Harry Potter and the Thinker’s Stone, the primary movie in an eight-part collection, has reached its twentieth anniversary. Launched in 2001, it turned the highest-grossing movie of that yr and the second-highest-grossing movie of all time (it’s now at quantity 76). The movie follows Harry’s first yr on the Hogwarts College of Witchcraft and Wizardry as he begins his formal wizarding training.
The primary movie within the collection comes 4 years after the primary guide (of the identical identify) in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter collection, which turns 25 subsequent yr. In fact, these had been the prime days when children grew up with Harry Potter, queuing exterior bookstores the evening earlier than the one-minute-past-midnight launch of the following quantity within the collection.
However this enthusiasm led to a really particular occasion, with the suggestion that the Harry Potter collection impressed beforehand reluctant readers – notably boys – to learn the narrative. Certainly, the media introduced a dramatic change in youngsters’s studying attitudes on account of huge guide gross sales.
Whereas there’s some substance to this declare, this incident was in no way what had been prompt. Mother and father and grandparents usually purchased Harry Potter books for his or her youngsters with out asking. And whereas many youngsters watched motion pictures, they did not learn books.
He mentioned, after all, that many youngsters learn him. And whereas some younger purists refused to look at the primary movie after 2001 till that they had learn the guide, it’s potential that the movies impressed different youngsters to learn the books.
In our personal 2014 research of almost 600 British major and secondary college college students, almost half reported studying at the least one guide, and most of those readers had been boys. The almost definitely variety of books to be learn within the collection was all seven – the second almost definitely, only one.
A major variety of youngsters clearly have interaction extremely with the collection as readers – and it could actually solely be assumed that this benefited their studying extra typically. This stage of engagement was partly as a result of it was a collection that introduced with it a way of continuity and accomplishment.
The later books had been additionally not enthusiastic concerning the lengthy interval. Actually, it could actually improve youngsters’s enjoyment and sense of accomplishment. As Rowling herself has mentioned, “Once I was a child, if I used to be having fun with a guide, I did not wish to end it.”
The boy who lived
Whereas movies are sometimes proven on tv, and with the information that Warner Bros. is planning to develop a tv collection within the wizarding world, the Harry Potter books now not high the best-selling youngsters’s books checklist. Huh. After 24 years, Amazon nonetheless ranks The Thinker’s Stone at quantity ten on its checklist of best-selling youngsters’s books, whereas others within the collection usually are not far behind.
All this isn’t shocking. Harry Potter is each enduringly imaginative – spells, magic, numerous creatures – and reassuringly acquainted – principally, it is a college story. It has memorable, partaking characters and the model is bland. And now, a brand new technology of younger dad and mom who grew up with Harry Potter most likely need their children to have their very own Potter expertise. Though it looks like extra children will proceed watching motion pictures than studying books.
Nevertheless, lately there was criticism of Harry Potter. Many readers as we speak could also be extra conscious of the elitism of Hogwarts. There’s an imbalance between the variety of female and male characters within the collection, particularly the academics. Its racial range has been accused of being symbolic. And it does not even comprise hints of LGBTQ+ characters. Rowling’s declare in 2007 that she believed Dumbledore to be homosexual just isn’t even prompt within the books.
Rowling herself has additionally generated controversy by way of her feedback about gender and gender in relation to the talk about transgender rights, first on twitter and later in 2020 in a 3,700-word essay.
But Harry Potter is much from alone within the canon of persistently fashionable youngsters’s literature with regards to most of those points. And none of them have affected guide gross sales up to now.
It stays to be seen whether or not such points will discourage millennial dad and mom from introducing their youngsters to Harry Potter or have an effect on its recognition amongst future generations. And on this sense, solely time will inform whether or not the attraction of books and movies stays or not.