In the eye of the hurricane of the global shortage crisis that we suffered after the ravages of the pandemic, the United Kingdom launched a particular cry of alert a few days ago, that of shops and collectors’ stores that were left a few days ago without merchandise from the Harry Potter universe on your shelves and warehouses. The Potter fever, a phenomenon related to the story created by the writer JK Rowling at the end of the 20th century, has returned with force coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the premiere of the first film of the saga, harry potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The re-release of the film on the cinema screens and countless parallel activities have stirred the fervor of the fans who grew up with him and the new generations. How is it possible that it survives the passage of time in a society in continuous evolution? What is its secret?
Harry Potter and the power of the ‘millennials’
The first book in the series was published in 1997. The Salamandra publishing house bought the translation rights to the entire series in 1999, when the second volume had already been published in the United Kingdom, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and the first film to underpin the phenomenon hit screens around the world in 2001.
The seventh and last volume, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, arrived in our bookstores in 2008 and in its publication in English it was the fastest selling book in history, with 11 million copies in 24 hours. In 2016, the novel Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, centered on an adult protagonist, became the best-selling book of the year.
The staggered publication of the fantastic novels of the saga, seven in total, with one or two years of margin between each of them when reaching the newsstand and its replica in the cinema (the last novel was brought to the screens in two film installments) has had a significant impact on the phenomenon. “The moment chosen for the publication of each story in the series was key & rdquor ;, explains Anthony Gierzynski,“ because it made the growth of the characters parallel the growth of the characters. millenials who read it & rdquor ;. Gierzynski is a professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont, and has studied the phenomenon to understand its connection, in depth, with the generation most impacted by Harry Potter, the one that went through adolescence and early adulthood and now has children or nephews of age to immerse themselves in the magical universe.
In 2013, the professor conducted a survey in the US of more than 1,100 university students distinguishing between Potter fans and those who had not read it or did not like it. His fans, according to study, they were “more open to diversity and more politically tolerant & rdquor; and they were “less authoritarian & rdquor; in their views and “less likely to support the use of lethal force or torture & rdquor ;. They also proved to be more politically active. The author considers that the influence of reading, cinema, and later its passage to television has shaped in some way an entire generation and its way of understanding the world, and has strengthened the bonds of community.
The gregarious behavior of fans continues to have an impact in our times in university environments between generations that have been succeeding the millenials in the passion for Harry Potter. That the teachers have grown up with the character has a lot to do with it. It was at Harvard, in one of its colleges, where a podcast was launched in 2017 that is still active that raises the rereading the Potter novels from a religious point of view, called Harry Potter and the Sacred Text (coincidentally, it shares with the Bible the record for translations into other languages, more than 67). The universities of Yale, in the United States, and Durham, in the United Kingdom, also organize courses focused on ethics and culture that can inspire certain reading of Rowling’s work, and even in India, at the University of Kolkata, a legal course, within the Faculty of Law, from legal reflections that opens the plot of the call Potterverso. A course that today has a waiting list for students to participate because its small format has exceeded expectations.
“The impact of Harry Potter will always be unique to the millennials& rdquor;, explains Anthony Gierzynski to THE NEWSPAPER, “but each subsequent generation will have a different set of influences depending on what the historical context makes most popular in their formative years & rdquor ;.
Harry Potter and its magical effect on youth literature
The repercussions of the Potter phenomenon had a full impact from its origin on the culture and reading of the youngest. Harry Potter came, somehow, to rescue the sector. “Potter was already nostalgic when it was published for the first time & rdquor ;, explains to this newspaper Andrew Deman, who points out that after all it is“ a story about a magical boarding school at a time when youth fiction had become very dark and modern & rdquor ;. Deman is a professor at the University of Waterloo and an expert in comic and graphic narratives. He notes that the Potter universe “represents a modern revitalization of an even older genre called school-days, which dates back to 1857 and was wildly popular with generations of young readers in the late 1800s.
The fantastic narrative found its way into the younger ages, and the children were jumping from one saga to another, in a flourishing publishing market that, emulating the Rowling phenomenon, accompanied its young readers through the different stages of growth until adulthood. Young people from 14 to 24 years old are the ones who read the most (73.8%), according to the barometer of reading and book buying habits of the publishers’ union in Spain, which could have had a strong impact on the habits of confinement, but In previous years, the time frame where reading is most prevalent is that of 10 to 13 years, with an average of 7 books per year.
The power of the series
The fantastic narrative cup the current titles, and the saga de Shadow and Bone of Burleigh Executioner o The wheel of time and The Witcher, have expanded driven by feedback from television production, video games, and merchandising. And with everything that has come after, Amazon still places its first Harry Potter books in the top ten for sales of its youth books, and the others follow close behind.
Harry Potter vs. the Pandemic Enemy
It happened during confinement. Between whats Viral Challenges of Tik Tok, one of the most shared was the celebration of a ‘Harry Potter weekend’, according to which you could prepare a cocktail “unicorn blood”, with tequila, lemonade and Saint Germain inspired by the concoction that appears in harry potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, or a “Polyjuice Potion” based on gin based on the magical shapeshifting juice that appears in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The idea was to recreate cocktails inspired by novels of the saga to pass the time.
Y’all I’m finally on the clock app. Harry Potter party montage is on my tik tok @ thewesleymadison pic.twitter.com/GIcmWBdRcl
— Wesley Madison (@AddyMadison) November 9, 2021
They were not the only viral challenges that abounded on the platforms: the young and not so young shared photos with wallpapers that made them transport themselves to the magical world of Hogwarth, in its different settings, and play with the changing rooms of the different school uniforms of the series. It was a full-blown virtual escape.
Spotify and audiobooks
During the worst of the curfews, in May 2020, JK Rowling launched the Harry Potter At Home project, with a website with links also in Spanish where the protagonist, Daniel Raddcliffe, and other Hollywood actors read chapters of The Philosopher’s Stone. The audio version was also accessible on Spotify. It was the moment when Salamandra also decided to relaunch the entire saga in a pocket edition.
Harry Potter might have fallen in interest, and indeed suffered the shock of the void caused by the end of the literary saga. Also for the review of the new generations, more committed to gender and race diversity and critical of elitist waysIt is that deep down they imply that the plot takes place in such an exclusive university. The racial distribution of the characters and their weight in the plot, for example, do not portray the new times. In addition, the controversies generated by the author about transsexuality, in which she was accused of transphobia, were disqualified by the same actors in the film and did not stain her work, in a peculiar chapter of the culture of cancellation, of boycotts of cultural works after their ideological revision, from which they emerged unscathed.
“Everyone is now more aware of society and less naiveBut many young parents will have read and loved the Potter series and want their kids to have the same great experience, ”says Jane Sunderland, a linguist at Lancaster University and expert in children’s literature, gender and author of the essay ‘Harry Potter and beyond’.
“Adulthood” and nostalgia
Deman, who recalls that “adulthood & rdquor; is widely regarded as an “antithesis to happiness & rdquor; he sees in the connection with the nostalgia of childhood and adolescence as that cultural escape route. “The pandemic hit, and adulthood became much, much more difficult, and the world itself was significantly more challenging and isolated,” so “go back to a beloved story of childhood under those circumstances, to a world of discovery and magic, already a group of characters that are equivalent to true friends in the eyes of so many, is powerful & rdquor ;. This has been how where Harry Potter was previously seen as a distraction from the real world, in 2021, it has begun to be seen “as a survival tool for many people who are enduring what will undoubtedly become the greatest catastrophe of 21st Century Mental Health & rdquor ;. For the professor, “the nostalgia for Harry Potter can help balance an existence ruined by the covid & rdquor ;.