By: Miguel C. Perez
Harry Potter…who is he? The name is so often mentioned but still has power to estrange.
While I risk your sanity and my temporary credibility in saying this dear reader, I assure you, I speak only truth. Harry Potter is a wizard boy who was orphaned in his infancy by a dark wizard, Voldemort. Voldemort schemes and plots his evils upon Harry and puts him through numerous lethal trials that test his bravery, determination and skill. All this takes place whilst Harry balances his studies at the magic school Hogwarts and his affairs of friendship, mischief and puberty. Although Harry’s achievement list goes on; surviving several brushes with death, achieving celebrity and wealth, fighting off dementors and devilish creatures, taming snakes with a flick of his tongue and subduing enemies with a wave of his wand, the excitement never wanes and keeps us yearning for more.
Just to make sure it’s clear to all, Harry Potter is a storybook character, a very interesting one at that, despite being far removed from the Filipino folk film hero with a leading lady to his side who wields a magic ‘anting-anting’ to protect him from the local ‘kanto-boys’ in the hood, no need for that sort of trickery. His books have been sold to millions nonetheless.
Considering that Harry is but a debut series for his author J.K. Rowling, he has been fairly, if not overly successful in touring the world and its bookstores. Already, he has secured a place in many a booklist and fan site alike. He has inspired reading among people of all ages, going against the laziness trend in an age of short attention spans and exciting multi media. I remember when the 5th book came out a few years ago, the yards and cafeterias at my school were eerily quiet with everyone’s noses buried in their Potter copies. Kids from the 1st till the 7th grades were quietly racing each other to finish the book and spoil the surprise for everyone by making the euphoric announcement as to who did what and how the book ended! Of course we quickly wrestled them to the ground covered their mouths with our dirty hands and threatened bodily harm in exchange for secrecy and silence, Voldemort-style.
The violence does not end there, Rowling has promised us seven installations and more than few adventures. Five of books are finished and are in stores near you, one is on its way this July and the promised last is yet to be written. Truth be told the long wait for the last installments has been driving the fans mad with anxiety. (Now this is pure marketing genius if it isn’t just J.K. Rowling suffering from writer’s block.) Fans have been hauled into a war zone wherein the patiently wise survive the dull wait and the not-so-wise undress their wallets in mouth-foaming fashion, gobbling up every bit of merchandise they can get their hands on before the bookstore doors open on launch day.
Must fans suffer from all this laughable insanity? Surely not, for in the wake of its success, Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling have not only become synonymous to each other, but have earned a well-deserved throne in the annals of modern literary history. If only for the simple and wonderful experience we live through while reading each Potter book, then this is reason enough to pay homage to this wizardry prince called Harry, merchandise and all.
Harry Potter appeals to the universal child within us all. Whether he is the idol that children play their imaginary games with or the superhero that runs through our daydreams and memories; he still kindles the sense of hope, idealism, excitement and youthfulness.
Harry’s character development can be seen with each book. As we grow with the once pre-teen Harry, we are awe-struck at his character transformation. He becomes stronger and more complex and yet his lovable nature remains for everyone to embrace and identify him.
The world knows Harry and either loves him or hates him, but whichever way they stray, they still buy the book. To flatter J.K. Rowling with the truth, the clamoring public waits year after year with bated breath to buy all the Harry Potter installations. Such is the awesome power of a literary rock queen who commands her bewitched audience. Ha ha ha… (Laughter fades. Applause.)
Article by: Miguel C. Lopez, from Fullybooked Issue No. 10 / June-July 2005