Writer, LaDarrion Williams, HBCU Harry Potter

Creator Of Harry Potter’s HBCU Reimagining Speaks About The Book

"Blood At The Root" is the first of a three-part series that published on May 7.

Newly published author LaDarrion Williams dived into the journey of making Blood At The Root ahead of its May 7 release. The novel reimagines Harry Potter and his adventures by placing his protagonist at a magical HBCU.

Williams spoke to The Associated Press on how a viral tweet turned his dreams into reality. Williams posed the question, “What if Harry Potter went to a HBCU in the South,” to his X account in 2020, known as Twitter at the time.

However, Williams went through multiple obstacles to get the story out there, originally envisioning the project as a television pilot. The plot remains the same, following the 17-year-old Malik as he enrolls in Caiman University, an HBCU dedicated to educating magical Black students.

“I wrote it as a TV pilot,” explained Williams to AP. I was sharing (the process) online, and people were sending me money with CashApp and Venmo from the U.S., Canada, and even New Zealand. They said, ‘Go make this a short film.'”

After no calls or further meetings to get production off the ground, Williams sunk into a depression. However, after advice from his friend, Williams’ medium for the story shifted to books.

“…I felt I failed people who supported it on social media. It was kind of embarrassing. My friend one day said, “Why don’t you turn it into a book?” With everything that was going on in the world and in America, like the civil unrest, I didn’t think publishing would want this,” stated the author.

In the midst of trying to pursue this story, he met further rejection. However, his luck finally changed when he was offered a 3-book deal in January 2023.

“I sold a book. I didn’t just sell a book; I sold three,” he recalled himself saying upon hearing the news.

Of his main character and the book’s cover art, Williams wanted to remain true to his mission. As a result, his novel showcases a coming-of-age tale with Blackness and magic at the forefront.

“I wanted to create a Black boy from Helena, Alabama, which is where I’m from, who has cool magical powers,” expressed Williams. “I wanted him to have vulnerability and softness. He extends the love he didn’t have as a child to his foster brother. I wanted to create all of that through the lens of magic… I also wanted him in a hoodie on the cover because, you know, black boys in hoodies are often criminalized.”

In response to the possibility of still creating a TV series, he added, “There’s talks about it…I want to recreate that moment when Black Panther dropped, and everybody was just buzzing about it. I want to do that for television. I want that for Black kids.”

Blood at the Root is the first installment of a three-part series and is available now.