In just under six hours... the time's come—the final instalment of the multi-billion dollar movie franchise Harry Potter will be released. It’s been ten years in the coming, and I guarantee it will be one of (if not the) biggest box-office event of all time; although the story of Hogwarts is coming to an end on the big screen, the story of Harry Potter is far from over. If you take away the ‘Hollywood,’ you’re left with a legacy that will live on—entertaining, enlightening, and educating—for years and centuries to come.
Eleven years ago, the then mostly unknown author Joanne Rowling was simply sitting on a train when amazing characters and a incredible story came to life in her mind. Back then, I doubt even she knew how much of an impact this was going to have on the world today and on the world of tomorrow. It was on this packed train heading back to London that a quiet, yet very powerful, revolution was born.
Now, the movies aren’t what I want to talk about. Don’t get me wrong, they are exceptional: the actors were chosen perfectly for the characters they portray; the special effects are unbelievable; and the production is close to perfect. Overall, they are movies definitely worth seeing and spending the money to own... I just find there’s no comparison to the books.
When the first book came out, I had no interest or desire to read it. The second one came out... then the third, and I still had no desire. It wasn't until my 3rd year at university that I was forced to read the first book for one of my literary classes. I admit I wasn’t looking forward to it, and I was confused as to why it was even on the reading list. By now, the forth book had just been released, and I have heard all the hype, but still... no desire. But something happened when I reluctantly began to read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I wasn’t even half way through the book when I ran (almost literally) to the book store and bought the next three books. I was hooked. Over the years and three more books being released, I found my self walking my hallway at 3am reading, because if I stopped moving, I would fall asleep, and if I fell asleep, I couldn’t keep reading—as was the case with millions of other people.
Even though a half-dozen or so publishing houses turned her away, Joanne Rowling didn’t give up (incidentally, I wonder if those ‘brilliant’ people who said “no” and turned her away still have jobs... just sayin’) J.K. Rowling created something that transcends anything that’s been published in the past couple of hundred years. Kids who have never willingly picked up a book put down their gameboys, shut off their televisions, and picked up Harry Potter to read. These children, through Rowling’s seven books, developed a desire to read that may never have manifested otherwise. Parents who haven’t read a book since their own school days, picked up Harry Potter to read... rekindling a desire to read that was lost years ago. Grandparents (usually at the urging of their grandchildren) picked up Harry Potter to read... giving them new common ground with their grandchildren, thus, building a bridge over a growing ‘generation gap.’ J.K Rowling had unleashed an indescribable and amazing phenomenon onto the world.
I graduated university with a BA in English Literature. I studied Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, the Brontë Sisters, and many other literary greats, and would easily place Rowling along side these. The writing style of J.K. Rowling is so complex but so simple, which makes it even more complex. Children reading her books have no problems following plot lines, dialogue, or character developments, and yet, adults aren’t bored as they normally are with most children’s books. Her style and depth of designing plots, sub-plots, surroundings, and characters makes everything seem so real and so natural. Everyone is instantly absorbed into the world of Harry Potter—before you realize it, you feel as though you have personally known him for years.
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter goes beyond that of a book, or a movie, or a poster. She launched a revolution that has spread across the globe. The books have been translated into over sixty different languages, have sold over 400 million copies, and have touched the lives (in one way or another) of countless people. Educational institutions, from elementary schools to universities, have added Harry Potter to their reading lists; graduate students are doing theses on the series; and people have begun to pick up books again! Hundreds of years from now, students will be studying Rowling right along side Shakespeare or Dickens.
I would like to congratulate J.K. Rowling on bringing something to the world as powerful as Harry Potter. As a writer, I can only hope to one day produce something even a fraction as impacting as you have. You truly have changed and will continue to change the lives of millions of people as well as the literary world for many, many... many years to come. The story may now be over, but the saga will never end.