Harry Potter: The End of an Era

I will finally get to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” this week. The show has been sold out in my town since it opened. I was hoping to reread the last part of the book before I saw the movie, but I don’t know whether I’ll have the time. I want to see the movie, NOW.

But part of me is reluctant to go see the eighth and final film, just as I was reluctant to read the final book; I don’t want the era to end.

What JK Rowling accomplished with Harry Potter simply astounds me. She created a worldwide phenomenon. There must be few of the 193 nations on earth where the name Harry Potter is unknown, thanks especially to the remarkable movies that were made from the enchanting books. Had the movie franchise not been so successful, Rowling’s achievement might have gone less global. But Chris Columbus launched the movies with his excellent crew, with notable designers who had clear visions of what the world of Harry Potter should look like. And the result, MAGIC!

I still wonder how Rowling came up with an idea that so captured the imagination of the world. Other stories of magic have been written, but somehow she found just the right combination of characters and fashioned an astonishing story arc that carried her readers through eight very lengthy (for the most part) tomes. Her stories were fantasy, but the appeal came from the truth that ran like life’s blood through the stories. Readers could identify with the struggles of Harry and Hermione and Ron and the others. Their troubles may have taken place in a magical school that doesn’t exist, but their fears, hopes, dreams, and desires are firmly rooted in our world. Rowling simply transported us to a parallel universe, and we went willingly along: intrigued, enchanted, and smitten.

But now, the movies have been completed and released, and the final book had an epilogue. It is finished. After  fourteen years, the ride is over.

And I’m one melancholy Harry Potter fan. What can we look forward to now? Who has the next idea waiting to take the world by storm? I wrack my brain, but I’ve got nothing, not on that scale, anyway. But that’s the fun of the challenge: what stories enchant, and how can they be remastered for today’s new readers? What new era is about to begin?

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