Much has been talked about the final two Harry Potter movies — the two-part film version of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hollows (Part One is now in theaters, Part Two is due out next year) — still, I’d like to get a few words in as far as that particular craze is concerned.
Harry Potter might not have been literature’s first sorcerer hero, but he has proven to be the most popular, ever since J.K. Rowling introduced the character to the world in 1997’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; the book, aimed at children and teens, became a tremendous hit, first in Great Britain, then the rest of the world (including the United States). It was the start of a literary franchise, one of the most successful in the world, that would go far beyond the novels themselves — none more evident than when Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to the Harry Potter novels, resulting in a film series that has become the most successful in motion picture history, outdoing even those starring older yet still-active pop culture icons like Superman, Batman, and James Bond, and turning Daniel Radcliffe (who played Harry) into an international screen icon, and one of the few actors who’s successfully played the same role in every film of a single movie franchise. (Other examples include Mickey Rooney in MGM’s Andy Hardy films, and Arthur Lake and Penny Singleton in Columbia’s Blondie films — for those of you with extremely long memories.)
Of course, not everybody has embraced Harry Potter in both literary and motion picture form — a number of religious and eductional groups have condemned both the books and film adaptations for promoting witchcraft, just like other forms of media have been criticized for setting a bad example for young audiences. While it’s true that Harry Potter is a teen sorcerer (though a fictional one), he is a hero for our time, using his abilities for the common good — just like Superman, Batman, and other pop culture heroes, who were created almost a century ago, when the world needed heroes to not only look up to, but to also encourage them to make a positive difference in the real world.
Long after the final Harry Potter film appears in movie theaters next year, the character will still be remembered — not only for encouraging a generation of youngsters to take up reading, but also giving them a hero and positive role model whose adventures have long since become the stuff of iconic legends, and whose popularity will no doubt endure into the next millennium and beyond.
P.S.: I’ve just written a new short story on FanFiction.net called Catalyst Of Chaos, inspired by the 1953 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoon Punch Trunk — to check it out, please click on the following link:
John Lavernoich is the author of the novels Code Name: Chameleons and Chameleons To The Rescue, as well as close to three dozen articles and short stories that have been published in print and on the Internet — to learn more about Mr. Lavernoich and his writing achievements, please visit his official website (http://jlavernoich2008.web.officelive.com/default.aspx), as well as his pages on Windows Live Spaces (http://cid-ef88d131988ab38f.profile.live.com), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/john.lavernoich?ref=name), MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/jlavernoich), and Twitter (http://twitter.com/JLav65).
©2010 John Lavernoich.