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Jan 30

How Did Harry Potter Singlehandedly Change The World?

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How Did Harry Potter Singlehandedly Change The World?

I recently had the occasion to re-read one of the Harry Potter novels and found it even more amazing this time around.  Seeing previews for The Harry Potter theme park at Disney-world was the impetus for my indulgence into past history.  Potter-mania has long waned, but the desire for more Potter has remained high.  The Disney theme park is a good example.

Like many before me, I have visited the theme park, found it interesting and rather exciting.  I have a wand, and other Potter memorabilia, and will visit the theme park again next year.  So what makes this series so important to our culture?  Why did this series become so popular?  How did Harry Potter singlehandedly change the world?  Read on:

The following is from a previous post that I thought relevant again.  Enjoy!

harry potterHarry Potter changed more than most people give him credit for.  True, J.K Rowling created the character called Harry Potter, but it was that character that attracted millions of followers and fans, not Rowling.  The Harry Potter series sold more than 450 million books.  J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series changed the way we look at books.

No one ever thought a young, innocent boy could develop into the world’s most recognized wizard, but indeed that is exactly what happened.  Why?

Rowling’s characters create an instant gravity for the reader.  Most young people relate to Harry in many ways.  For some it is his shy nature.  For others it’s the unbelievable conditions he is forced to live in.  Yet others imagine life as a wizard, battling the evil dark Lord Voldemort. Some all the above combined.

The reader saw Harry as their alter ego – they wanted to be Harry!  That Harry was going through hell in his personal, family and school life only added to his reality.  They associated with him so closely they wanted to be him.

Hermione GrangerMany readers associate with Hermione Granger in similar ways.  She is the ever smart, all knowing genius of the three crusaders.  For many a young girl, being the smart one has been depicted as the nerdy, glasses wearing, ugly girl.  Hermione is none of that. She is rather cute, extremely smart, and amazingly witty.  Those characteristics make her not only different from the stereotypical smart girl, but a role model for what many girls see themselves.

The seven stories were powerful, too.  They took the reader on a roller coaster of emotions, combined with suspense and mystery.  The Harry Potter books allowed the reader to suspend his/her own life and delve into a magical world that only pure imagination could conjure.  It became Okay to dream!

She created a world that, to many, could easily exist today.  Who is to say that we muggles are the only inhabitants of this world?  Could there be a Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?  Why not?  Who’s to say there isn’t such a school right now?

Harry made it okay to read, when reading was becoming passe’.  It was not only okay to read, the Harry Potter culture made it necessary to read or be left behind.  There is nothing like peer pressure to help a cause.   People didn’t clamber for more Rowling, they clambered for more Potter.

Ron WeasleyThe peer pressure became evident not only for young people, but for adults as well.  Many water cooler conversations involved the boy wizard.  If you had not read the books, your co-workers looked at you with  disrespect.  They wondered why you were not in touch with today’s reality – as unreal as it was.

Harry Potter became so real that people around the world were concerned for his well being, his ability to develop his wizardry, and the day he would eventually meet Voldemort in that fateful battle.  Most of the kids in school were reading and discussing the books as if it were real.  Some of them even refused to say Voldemort’s name fearing it would really do them harm.

Harry Potter changed our lives.  He inched his way under our skin and stayed there for the duration of the series.

Harry is the main reason millions of young people, all over the world, began to read again.  Harry created a fantasy that everyone wanted to be involved in.

You can mention the name Harry Potter in just about any country in the world and people will not only recognize the name, they will know more about him then they do the key political officials in their governments.

Ask who he fought against and most will say Voldemort.  They know!  They know because they cared about Harry and wanted to know about his life – everything about his life.

The Dark Lord VoldemortThere are more unofficial fan sites for Harry Potter than you can possibly imagine.  Go to Facebook or Twitter and you can like or follow literally dozens of groups or pages.  The Harry Potter series was more than just another good science fiction fantasy series.   It was more than The Inheritance Cycle, Hunger Games, and the Twilight series too.  They all were good fantasy novels.  But the Potter series did have something special.

What I’m saying, is that Harry Potter has singlehandedly changed the world.  His story has sold more books than any in history.  He has become so real that people refer to him as if he were human.  It’s funny that Potter is better known than Rowling – the person who created him.

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