On July 31st, 1980, the worlds most famous wizard was born and since then, pop culture has never been the same. Harry’s story first hit shelves in the UK in 1997 and has become a phenomenon with over 500 million copies sold, 8 movies, 3 spin-off books, a stage play and two spin-off movies. Harry Potter merchandise is still a prominent staple in retail stores and generations of children and adults will enjoy and treasure the story for years to come.
Harry Potter has done way more to people than J.K. Rowling could have ever imagined. Worldwide communities have come together and celebrated her work, thus creating new friendships, discussions, and connections that would have otherwise been non-existent if it weren’t for this series. The last Harry Potter book was published in 2007, and since then there have been hundreds of Potter-inspired communities sprouting up around the world. I even participated in one when I joined a quidditch team in college. From there I have made life-long friends, traveled all over the country and even went to a wedding where two of my teammates tied the knot.
Communities don’t stop at quidditch. Countless podcasts regarding the series have been created amassing huge followings and being very active with their audience. Several YouTube stars have created a platform based on Harry Potter and continue to express their love for the series despite the book series ending 12 years ago. The world that J.K. Rowling has created has led to several creative productions that would become cult phenomenons. A Very Potter Musical is a satirical musical that exploded in popularity within the Harry Potter fan community and became a big stepping stone for Darren Criss, who would later be the main character on Glee. In addition to the musical, several bands have emerged and tour around the world performing songs they wrote about Harry Potter and have also amassed a large following. Harry and the Potters, as well as The Mudbloods, have found tremendous success in the genre.
One of my favorite things to have come out of the series is the endless amount of fan fiction that resides online. People have really found out how to expand stories and create new ones within the Potter universe in unique and interesting ways. There is a lot of “bad” fan fiction regarding the series but I never see them as bad because they are passion projects of fans who are trying to flex their creative writing muscle. Fanfics are very insightful on how the series has been interpreted and contemplated by fans all around the world and it gives the writers the confidence to explore writing their own original stories and be creative by creating a world all onto their own.
On behalf of all of us, Happy Birthday Harry Potter.