Going Potty for Potter

There are some books which are classics and to say you have not read them is to some people near blasphemous. The bible, 1984, Sherlock Holmes, at least one work written by Shakespeare, Things fall apart, the Artemis Fowl series, the Percy Jackson series and at least one Dr Who book.

The list of books mentioned are classic to me and now joining them is the Harry Potter series. Why is it so popular? How has it captivated such a wide audience? There are critics who will say they’ve read better and to be fair they aren’t wrong.

There are many authors who equal JK Rowlings writing and many who I dare to say surpass it. I guess everyone loves an underdog and Harry certainly is the epitome of an underdog by definition, poor orphan that he is. Then of course there is the back drop of an almost infinite magical world existing alongside an unsuspecting non-magical one ignorant of its very existence.

It offered escape from work, if for just half an hour before having to go back down stairs to work in the “non-magical” world that is our lives. Then of course there were the themes that were addressed like death, racism, segregation, etc. However, the books are published and the films have been made, so is it finally time to call a spade a spade? I interviewed a harry potter mad fan to find out what’s so special about the boy with that thunderbolt scar on his head…

What is so magical about Harry potter that bewitches you?

I think I fell in love with it for so many different reasons. Not only because of the thought and hard work JK put into the characters (she was writing the books for 15 years) but just because it’s a story about a boy that comes from hardship and overcomes it – as a child who didn’t have the greatest upbringing I could relate.

Okay who is your favourite character?

That’s a hard one but controversially I’d say Voldemort/Tom Riddle. His character is seemingly evil but in the books you find out his history and what made him the way he was. He’s really multi-faceted but a lot of people don’t get that. There are a lot of times where you think “if this, or that hadn’t happened” he wouldn’t be so corrupt, so he’s a victim in himself. I think I just love any character that came from the house Slytherin, its funny, in Harry Potter it’s like football, everyone takes sides.

Do you prefer the books, the movies, or are you stuck in the middle?

Hmm, it’s hard to compare them because they are so different. JK has always said, the movies were never supposed to compete with the books, that they were intended to be entirely different and I agree. The movies are exciting and it brings the characters to life but they are someone else’s vision – I wouldn’t have necessarily picked the same actors, or designed particular scenes how they have done so, whereas with the books, the characters appear how I imagine. They’re also more detailed and nothing is really trimmed out because of time constrictions. The movies also change a lot of what actually happens in the books, so if I had to choose, I’d say the books themselves.

What is your favourite book of the 7?

The 4th, and I’m probably one of very few people who will say that. It’s because of the international theme to it. For the first time you see students from other wizarding schools come to Hogwarts, so there’s this sudden influx of different and interesting characters. You also see more normal teenage dynamics, like when Ron tries to ask Fleur to the Yule Ball and when he becomes jealous that Hermoine is going with Victor. It’s also the first book in which an innocent character, who isn’t just an extra, dies and that was difficult to read. I also just love it because there are dragons, puzzles, plots and everything is just generally dark and mysterious.

The cover art illustrations varied across the world…which did you favour most?

Definitely the English/British cover. It was the original! It’s an English book. The other covers only came about when it was translated. I always prefer the original because that’s how they were intended to be, although I do try and collect other covers – not necessarily foreign ones but even within the UK they vary.

What is Pottermore?

Pottermore is an extension of the books. JK has said that in all the years she was writing Harry Potter, only a small selection of information about the characters, locations, monsters etc went in, understandably. However, she has pages and pages of information that seemingly had no purpose so she decided to invent Pottermore. It’s an online interactive community, where you can relive the books but with the extra information and her own thoughts and input. You are also given a wand, a house in Hogwarts (mine is Slytherin), collect house points and objects and you complete puzzles and riddles etc, just like the three protagonists of the books did. 1 million people were given early entry but it officially opens in October.

If you could have a character in a magical tale such as Harry potter what would he or she be like and why?

I’d have a character that wasn’t completely good, or completely evil. Every human being has a dual nature, no one is entirely one of anything. A character who can explore both extremes just like a normal person. However, I’d similarly also like them to be different in some way, as in Harry was different because he was a wizard for example – something that makes them special.

Well it seems harry may be finished but the pottermore lot are beginning a magical adventure of their own.