The Harry Potter Generation is a term thrown about a lot, but what does it really mean? Well to me, it means a generation of people who experienced something unique. Something that no others after can experience in the same way. The people who waited up late every book and/or film release. The people who queued up for hours, who stayed up for two days to a week to read the new book from cover to cover, who – despite any other differences that would otherwise have never brought them together – found one another through the stories. The Harry Potter generation is a magnificent thing, It means so much to so many people, myself included.
But what about it captured such a large audience? What makes Harry Potter so popular, even now?
It is inclusive
Harry Potter isn’t based on men always being the greatest (hello, Hermione? Ginny? McGonagall? Molly? Bellatrix? Need I go on…?). It isn’t just about children, the books grow older with the readers, with the storyline getting darker and darker as it goes on. It isn’t as simple as good conquers evil, so many characters from the good side die despite everyones best effort (more on this later). It is something that stretches past boundaries, past preconceived ideas about everything. Yet it still is based in another realm of every day life. It runs on the idea that all of this is possible, that magic really could exist and just be hidden.
On that vein, Jo Rowling has always been a strong advocate for LGBT+ rights, and a lot of the community has strong feelings towards the stories. Sexuality and gender were not big things in the books, Dumbledore was announced to be gay in a press conference and a lot of people didn’t like it becuase it seemed like she could have written about it in the book. Yet I am of the thought that it is great! She didn’t need to tell everyone in the book because it wasn’t relevant to the story. It wasn’t important. She never said he was straight, she hasn’t specified anyone’s sexualities. Just that they have dated certain people. Who’s to say that none of the characters are bisexual? Those into Harry Potter fanfiction will attest to the fact that there are loads of people who think that Draco and Harry would be a great pairing!
Harry Potter is accepting. It has given people a place to feel comfortable.
It has created spin off’s
The fandom has gone one step further and created things from the original books.
- Wizard Rock bands such as Harry and the Potters, Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls and The Whomping Willows have been created
- Potter Puppet Pals became a thing
- Starkid wrote and performed three whole musicals based on the original books!
- Muggle quidditch is now an internationally played sport which got it’s origins from the original story (albeit now it is much more distanced)
It has just captivated so many people into making it go further than before look at a Harry Potter book and I don’t just think about the story, I think of everything it means, everything that has come of it. It brings people home I am not the first and I am not the only person to ever say that Harry Potter has helped my mental health but I would be lying if I said it hadn’t. The books gave and still do give me chance to escape. They give my head and heart a break, allow me to think about Harry’s story, Harry’s heartache, Harry’s love. It tells me that anything is possible.
I read the books or watch the films and I see the dementors and remember that they are Jo Rowling’s physical embodiment of depression. They represent all of those bad feelings, the soul being sucked out and leaving a body emotionless, the darkness you feel. I read about them and see the patronuses, the happy thoughts battling to defeat them. How the extremely happy thoughts can beat the depression, but it takes a hell of a lot of work and can leave you exhausted afterwards. It shows that it doesn’t always work and that is okay, because there is someone nearby who can help in one way or another. J.K Rowling said at the final première a quote that will stay in every Potterhead’s mind.
Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.
And it is home. To me and to thousands upon millions of people out there. Even those people who say they have moved on, who used to love the stories but see them now as children’s books. They may say that, but leave them alone in a room with all of the books and watch them pick them up. Watch the flicker of the lost child flash across their faces. Harry Potter never truly leaves a person once it has touched their heart.
It was such a significant part of so many childhoods and people have gone on to enjoy it as adults
Harry Potter was the first book I enjoyed reading from cover to cover and it was the first significant book I picked up and finished in less than four days (once I got into it, I was a little slow on the uptake). I hated to read before that, but when, at eight years old, I was told I had to take a book to my first brownie camp, alike half of the others, I took the Philosophers Stone. The whole camp had a theme around the books and I went to the camp having read only eight or nine pages, yet came back with only eight or nine pages left. It was a two night camp. I was hooked from that point on. I wanted more, I craved more. More Harry Potter, more books, more stories. I started to read other books, Jacqueline Wilson, Princess Diaries, Cherub. At 12 years old I read Candy by Kevin Brooks (a teen book aimed at those 15+ that is based on the story of a sex worker). I couldn’t stop reading. The library became my haven. I was a library assistant in year 7 at school, and volunteered at my local library by year 10 while attending the youth group held there every Wednesday. I attended book signings, met authors, started writing poetry and short stories. My vocabulary increased and I was ahead of others where behind I fell short.
I was addicted to the written word and that is still true now, thirteen years later. Sure, I don’t read as much as I used to, but unfortunately university teamed up with social media has found ways to distract me easily. I still love it though and would pick a night in reading my favourite book (one guess what that is) for as long as I liked over any trip out to the bar with friends. I wasn’t the only child who experienced this. The sudden love for words. J.K. Rowling inspired a whole generation of readers and writers. She brought the magic alive in everyone, children and adults alike.
Adults and children both love it
The books were so successful that Bloomsbury Publishers ended up bringing out two editions of the printed book. The adult and the children’s versions. They were exactly the same in content, yet had different covers to appeal to the different readers. Though a lot of people I have spoken to think of this as a waste, I think it is great. It is good to have the different versions because otherwise some people just wouldn’t have picked up the book. It no longer was just a children’s book – although a lot of libraries still class it as such – it was a book to be enjoyed by all.
This is just a short summary of what makes Harry Potter so great. There is so much more I could say on the matter and rest assured I probably will at a later date. This doesn’t even touch on my feelings about it, on why I look at head canon posts and feel an overwhelming sense of sadness at remembering Fred Weasley, at Dobby, at even the likes of Colin Creevey. I can’t explain this all in one post, and I wouldn’t want to. If the story took so much to tell, I can’t sum it all up in one blog post.
And I wouldn’t want to.