Post-Harry Potter the world wondered what JK Rowling would do with all her time now that the magical world was safe, sound, and waving from the edge of Platform 9 3/4. She didn’t leave us wondering for long. In September 2012, her first adult fiction novel was published and now, only a few years later, we have a first look at the TV adaptation miniseries of The Casual Vacancy for your eyeballs.
If you’re unfamiliar, The Casual Vacancy tells the story of a very small town problem that arises when a community leader dies and leaves a vacant seat on his committee with no obvious person to take it over. Rowling finished her epic novels of wizardry and adventure and took a hard left in storytelling, giving the reading public a completely different and very modern take on English society. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a lovely book. A bit long and very detailed but completely in Rowling’s wheelhouse of beautiful characters and attention to detail.
The trailer for the HBO miniseries adaptation of the novel looks beautiful with a cast that even brings back Harry Potter’s Dumbledore himself with Michael Gambon playing a central character. That’s about where the similarities to Rowling’s other work ends. There is possible murder, socioeconomic repression and segregation, characters with enough complexity that it’s hard to even see their point of view at times, and a young woman at the center of it all who is just trying to survive. The trailer above captures many of the important nuances of the story, and it’s sure to do the novel justice even if certain aspects of the book are inevitably left on the cutting room floor.
Rowling’s other post-Harry Potter work, Cuckoo’s Calling, will also be adapted for the small screen. BBC announced their plans to adapt with Brontë Film and TV this past December.
The Casual Vacancy miniseries begins its run on HBO at the end of next month with the first two parts airing on April 29th and the final part airing the next day, April 30th. That gives you almost exactly a month to get the novel read first. Go forth and read! If you’ve already wandered your way through The Casual Vacancy tell us what you’re looking forward to (or dreading) with the adaptation in the comments below.