I am going to start this post by pointing out, as someone with a pretty landmark birthday coming up this year, I am not exactly the target market for Harry Potter, yet somehow, when I mention these books, people of all ages smile and start to talk to me about it. Friends start to talk about which house they are, (If you are wondering I am a Hufflepuff and proud) and it has become an ingrained part of our culture. Geocaching has picked up the phrase Muggle to describe non-geocachers who might spot us, it has been referenced in everything from the Simpsons to Orange is the New Black, and even the biggest of muggles have heard of it.
For me it all started with the hype, there were folks everywhere talking about these three books they had read about a boy wizard, yes they were for kids, but that was not going to matter here, they were good. Eventually I picked up a copy of the first three books for my other-halves birthday knowing he wanted to read them and of course that meant I had to read them too.
I am not sure exactly what it was that first appealed to me about the books, the simple magic of the story or the idea I had that when I was a kid some great adventure was waiting for me just around the corner, and all I needed one day was a letter, someone in a blue box to hold my hand and tell me to run, or if I walked through a wardrobe or mirror I would enter a magical land and here was Harry Potter giving me a little of that feeling back again, not that it ever truly went away.
The writing was crisp and the characters interesting. Having been a bit of a precocious child, it didn’t really surprise me at all that I felt a strong connection with Hermione, her drive, passion and fast learning alienating her a little from those around her, who see her as weird, a teachers pet or maybe just down right bossy, it was great to see a character whose brains and knowledge were respected by her friends, her book learning and intelligence would often save the day, hell we all know Harry would be dead without her.
As the readers matured, along with Harry, so did the books. We had some of his mopey, no one understands me, teenage years. The writing became more complicated with each book and so did the themes. I truly think that is one of the things that has turned this book from a fad to a true classic that has become part of our culture.
These days the Harry Potter hype has not died down, if it was not for the films it could by now have had more of a cult status, but the films brought the books to a new market and revived the passion that some of us already had. Universal Studios has a Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park (which I am going to for Christmas this year along with Disney World) it is clear that this phenomena is going away any time soon.
Thanks to the new film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it is great to see the spark being kept alive, add to this that again we are getting great characters and plot, it is nice to see the franchise going strong. I only hope that in 20 years I can write more about my love of Harry Potter and young kids are still learning of this amazing world as parents and grandparents continue to spread their love for this magical realm.
So I am going to finish this with a little cheese, you still love Harry Potter? Always!