A story about a boy wizard was written twenty years ago, and the world was never quite the same again. Harry Potter is now one of the biggest brands in the world, with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone being one of the nine books in the world which have sold more than a hundred million copies. But what is it about the magic of these books that make them tick? What is it that appeals to people about the Harry Potter books, despite time and age, across geographical divisions, beyond social situations? Srishti Chaudhary attempts to find some answers.
Magic in the Real
An apparently regular, eleven-year-old boy wakes up one day to find out that he is actually a wizard. He is not just a wizard, he’s told, but wizards and witches live secretly across the world, receive magical education, get magical jobs, and on a whole, live magical lives. J.K. Rowling created a fantastical world within the boundaries of a world we have known, and therein lies the genius- much like Hermione’s little bag in the seventh book, which appeared regular on the outside but could contain a plethora of objects. It is also a comment on how magical, beautiful things are all around, and one has to just open their eyes to it, instead of getting lost in the mundane.
God is in the Details
It is for a reason that they say ‘God is in the details’- the minute layering of details in Harry Potter’s magical, unreal world contribute towards making Harry Potter’s magical world real. Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Department of International Magical Co-operation, the Wronski Feint move- all this divine detailing is what brings us back to Harry Potter again and again. The detailing was also what brought Harry Potter’s magic so spectacularly on screen, adding to the Harry Potter brand.
Values That Comfort in Distress
I’ve always maintained that despite being a children’s book, Harry Potter is a book that is mature beyond its years. It’s a novel about death as much as it is about love, and I’ve heard of people finding comfort in Harry Potter after losing their loved ones or being in a distressing situation. “Do you think those who love us ever truly leave us?” Dumbledore asks Harry, and the phrase is like a familiar handing leading us though darkness. I too find hope in Harry Potter, not in escaping from the real to the magical, but in values that are true and universal, across the boundaries of reality.
Portrayal of Relationships
The friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione is something that most of us can only aspire for in our lives. Friendships that bring out the best of courage and loyalty from within you are few and far, and ultimately to be deeply valued. The relationship between Harry and Dumbledore is another one which is set as a great example of how a great teacher can change your life.
Harry Potter- Beyond Mediums
Harry potter is now something which has extended beyond mediums- video games, movies, books, theatre, illustrated books, and merchandise are some of the areas where Harry Potter has left its mark. One can consume the magical world in various different formats, each of which add and contribute to this world in its own way.
Happy birthday Harry!
Srishti Chaudhary is a student of Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh and credits her desire to be a writer to J.K. Rowling. She frequently curates Harry Potter themed events which can be viewed on her Facebook page here. You can read her short stories published on Juggernaut here . She’s publishing her debut fiction novel with penguin Random House in 2019.
Publisher’s Note: Publishing is still to witness something of this scale since the days of Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling has inspired a generation of readers and encouraged them to write- will you be the next Rowling? Check out our roster of contests and be discovered by Juggernaut- the Juggernaut Short Story prize is a prize that wants to discover writers, and it has a cash prize of Rs. 25,000 for the top winner!
Check it out here.