“It’s important to remember that we all have magic inside us.” (J.K. Rowling, scholastic book fair promotion, October 1999) One of the most influential novels of this generation is the Harry Potter Saga. Since the first book was published in 1997 these novels take you on a breath-taking adventure through witch-craft and wizardry. How has this saga written by J.K. Rowling been an influence on society you ask? Come explore how Hogwarts the school of witch-craft and wizardry made its way from a small fantasy school in England to a worldwide phenomenon.
It all starts with the author; J.K Rowling is the master-mind behind these magical books.
Born on July 31st, 1965 as Joanne Rowling she decided to go under the name J.K for her books. She chose this because her key target readers were young boys and she thought that they would not want to read a book by a female author although she was mistaken. The idea came to her while she was on a four hour delayed train trip from Manchester, England to London.
She saw a young boy sitting across from her and started to create a story for this him. She decided his name would be Harry and he was on his way to attend his first year at a school as a wizard. This is what started the successful journey that would change reading for our generation. The Harry Potter saga is made up of seven novels. (Listed below in order) * Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone ( Sorcerer’s Stone)
* Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
* Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
* Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
* Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
* Harry Potter and the Half –Blood Prince
* Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
These books follow the life of Harry Potter a young wizard who has been through something you cannot imagine.
Both of his parents were murdered when he was just a baby by Lord Voldemort ( who plays the villain in the story). Harry Potter was present while this happened but he survived the killing curse with only a minor scar on his forehead. He survived because mother’s love for him was so powerful that it somehow protected him from the curse that took his parents lives. Since he was orphaned he was living with his aunt, uncle and cousin just outside of London, England. When he turned eleven years old he received an invitation to attend the Hogwarts school of Witch-craft and Wizardry because he was wizard. While on his way to Hogwarts he comes to learn that he is famous for the events that lead him to have just mere scar on his forehead and being the only wizard to survive a killing curse.
On the Hogwarts express he meets two young wizards who eventually become his best friends, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasely. Each book is a new school year which comes with new tasks and new level of maturity. Throughout the novels we come to understand that Harry Potter has the same problems as a everyday teenager but there is extra level of responsibility because along with magic comes consequences. There is two ways that magic can be used. There’s good magic but there is also dark magic and both of these are seen within the Harry Potter novels. Voldemort being the villain is constantly in a fight with Harry. This is where the theme of the story comes in. The theme of the Harry Potter novels is good vs. evil. Harry represents the good character and Voldemort represents the evil.
The only way for Harry to be free of the evil spirit is to kill him. Harry uses dark magic to do so but uses it in defense. Along every step of the way Harry’s two best friends where there to help. When he needed advice or someone to lean on the both Ron and Hermione were always there. Without them Harry Potter would never have been able to demolish the evil character and enjoy his life to the fullest. That is the moral of the story, love can overcome evil and if you have support system you can do anything. That is something as human beings we should keep with us for all time. Morals are something we can learn from reading but because sometimes we get distracted by technology and materialistic items we forget that. J.K Rowling was taking on a generation that was attached to technology and attracting them back to reading. This may be the largest impact the Harry Potter Saga has had on society. Reading is somehow lost in this generation and many people do not realize the importance of reading.
Reading enhances vocabulary, helps speech, and really broadens a person’s understanding and tolerance. Reading always teaches you something, from Harry Potter we learn that evil cannot stand in the way of love, and no matter what has happened you can always get through it if you have people to support you. J.K Rowling also focused on one other important detail, imagination. Reading allows you to use your imagination to come up with scenarios for you self. It allows you to build your artistic ability and creativity by doing so.
Creativity stems from imagination; this means without an active imagination there would be no creativity whatsoever. Imagination allows you to transport into a fantasy world and experience things you would not be able to in reality. One important thing about imagination and creativity is that is undefined. Every single person views it differently and there is no right or wrong answer. J.K Rowling took this into consideration while writing her books and many people think because she created such a conversely topic that it opened the public up to the books. But one thing everyone can agree on is that this book changed our generation. Michelle McMorrow Ramsell the director of Tuscarawas Public Library says in a news paper article that:
“The popularity of the Harry Potter series made reading a cool thing and made reading a cool thing to talk about with friends. The time that Harry Potter was released was is when technology started to become a major part in our generation. Harry Potter books got millions of people involved from the middle-school age level and up.” This is one of the reasons Harry Potter is such an influential book. Not only did it bring people back into reading but it also has characters that people can relate to. J.K Rowling started to write because she was an English major and it was a passion of hers but as she got more into depth with the books she started to make all the characters relatable. She started writing the book when her mother fell ill, but quickly after her mother passed away and that is when she decided she would use this idea for the book. She knew what it felt like to lose someone who was so important so that is where she came up with the idea for Harry to lose his parents.
Many people know what it is like to lose someone important to them and when someone else dealing with the same thing it makes you feel like you are not alone. J.K Rowling was diagnosed with clinical depression in 1993, she needed a way to escape real life and she chose this with Harry Potter. She decided to add the dementors, the creatures who are known as the soul-sucking creatures who are constantly after Harry because of the way she felt. She thought that a good way to come out of depression is to be sidetracked in a way, and Harry Potter was her way out of reality and she took that into consideration. She also tried to relate most of her characters to people she knew when she was younger. J.K Rowling says that she sees a lot of herself in Hermione. Hermione comes off as a know it all sometimes and J.K says that’s how many people saw her when she was young. The Wesely’s were a poor family that did not have much, she was able to relate to this because before Harry Potter she was in that place for a long time.
Ron was also based on J.K Rowling’s best friend Shane Harris. She also saw herself as Harry because there was always something she was trying to fix and she was not a quitter. She was never going to give up in what she believed in and it helped her get through many hardships she faced throughout her life just like him. Reading books can allow you to escape reality and maybe even sometimes solve a problem which is what she was trying to accomplish. The Harry Potter books were such a success that they were turned into a film series starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. The entire film series made 7.7 billion dollars and is also one of the top highest grossing films of all time. The first movie premiered in 2001 and the last being in two parts finished in 2011. Over the last ten years J.K Rowling worked closely with the script writers because she wanted it as close to the books as possible. The movies success made the young actors Hollywood superstars and it also had a huge impact to our generation.
The movies and books are translated into 67 different languages, so no matter where you live or what language you speak you can get a taste of the magic. It was a family movie that everyone can enjoy together and seeing the magic come alive on screen really touched people all over the world and that also made an impact on society. Many things have evolved from the novels and the movie is not the only one. On June 18th 2010, Universal Studio’s opened up a new Theme park named: The Wizarding world of Harry Potter. Here you can experience the magic of Hogwarts in real life. You can you visit the Hogwarts castle, Three-broom sticks diner, Honeydukes sweet shop, Ollivander’s wand shop, Zonko’s joke store, and dervish and banges quidditch equipment store. These are all places that are in the movies and books and after ten years there finally a reality. “I used to leave set wishing I was at Hogwarts and that Harry Potter was real life. I got to experience the magic of it but normal kids didn’t and now because of the theme park they can, and it’s wicked.” – Daniel Radcliffe( interview in 2010 about the Theme Park)
This is a huge impact on society because there is not anything like this visting the theme park gives you the full experience and your imagination really comes to life. Daniel Radcliffe believes that “The wizarding world of Harry Potter has the potential to be a fantastic memory that kids will take with them, that will be something that stands out with them for a long time.” ( interview about the theme park 2010) This is a true fact and everyone who visits seems to capture some of the joy and take it with them where ever they may go. Pottermore is also another place to experience the Hogwarts school of witch-craft and wizardry. A website created by J.K Rowling in order to keep the Harry Potter Saga alive after the seventh book and the eighth movie being completed. She did this in response to her fan base being so strong. “So I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you because no author could of asked for a more wonderful, diverse readership.
I’m thrilled to say that I’m now in a position to give you something unique. An online reading experience unlike any other and its called Pottermore. It’s the same story with a few crucial editions; the most important one is you. Just as the experience of reading requires the imagination of the author and reader work together to create the story, so Pottermore will be built in part by you the reader. The digital generation will be able to enjoy a safe, unique online reading experience built around the Harry Potter books. Pottermore will be the place where fans of any age can share, participate in and re-discover the stories. And I will be sharing additional information that I’ve been holding for years about the world of Harry Potter. I hope to see you soon.” (J.K. Rowling on Pottermore.com) By visiting this website you can go through journeys of the books and through every chapter you visit you learn something new about the wizarding world.
Like the books and movies you get sorted into a house: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin, here you get to experience life as if you were a student. Just like the book you earn house points, make friends from many houses, brew positions, casts spells, attend quidditch matches , take journeys through diagon ailey ( located in London where the shops are), visit the wizarding bank and really experience life as a virtual Hogwarts student. As you can see the Harry Potter novels really do influence society.
There has been over a million copies of the books sold, eight successful films translated into 67 languages, a enchanting theme – park, amazing websites, and even merchandise which includes, shirts, stickers, hats, sweatshirts, wands, anything you can think of. It is a spectacular story that has transformed reading. Most people before the Harry Potter series thought reading was boring and that TV. and the internet were more entertaining, but after reading it they changed their mind. J.K Rowling created an imaginary story that was still relatable and people will remember this book for years to come. “There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place, and I feel I completed this task with Harry Potter.” ( J.K. Rowling on the success of her novels.)