Harry Potter and the Everlasting Legacy


Grace Daniel

Universal Studios Orlando features a near-identical replica of the Wizarding World from the award-winning Harry Potter films (Photo courtesy of Grace Daniel).

Books are important. At least, that’s what we’re told by our teachers, by our parents, and even by the media. While books are critical to our education, some books appear so far-fetched that they seem irrelevant. Harry Potter is a world-renowned book series that most everyone has heard of, whether as a devoted fan or an avid critic. All personal beliefs aside, the novels have undeniably changed the world.

“Because the Harry Potter story is so unique, a huge community of fans has formed all around the world. It unites people over something really fun and easy to connect to,” said sophomore Abby McDonald.

Harry Potter is a young boy from England whose parents mysteriously died when he was a newborn baby. He grows up with his horrendous aunt, uncle, and cousin. At the age of 11, he receives a letter inviting him to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The novels follow Harry Potter for the next seven years of his life as he practices magic, makes friends, learns about his family, and is even surrounded with dark magic that he must one day battle. While the novels develop around Potter’s life of magic, there are countless elements of action, romance, mystery, and suspense. The intricate world in which the characters develop is impressive even to the most unenthusiastic readers.

“I think that everyone can find themselves in at least one of the three main characters. Fantasy worlds are just so much fun, and the idea of being able to wield magic is so appealing. It’s a classic good and evil story, but, because the characters are so fun, strong, and different, the world becomes exciting,” said English teacher Jessica Cheek.

Author J.K. Rowling spent over five years just planning and setting up guidelines for the fictitious world in order to make it seem as real as possible while avoiding any holes in the plot. Rowling handwrote mountains of notes, beginning on a train to London when she first came up with the idea. From then on, Rowling began inventing characters and storylines, most of which are based on her own experiences. For instance, Hermione Granger, one of Harry Potter’s best friends, is based on Rowling herself, as she “was your basic common-or-garden bookworm, complete with freckles and National Health spectacles.” Also, the dementors, ghostly demon-like creatures, are based on her struggle with depression. What started as a fantasy on a train, drove Rowling to become the first and only billionaire author.

“The fact that there are so many books that follow the same characters as they grow up from children to adults is impressive in itself. You don’t see stories like that in many series,” said junior Dorothy Campbell.

The Harry Potter books are an impressive literary achievement by any standard. The in-depth plot and dynamic characters create a truly magical story that has transcended generations. Not only did the stories captivate audiences when they were first published, but they continue to stand as some of the most popular books in the world. The first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the fifth most sold book of all time, selling over 107 million copies.

“The books themselves are so impressive because J.K. Rowling came from nothing, wrote a few books, and inspired a super successful franchise that has inspired tons of people,” said junior Maddie Gagne.

While the mere number of books sold proves an obvious general interest in the unique novels, it’s truly the effects of the novels that prove their influence on our time. Shortly after the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, was published, the film adaptation of the first book was released; it was followed by seven more award-winning movies. The final movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two, had the highest opening, was the highest grossing Warner Bros. movie, and won the world box office opening record at the time of its release.

“Even though I’m not the biggest fan of the series, I still think it’s amazing how successful Harry Potter is. I think it’s all the surprising twists and turns in the story that make it so popular. The Wizarding World in Universal Studios has such a unique atmosphere, with the capes, wands, and magic candy, and I think that’s why it’s so successful,” said junior Kasey Griggs.

Grace Daniel
The Harry Potter novels are some of the most popular in the world (Photo courtesy of Grace Daniel).

With the ever-increasing success of the Harry Potter franchise, Universal Studios opened a life-size replica of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Complete with interactive wands, movie-accurate buildings, three roller coasters, and an enormous model of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the park has attracted millions of fans from around the world since its grand opening in 2010. It’s truly a Harry Potter fan’s dream come true.

“Everyone got so excited for Harry Potter’s world to come to life. The attention to detail is amazing; it really makes you feel like you’re part of the world,” said Gagne.

Billions of dollars have gone into bringing J.K. Rowling’s vision to life, and it’s paid off. Aside from the lucrative pay off, the Harry Potter books have given the world more than just an interesting story. Rowling’s novels feature a diverse spread of characters, including different races, backgrounds, and ages. Each character has a distinct personality allowing readers from every background to connect to the story. The books, set in such an extensive imaginative world, set the stage for some of the world’s favorite books, including Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, and Veronica Roth’s Divergent.

“J.K. Rowling did such an amazing job writing Harry Potter that she raised the bar for all other writers. She set a higher standard than had ever been set before,” said McDonald.

Above all, Harry Potter sparked a nearly-lost interest in reading that the world desperately needed. Rowling presented the world with a far-fetched idea of a young boy growing up as a wizard surrounded by strong enemies and even stronger friends. Harry Potter offers something to everyone, whether it be romance, action, mystery, or suspense. The truth is that the world grew up alongside Harry Potter and his friends; and for those long past their childhood, Harry Potter allowed them to relive it with a magical twist.

“The magic in the story sparks the kid in me that still believes in magic and all things that Harry Potter is. It appeals to all ages because the childishness appeals to younger kids and the characters’ relationships appeal to older readers,” said Campbell.

J.K. Rowling must have known her ideas were something special, as she wrote in the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, “This boy will be famous. There won’t be a child in our world that won’t know his name. There will be books about him, he will be a legend.”