Monday, July 31, 2017
Retrospective: The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
Today, we celebrate the birthday of one of the most influential characters, and authors, in our modern time. These are the books that redefined literature, made reading fun again, and brought tons of people around the world together.
The Harry Potter series is the tale of a young boy who discovers that an amazing truth: that he is a wizard and is destined to travel to magic school where all kinds of magic and mayhem await him. As each year goes by, Harry is faced with new enemies and allies, new challenges and struggles, loses and triumphs as he goes head to head against the darkest wizard of all time. Along the way, he discovers who he is, what he can do, and how far he's willing to go to save the world, and the people, that he loves.
What can I possibly say about these books that hasn't been said? This series has become a staple in pop culture to the point where even people who haven't read the books can recognize it for what it is. Words like "muggle" and "Slytherin" and "Quidditch" are known by everyone. People shudder when they hear the name "Voldemort". Victories are announced with "ten points to Gryffindor". Everybody knows these books, whether they like them or not. They've become a phenomenon of literature that has almost never been seen before and we'd be lucky if we ever got again.
As part of the Harry Potter generation, what speaks to me most about these books is that they grew up right along with their readers. They don't shy away from mature, real world problems. The problems are a bit exaggerated, naturally, due to Harry's fame within his world, but this exaggeration is what makes it easier for younger readers to understand. They can see Harry's struggles and understand them, even if they aren't anything they'd come across in the real world. We care about him and we want him to succeed. Each loss is felt just as strongly as each victory. Enemies don't come in forms of simple "good vs. evil." Indeed, one of the most hated characters in the entire series isn't even one of Voldemort's followers (not a direct one anyway). As these books took their time to come out, the target audience grew up enough to receive each one, so we were all ready for what was to come.
To this day, Ms. Rowling is and always shall be my writing hero. Her words just breathe life into everything. From memorable characters that fans almost know like family to locations we'd give our wand hands for a chance to visit. She's also a master of foreshadowing, leaving tiny hints and clues scattered throughout the series and leaving no stone unturned. Every little moment has purpose and each detail adds just that needed bit of humor, intrigue, and life to sweep you away into a glorious experience that one can only describe as "magic". Top that off with just being a great person in general and you have an author worthy of being anyone's hero.
Overall, we have Harry Potter to thank for a great many things. These books have inspired us to read more, write our own stories, share our hearts with the world, and spread the magic to everyone. After all these years and all the books that I've read, these remain my favorites and will always have a special place in my heart. I've read them countless times (seriously, I've lost count how many times I've read them) and can't wait to read them countless times more.
Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home. Always.
Have you read the books? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts. Have a book you'd like me to read or would like to make a recommendation? Contact me on goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65448711-michelle-beer
Next Time: IT'S THE MIDNIGHT READINGS ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!!