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Wingardium Leviosa: Pottermania continues to reach new heights
There’s magic in the air as fans all over the world are preparing themselves for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, set to arrive in theaters tonight at midnight. The buzz surrounding the film is by no means temporary—readers and critics have been raving about the Harry Potter series for over a decade. This film is part of a larger cultural phenomenon that has taken our generation by storm. As the movie series comes to an end, one wonders what the future holds for Harry Potter.
The success of the series is clearly visible in the effect it has had on our generation. The International Confederation of Wizards would have a heart attack if they knew how the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy was being treated nowadays. This last weekend, hundreds of avid fans took to New York to participate in the Quidditch World Cup (Middlebury College pulled out a big win in the finals). With the impending release of the movie, Harry Potter parties are a new trend, featuring muggle versions of butterbeer and firewhiskey. Before Harry Potter midnight release parties at Barnes and Noble, the thought of donning riddikulus costumes to go wait in line to read a book at midnight was … well, ridiculous. Now, attending book releases is a key part of being a true Potter fan.
What is it about the series, though, that makes it so popular and successful? The devotion to these novels stems from much more than an innovative plot or the compelling scenery that Rowling develops. There are themes in Harry Potter to which we can all relate. The events in the novels aren’t all otherworldly. Making new friends, the awkwardness of the first date, and the loss of a loved one are experiences we’ve all had, and the novels’ deep exploration of these themes helps make them so successful. The characters face day-to-day life just as we do, and we can see ourselves in them and relate to them.
We here at Georgetown have an especially strong connection to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Healy’s many turrets and towers are reminiscent of Hogwarts’s architecture. The eerie tunnels under Healy mimic the secret corridors that weave through Hogwarts. And am I the only one who thinks that the first floor of Lauinger bears an odd resemblance to Snape’s cold, dark potions dungeon? However, these similarities are not only architectural, they’re also institutional. At the behest of the student body, Professor Carol Dover has even developed a Harry Potter class that dives into the significant themes of the book, exploring the inspiration behind important aspects of the series.
Now that the series’ movie franchise is reaching its end, will Harry Potter’s spell over our everyday lives be broken? By the power of the Elder Wand, no. What made the books so great for our generation is that we grew up with these characters. They aged with us, facing the same awkward teen problems we faced (though curiously this did not include acne … must be the magic). Now, with the novels finished and the movie franchise coming to a close, the question remains whether future generations will be able to enjoy Harry Potter as much as we have.
I think that Harry Potter, like Tupac, will live forever. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, J. K. Rowling hinted that there could be more Harry Potter books in the future, saying, “I think I am done, but you never know.” Rowling has already released mini-books, like Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and there are countless other Harry Potter-themed novels which she could write—I, for one, would love to see Hogwarts, A History.
The Harry Potter World theme park in Florida has already been a huge success, so much so that there are already plans to expand it, ensuring that the magic of Harry Potter will continue to charm generations to come. If nothing else, Harry Potter presents, at its most basic level, the age-old, timeless battle of good versus evil, a message that could keep its popularity alive for a long time hereafter.
But for now, I am currently re-reading the seventh book to prepare for the film premiering tonight. At midnight, I will have a date with destiny, popcorn, and my wand.