As many of you are probably aware, today being November 19th is the day that the first of the two-part movie Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows comes out in theaters. Harry Potter fans across the world (including myself) crowded theaters for midnight showings, dressed up in extravagant costumes to showcase their pride, all to watch the final book in J.K. Rowling's epic series come to life on the big screen. "But what's the big deal about Harry Potter anyway?" someone that hasn't read a Harry Potter book before might be asking. Well, as a self-proclaimed Harry Potter fanatic, I'm here to give you my two cents.
I'm sure that everyone is at least familiar with the general concept of the books, as Wikipedia so eloquently describes them: "The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main story arc concerns Harry's quandary involving the evil wizard Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry's parents in his quest to conquer the wizarding world and subjugate non-magical people (Muggles)."
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published on June 30th, 1997. Six more books, eight movies, and millions upon millions of Harry Potter lovers followed. Not to mention an entire franchise worth billions of dollars. According to Tumblr: "The U.S. print run of book one, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, was 50,000 copies. The U.S. print run of the final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was 12 million copies. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sold 8.3 million copies in the U.S. in the first 24 hours. That's 96 copies per second. If you lined up those 8.3 million copies, you'd end up with a bookshelf longer than the Grand Canyon. Harry Potter movies have made roughly $5.4 billion worldwide, more than any other franchise. That averages out to $900 million per film. It's as if every person in the world has spent 80 cents on the franchise."
But there's so much more to Harry Potter than all of that. J.K. Rowling had created an entire magical world that you longed to be a part of. Even though you knew it was just a book, you couldn't help but wonder if your Hogwarts acceptance letter had just gotten lost in the mail or something. You're almost to the point that you would almost give anything to be on that train eating chocolate frogs after changing into your school robes.
For many, growing up along with Harry throughout his many adventures was such a huge part of their childhood. I can remember doing a book report on the Chamber of Secrets in second grade, all the way up to the point of being thirteen and standing in the huge line at Barnes & Noble for hours before midnight waiting to buy my copy of the last book, and then reading it until my parents forced me to go to bed at five in the morning. That anticipation of waiting and waiting for that next sequel to come out was always torturously exciting.
After seven books, you can't help but fall in love with the characters, becoming incredibly emotionally attached to every single one of them. J.K. Rowling has made us laugh and cry and wonder and dream and think and imagine, and I can't thank her enough for that.