The famous Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling is often referred to as a “children’s book.” I must wholeheartedly disagree. The series has become probably one of the most iconic products of this generation, and it certainly did not get to be that way by being solely for children. Therefore, I feel it is necessary to make this argument that the beloved series is just as much for adults as it is for kids.
The Harry Potter series deals with a multitude of themes, like any book does. The difference, however, between Harry Potter and the average children’s book are the themes themselves. Usually, a book intended for kids will involve themes such as friendship and the classic good trumps evil, but Harry Potter includes so much more than that. The entire series deals with a plethora of themes that adults still need to analyze, let alone a child.
- Racism – Racism in Harry Potter exists on several levels. It exists within the wizarding world in that some wizards do not treat other magical species of intelligent life as equals (centaurs, vampires, etc). Werewolves, even though they are human for the vast majority of their time, suffer prejudice from wizards who consider themselves superior. Racism also exists in the relationship between wizards and “muggles” (non-magic folk), as some wizards (including Lord Voldemort) consider themselves to be above muggles because of their abilities.
- Classism – Classism in particular is very prevalent in the wizarding world. There are three main social classes: pure blood, half blood, and muggle born (aka mudblood). Pure blood wizards are those with a purely magical lineage, half blood wizards usually have one magical parent and one muggle parent, and muggle born wizards are just that, born to two muggle parents. Some pure blood wizards (the Malfoy family, for example) tend look down on those who are of less-pure bloodlines, thus creating hatred. For reference, Ron Weasley is a pure blood, Harry Potter is a half blood, and Hermione Granger is a muggle born.
- Sexism – The way in which J.K. Rowling approaches sexism is fantastic in that she writes very strong female characters. I cannot recall any female characters in the series who weren’t very strong, independent beings (please note that this observation is based on the books, not the movies).
These are just a few examples of many that illustrate my point.
2) The HP Generation is Growing Up
On a less technical note, there is no denying that the Harry Potter generation is growing up. There is an increasing number of children being given names like Hermione and Draco. Though they may not be making the yearly top ten list yet, they are slowly increasing in numbers as the Harry Potter generation is becoming of age to have kids of their own. Pets, also, are fair game for this new name craze. I, myself, have a cat named Crookshanks, a guinea pig named Bellatrix, and a ball python named Hermione. The day I come across a little boy named Remus I will jump with joy.
3) Harry Potter By-Products
Every popular franchise some sort of by-product to is. Fanficiton, for example, is a by-product of almost everything in literature, cinema, and television. The Harry Potter fans, or “potterheads” as we call ourselves, have gone so far beyond that and the results are a beautiful thing.
- Starkid – If you are a Harry Potter fan and have yet to watch A Very Potter Musical, get familiar. Team Starkid met as theater majors at the University of Michigan and have gone on to be one of the most famous by-products of Harry Potter out there. They have since formed their own theater company for which they write, produce, and perform their own comedy musicals. A Very Potter Musical is a parody of the much-loved series and was followed by A Very Potter Sequel and A Very Potter Senior Year. You may recognize the man who played Harry as the same guy who plays Blaine Anderson on Fox’s hit series Glee. They have also done various other parody work, along with a few original shows. All of their content can be found on YouTube and on their website.
- Potter Puppet Pals – Also a YouTube viral sensation, the Potter Puppet Pals comedy skit show has quite a large following within the community. Their most famous video, The Mysterious Ticking Noise, has gained over 150 million views. Yes, I said million.
- LeakyCon – Leaky is just one of the many conventions that have a basis in the Potter franchise. Leaky brags of bringing authors, musicians, and other makers of Harry Potter related material together for a few days full of nerdy fun. The 2014 LeakyCon brought approximately 5,000 fans from all over the world to Orlando, Florida.
This list, too, goes on and on. Notice that all three of these examples were created by adults.
4) Getting a Magical Education
At this point, there are numerous websites where Harry Potter fans can become Hogwarts students. Websites like Hogwarts Is Here and J.K. Rowling’s own Pottermore allow us muggles to become part of the story. While Pottermore is taking fans through all seven books in a very interactive manner, Hogwarts Is Here allows fans to actually take Hogwarts classes. Dozens of volunteers create content, textbooks, lessons, and assignments in a way that mimics an online school format. Participants do get grades but there are no due dates, as the creators do realize that people have jobs. Both websites have a huge fan following that is made up of primarily teens and adults.
5) Science Says So
According to science, reading Harry Potter makes you a “better, kinder person”. Three new studies show that fans of the boy wizard are are less hateful and more compassionate that those who have never been exposed to the series. Another study documented in the book “Harry Potter and the Millennials” (John Hopkins University Press, 2013) reveals that Harry Potter fans tend to be more accepting of diversity, more tolerant, more politically active, and more likely to have a negative view of the Bush administration. This shows that even if people read the series or see the movies as kids, the moral construct stays with them into adulthood. In this way, Harry Potter stays with us throughout our entire lives.
6) Finding Love
How many book/movie franchises can honestly say that they have their own dating website? Harry Potter can! The wizard based online dating website, Dating for Muggles, is increasing in popularity among the fans. It brings together fans of the franchise for dating or just new friends to talk to.
7) United We Stand
Say whatever you want about Harry Potter fans, but there is one thing that no one can take away from us and that is each other. It is more than a fandom, it is one big family. The fans are loyal to each other just as they are to the boy wizard and when you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us. Unity among the fans of a franchise is difficult to find, because everybody has their own ideas and opinions, but Harry Potter manages to bring together such a large number of people in a very loving, accepting fan base that I am proud to be a part of.
And on that note, I would like to personally thank J.K. Rowling for the books and movies that are a huge part of who I am today.