds and authors expanding worlds with more series?
If you got through this long ramble, I applaud your time and patience.
As always thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!