[Bethany James | Contributing Writer]
Since the very start in 1997, the magical world of Harry Potter has taken our muggle world by storm and has continued to do so right up to now, despite the final film being released three years ago.
J.K. Rowling has kept fans involved by creating ‘Pottermore’ and allowing the public to view concept art, props, and sets of the films at the Warner Brothers studios. More recently, she announced a spin-off trilogy about Newt Scamander, a ‘magizoologist’ and author of ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ – a textbook used by the students at Hogwarts – which will be set 70 years before ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.’ In short, Harry Potter has become so much more than the book series it started as.
The books have been criticised by some who claim that J.K. Rowling got some of her material from other works of fiction such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but there can be no debating that this franchise has enchanted our generation. By the release of the fourth book (before any of the films had been released), there were events being held at bookshops everywhere to entertain the floods of fans who would be queuing outside waiting for midnight, and the final book became the fastest selling book in history! The series made J.K. Rowling the first billionaire author and the brand itself has an estimated worth of somewhere around $15 billion.
Why do we love the wizarding world?
Ashley Hogg, president of the University of Hertfordshire’s very own Harry Potter society, believes that Harry Potter is so popular because “many children have grown up [with it] and it’s a big part of some people’s childhood.”
While this is definitely the case for many fans, lots of adults enjoy the stories too! Another member of the society, Aiden Perrins, thinks this is because it has some “serious plot points and can illicit an emotional response in people of all ages.”
One great thing about Harry Potter is the community it has given rise to. Ashley and Aiden both cited meeting fun, interesting, and like-minded people as a reason they are part of the Harry Potter society.
The other Potter related group on campus is our Quidditch team. The sport obviously originated in the Harry Potter stories but over the last few years has grown to be a sport in its own right. Eric, coach of the Hertfordshire Horntails, says that the Quidditch community is “one of the most accepting, welcoming, loving and caring” communities that he’s ever been involved with.
The thing I personally love the most about the wizarding world of Harry Potter is how much thought and dedication J.K. Rowling put into it. Pottermore is a website where users can explore the stories on a new, interactive level, collecting fun items and ingredients for potion-making along the way. They can also learn spells, compete in duels and even take a quiz to be officially sorted into a house. There are ‘extras’ to be unlocked which are new pieces of writing from J.K. Rowling about different aspects of the world from owls to Azkaban. She goes into depth about a lot of the characters, most recently Dolores Umbridge and Sybill Trelawney, and also talks about seemingly mundane features of the world such as wizarding money and clothing.
Although I assume many authors imagine their fictional worlds in more detail than they include in their works, I love how J.K. Rowling has let fans in on this background knowledge where most haven’t, repeatedly opening up and offering new scenes of an already rich, vibrant and fascinating world to an entire generation that just can’t get enough of Harry Potter.