The last few days have seen the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, and I was wondering what the site feels about Gryffindor’s most famous alumnus
Me, I’m a fan. I’ve read the books and I like a couple of things about J.K Rowling. First, I like the fact that she’s a bit of a nerd. She realises that for successful world building the devil is in the details, so she gives you them. Pages and pages of them, from Quidditch rules to the names (and profiles) of the pubs in Hogsmere. It’s the main reason why the books get bigger and bigger towards the end, as she ensures that every loose end that’s out there is tied up.
I also like the films, though I’m not a fan of how they get darker (and greyer) as they go through the books, but that’s because I’m a it tired of all this “dark=serious” that you see in fantasy and super hero films over the last couple of decades. The Prisoner of Azkaban is my favourite, which has a light touch yet which channels a bit of the old Universal and Hammer Horror towards the end.
Harry Potter is of course, this generation’s own equivalent of Star Wars or (and I may regret saying this), The Beatles. I have a nephew and niece who grew up with the books, and now i their 20s, they get a bit starry eyed and nostalgic when he’s brought up. They will probably grow out of it (*sips from Chewbacca mug*).
The second thing I like about J.K. Rowling has to do with the effect of the books. I remember in the 90s how we would frequently hear people complaining that kids would never read books any more because they had no attention spans because of video games and TV blah blah. Then within a couple of years the kids were queueing up at Waterstone’s at midnight to buy the latest copy of one of those books they weren’t supposed to be interested in any more.