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Before and After Harry

The publication of the seven Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling marked a fundamental shift in children’s publishing. They showed that ‘children’s books’ could be blockbusters, and, more importantly, that children’s and young adult literature was something that adults were also interested in reading. This lead to many other franchise-like books/films such as The Hunger Games, Twilight, etc. that tried to capture some of the same magic.

By the time that the fourth book came out, the books had a massive following. This is a clip from a ‘release party’ in 2000 for the 4th book.

The books became even bigger worldwide successes through translation, and especially the films that began coming out between the release of books #4 and #5.

Harry Potter has gone on to become one of the biggest cultural franchises in history, spawning movies, additional movies set in the same world (Fantastic Beasts), Theme Park lands at Universal Studios, a Broadway play, an official online community platform, and more. It has also served as the inspiration for lots of fan activity, including not only fanfiction but bands, quidditch leagues, online communities and wikis, fanvids, and so much more.

This fan-made video offers some musings on why the books/films were so successful. There are several things in it that are definitely arguable and more complex than how they are presented, but it’s good food for thought.

J.K Rowling has engaged heavily with the fan community, both in positive and more recently negative ways.

Harry Potter has thrived because of adaptations across media.

Read pages 1-10 of “Introduction: Harry Potter and the Magical Screen” from Transforming Harry : The Adaptation of Harry Potter in the Transmedia Age, edited by John Alberti, and P. Andrew Miller, Wayne State University Press, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/brooklyn-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5406181.

An official ‘8th’ book of the Harry Potter series was released as the play script for the West End/Broadway play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a story that takes place once Harry and his friends are adults and features their children. It relies heavily on knowing the Harry Potter saga. The play is sold in two parts, with the first ending on a cliffhanger.

This is the trailer for the play which was first down in the UK, and then came to New York, and other places around the world.

A visit from NY1 to the Broadway version.

The return from COVID has led the Broadway production to condense the show into one longer production.

Response: How familiar were you with Harry Potter? Do you have any ideas about why it became such a big deal? How and why do you think that the success of this series might have influenced future publishing for children?

12 thoughts on “Before and After Harry

  1. I saw the first movie of harry potter when I was in middle school.The literature industry today is much different than the literary industry before Harry Potter, harry potter impacted literature by changing target audience, and the popularity of reading. help young readers developreading skills.

  2. I think the book is so famous because of the possibility of a new world, the possibility that any normal human could be swept away from their problems and placed in a magical school filled with beasts, potions, spells to solve all your problems, and other magical students. It’s an escape, it might be a small one for a short time but that just makes the reader want more. I’ve read about the first 3 books and watched all the movies and they really are nice. The characters also seem to be maturing and growing with the readers that it’s targeted towards. I think people saw that this is what kids want to see. A world of magic or even a dystopian world that makes them see all of the possibilities that could’ve occurred with them if the world was different.

  3. The first time I watch Harry Potter was when I was in 5th grade and I remember enjoying the movie so much because the main characters were children that possessed magic powers. Magic attracts all children so having it in a book/film was a brilliant idea. It because so popular because everyone enjoyed the characters and also loved magic and wizards. Harry Potter was like escaping the real world and stepping into this magical fantasy with magic and potions which every child dreams of at that age. The success of this series might have influenced future publishing for children because now many children’s authors know how to target that specific age group by using Harry Potter as a guide. Many authors will use it as inspiration to writing their own magical books.

  4. I was very familiar with Harry Potter and was obsessed with the books and movies. I remember watching them for the first time with my sister and I was so intrigued by it. I think one of the reasons it became so popular was because of it’s magical aspect. It was one of the first series to create a world like this personally one I was introduced to and the movies helped bring this world to life. There were so many aspects of this that helped people feel like they were a part of it. For example, there were quizzes online that sorts you into houses and tells you all about your Patronus. There are now theme parks dedicated to this because of how big it became.

  5. Personally I have never read a Harry Potter novel or even seen a Harry Potter movie. Although, I am still very familiar with it considering I grew up with a cousin that was a very big Harry Potter fan ever since she was 9 years old. I have learned more about Harry Potter from her than from any other source LOL! The reason why she became so interested in the series is because there was the use of magic, introduction of mythical creatures, magic wands and wizards which most of the time catches the interest in children. This could be a reason why it became such a big deal. As for the success of this series, the potential it has for other series for children in the future is very big. Since Harry Potter and author J.K. Rowling kept coming out with content and continued it’s legacy and story, people will still have their interests. Always wanting more and nothing less. It keeps the satisfactory of individuals.

  6. Growing up in Israel, Harry Potter was popular but it didn’t have the same fan base or obsession as the British and American audience. I am familiar with the first two books more than the rest of the series. One of the reasons that this book became such a big deal is because J.K. Rowling created an entire world inside of these books. The world is magical and so detailed that even adults were pining to be a part of this fictional narrative. This series got children not only interested in reading but invested in what they were reading. Harry Potter influenced future publishing because it challenged how authors spoke to children through their work. Harry Potter makes no assumptions about children, it includes children as some of the most intelligent and interesting characters in the story. This then made a new lane for other writers to explore and use ideas and plot in a way that doesn’t insult the child but instead admires him/her.

  7. I was kind of familiar with Harry Potter in the way that most people my age are. I have watched a handful of the movies and read the first two books when I was in middle school, but never got super into it. Everything else I know about it I learned from friends who I have/had who were either super into it or super into hating on it. I think that internet culture from the early 2000s really helped to popularize Harry Potter. The characters are easy to write about and make memes about in either a positive or a negative way, doubling the number of people who talked about the texts. The section of the book we read cemented in my mind that this was the case, and also how pivotal Harry Potter is to the genre of children’s/YA novels. Authors are expected to be online posting and promoting their books partially because of the popularity of Harry Potter with online communities.

  8. I was very familiar with Harry Potter. I remember the popularity of the books, but did not read them because the length of the looks deterred me. However, I loved the film series. From when I was really young, I watched and owned the tapes/ CDs and would watch with my siblings. I think that Harry Potter is very popular due to the magic and completely different world that the story is set in. We see cool themes like flying cars, being able to turn invisible, siding with students of a certain house/ team. Harry Potter still remains popular to this day, and it is easy to see why.

  9. I never actually finished watching the film on Harry Potter. Its books were and I believe still are very popular in children’s older literature. I would say its books and films are very popular because of their magic power and are driven in a different world than what the story is set in. Its use of unrealistic themes such as becoming invisible, the use of flying auto-parts and etc. Its stories and films continue to be popular as generation passes over and over.

  10. Harry Potter in my generation was a very popular series and even now there’s so many fandoms and followers that eventually turned into theme parks, broadway shows, events everywhere and there’s always a Harry Potter theme in any book store you enter. So I was very familiar with harry potter always. I think some of the reasons why Harry Potter became such a big deal is because of the characters and the fantasy where everyone wanted to go to Hogwarts and felt like we grew with the characters as the series goes on. I think sometimes the series seems like it cannot be topped, but there’s so many different ways to take themes to build onto new stories. Spin offs of Harry Potter can really show you how they build off this huge franchise and keep people of all ages engaged for years.

  11. Harry Potter series are one of my favorite and I have covered all the texted and film versions of them. I think the reason it becomes a big deal is that the author contrives a rather successful and complete magic world in the book. We can find that there are many elements borrowed from the real world while they get infused with the magical world in a rather successful way, which makes the reading rather enjoyable. Besides, the description of the novel is good. The love of dreams, simplicity, no hesitation, ambiguous and awkward relationship between the characters, fights, resistance to teachers, and passion are so true which caters to children’s minds as well as bring young people to those sweet dreams.

  12. Response: How familiar were you with Harry Potter? Do you have any ideas about why it became such a big deal? How and why do you think that the success of this series might have influenced future publishing for children?

    I absolutely love the Harry Potter Series, I get lost in it everytime I pick up the book or watch the films. The books are always better. I think it became such a hit because it was meant for teens but it became a hit amongst adults as well. It gave us a common language to speak. The success of Harry Potter opened the doors for stories like the twilight trilogy, the divergent series, hunger games ETC. IT opened the doors that books don’t just have to be for one particular audience it can resonate with other age groups as well.

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