The Forgotten Harry Potter Prequel That Was (Literally) Stolen
Today, the phrase "Harry Potter prequel" fills people with revulsion. We have the Fantastic Beasts movies, which their biggest fans describe as "quite bad, actually." We have the Cursed Child prequel/sequel play, the worst kind of fanfiction. We have an endless stream of information about the history of the wizarding world delivered through official sites, all reminding us that the Harry Potter story worked very well when it was about boarding school but devolved into nonsense when forced to describe an entire universe.
Back in 2008, however, attitudes were very different. A year had passed since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows had come out, and while fans still awaited the last few movie adaptations, there was no sign there'd ever be a new story set in that world. So desperate fans cheered the news that J.K Rowling was writing a prequel and auctioning it off for charity.
The result was 800 words handwritten on a postcard. So, not exactly something you'd set aside a weekend to immerse yourself in. Still, readers appreciated even another small taste of the wizarding world, and for years after this, the phrase "Harry Potter prequel" referred to this postcard.
In the story, Sirius Black and Harry's father James are 18 years old and riding on a motorcycle. Two constables in a police car chase them down for speeding and trap them against a wall. The fat officer knocks off his own rearview mirror with his ass, and then the real threats show up: three evil wizards on broomsticks. Sirius and James magically raise the police car and use it to block the flyers then take off on their bike, which of course flies as well.
Along with other authors, Rowling gave her text to an auction to raise money for a dyslexia charity. Someone bought it for £25,000.
That would have been the end of the story. But nine years later, someone broke into the bidder's home and stole it.
Almost five years have passed since then, and police still haven't managed to recover the stolen story and maybe now never will. The manuscript has already doubtless passed from the burglar to a private collector who has no plans to sell it but instead keeps in a frame in their secret room, along with the illegal hunting trophies and the cursed sword.
If any of you have information that will lead us to the recovery of this story, we are currently offering a reward of $0 (zero dollars). Possibly, we'll offer more for the recovery of Tales of Beedle the Bard, a different wizarding book Rowling handwrote and auctioned off, this one fetching £1.95 million to combat child trafficking ... but someone would have to steal it first.
Top image: J.K. Rowling, West Midlands Police/Twitter