On July 21, 2007, the final Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released. Before its release, I can still remember the anticipation and anxiety that encompassed every child, teenager, and adult, because no one was exactly sure would happen to Harry and the rest of the Wizarding World. Rumors traveled from person to person and ranged anywhere from Lord Voldemort taking over the entire world to Harry becoming the next Minister of Magic. At stroke of midnight, the book was released and over 11 million copies were sold in the United States alone within the first day.
Over seven years have passed since the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and in that time, many other critically acclaimed series, such as Twilight, the Hunger Games, and Divergent, have been released. While each of these series is unique and relatively impossible to compare to one another, the story of the “Boy Who Lived” continues to appear in the lives of us all. ABC Family seems to have a Harry Potter movie marathon on at least one weekend out of every month of the year. Universal Studios amusement parks around the world have begun building the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which includes the castle of Hogwarts, village of Hogsmede, and brand-new this summer, Diagon Alley. While other series may eventually have their own movie weekends on a television network, it is hard to imagine any of them having the success and profitability that the Harry Potter series has had and the separating factor is quite simple: the brilliant mind and talent of author J.K. Rowling.
Rowling separated herself from other authors by creating an entirely new, detailed world, similar to what J.R.R. Tolkien accomplished years previously in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit with Middle Earth. Throughout the seven book series, she expanded and developed an extremely detailed government system, the Ministry of Magic, which consisted of its own police force (Aurors), prisons (Azkaban and Nurmengard), and even a Supreme Court (the Wizengamot). She also created multiple schools, most notably, Hogwarts, but also added Durmstrang, and Beauxbatons, which all taught classes ranging from Defense Against the Dark Arts to Divination. Another creation included the sport of Quidditch, which took place on broomsticks. Finally, she also developed new animal and plant life such as, Blast Ended Skrewts (Which resembled scorpions and blew fire) and Mandrakes (Whose cry was fatal to anyone who heard it). Each section of the Wizarding World was as exciting as the next and it kept the readers guessing as to what the next new creation might be.
Rowling also excelled in the ability to make the reader see what she was writing and did not just simply tell. She had the unrivaled ability to make the scenes in the books come to life. While everyone has their own favorites, I personally remember imagining myself up on the top of the Astronomy Tower in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince with Dumbledore and Draco Malfoy and feeling the same emotions of fear that coincidentally ran through them both. I was able to feel wind blowing against my face, while riding a broomstick and playing Quidditch with Harry and the Weasleys. I remember feeling the excruciating shaking, bending of limbs, and pain of the Cruciatus Curse. Perhaps, the most impressive description of all, was the ominous feeling that someone was floating silently behind you, while reading about the Dementors of Azkaban.
What Rowling’s crowning achievement was, however, was her ability to create characters that any person could relate to. Whether they chose to related to the unmatched bravery and leadership of Harry Potter, the humor and loyalty to friends of Ronald Weasley, the unquestioned intelligence of Hermione Granger, or the indifference to the beliefs of others that Luna Lovegood possessed, each of these characters managed to come to life inside the reader at some point in the series. Every character went through the challenging trials and tests of life but was able to get by with a little help from their friends and loved ones. Who cannot relate to that?
J.K. Rowling did not simply create a story revolved primarily around love, war, or the difficulties of growing up. Instead, she combined all of the genres and created an epic masterpiece about a famous boy with a tragic life; a boy who experienced unimaginable pain and suffering, a boy who had to overcome an abundance of obstacles and not lose himself along the way. By creating a detailed new Wizarding World, readers cannot help but simply sit back and thank Rowling for what she has provided them with. There is no doubt in my mind that Rowling’s series will persevere and overcome the challenges of time, just like Harry did, and still will be located on bookshelves of houses around the world. Until the time when I can actually research and see if my prediction is right, I leave you with this, “Mischief managed!”