Harry Potter is a worldwide phenomenon that has captured the hearts of children and adults alike. Its influence will resound in the art, music, and literature that is produced by fans because of the great love inspired by this series.
By: Lauren Turner
Chattanooga, TN(UTC/The Loop)-Do you believe in magic? That is a question that this famous book series has asked everyone that reads it. But not in an overt, trying to make small children turn to the occult, sort of way. Many have accused J. K. Rowling of that very thing, of course my guess is that none of those people have cracked one page of Harry Potter.
The beauty of Harry Potter is that it integrates the fight between good and evil, one of the most basic story lines, into a coming of age tale that preaches the wonders of love, forgiveness, and even delves into the mysteries of teenage hormones. All of this while remaining both hilarious and terrifying. People that read Harry Potter are shown that the world is a wonderful place full of amazing opportunities, but it is also dark and at times evil.
Harry Potter surfaced on the list of banned books for many schools and stores, and some churches have taken it upon themselves to have book burnings. One pastor in New Mexico, who admitted that he had not read the series stated, “Behind that innocent face is the power of satanic darkness,” he said. “Harry Potter is the devil and he is destroying people.”
At InfoPlease they agree that the series has been demonized, “Ever since becoming popular, the Harry Potter series has been among the most frequently challenged books, as measured by the American Library Association. While the series has been welcomed by many parents and teachers for getting children interested in reading, not to mention being a good story, others feel that the series presents dangerous ideas and attitudes that are bad for readers.”
Emily Openshaw, a junior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, had this to say about Harry Potter. “Harry Potter means the world to me, I grew up with him and as I’ve grown he has grown. So basically Harry Potter is my childhood. And growing up with it and seeing it develop into what it is today has been wonderful. . . and magical.”
And the generation that is in college right now really is the Potter generation. We grew up with the series year by year. And aging along with the characters gave a very unique point of view to some readers, showing them that it doesn’t matter how old you are because you can do great things at any age.
One of the most unique aspects of Harry Potter is what it inspires its readers to do. There have been hundreds of children and adults who have started bands in a genre called Wizard Wrock, and these people would normally never have had the guts or opportunity to perform their music in front of live audiences and sell in on the internet. Fanfiction is also a huge hobby of many Potter fans, where they can rewrite the books or start their own stories completely with Potter characters. Not to mention all the people it has turned on to reading. Some who have never been interested in books before are now great readers all because of Harry Potter.
Looking back the author has much to say about the world. J. K. Rowling writes about loss, poverty, depression, and other hardships because she has lived through them. The series is not a patch of daisies, anyone who has read about dementors (soul-sucking and scabbed creatures that feed on fear) or Umbridge (a teacher who punishes children by having them cut words into their own hands) could attest to that.
Chris Garmon, a UTC junior, affirmed that Harry Potter is a great thing for kids to have in their lives. “Harry Potter was a fantastical childhood escape, and is still an inspirational phenomenon.”
The magic of Harry Potter comes with the power of love, truth, and friendship winning over all else. This theme repeats itself throughout the series, showing its readers that fighting for good is always most important in life.
And that is why so many have been drawn into the world that Rowling spent so much time creating, because we want a hero. We want there to be someone that has to sacrifice and also have the power for mercy and love. We generally want to be that hero, and reading Harry Potter opens up that possibility.
Potter fans have created an entire world out there where they can interact with each other on the internet through various popular sites like Mugglenet, The Leaky Cauldron, and The Harry Potter Lexicon. Fans can also get together at conventions to discuss the books and at the movie premiers where everyone gets to show their colors to the world.
Another UTC junior Kara Livingston shows great respect for Harry Potter. “Harry Potter was what kept me going when I was younger. It inspired me, it engulfed my imagination and it became a part of me. When I felt like I had nothing, I had Harry Potter. As crazy as it sounds I aspired to be like each character; intelligent like Hermione, loyal like Ron, and brave like Harry. They helped to make me the person I am today and I know that no matter how old I am, I will always have Harry Potter.”
Now the series is over, we have reached the stop on this wonderful journey. We have seen Harry discover magic and the wizarding world, Hermione outsmart even the most intelligent of adults, and Ron has made us laugh in desperate situations and found his own strengths. These characters and so many more are the role models we should all want for this generation and generations to come. Children who learn to find themselves through helping others and truly being brave and self-sacrificing.
As fans go to watch Part One of The Deathly Hallows, there is an excitement and also a certain amount of sadness. This is almost the end of Harry Potter in the mainstream after a lifetime of love for these characters. But there will always be people who love the series and want to discuss the literary importance, not to mention the societal importance, of these books that leaped boundaries and brought tears to readers eyes.
© 2006 Warner Bros. Ent.
© 2000 – 2010 The Harry Potter Lexicon