Written by Kristine Pilla Friday, 05 August 2011 00:00
Since the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in England and other countries), was released in June of 1997, fans have been enraptured by the magical world. Upon turning 11 years old, many awaited their acceptance letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Of course we were all met with disappointment when no owl had appeared at our doorstep. But that never changed the passion every fan had for the story. The characters were relatable; people spoke about Harry, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger as if they knew them personally. The other characters came to life too, every one of them unique, and every fan having a favorite. And every year that a Harry Potter book was released, countless fans lined up at their local bookstores to receive their copy right at midnight, unable to wait another second to find out what happened next, and to make sure the story wasn’t spoiled for them.
The series began a trend of reading. The magic of the story and the excitement it brought for those awaiting the next book was inspiring and encouraging. All over the world, children and adults can be found reading one of the seven novels. It is as though Rowling, without expecting it, began an era of reading.
Though the final book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released in July 2007, the final movie, Deathly Hallows Part II (the book had to be split into two movies), was released in theatres on July 15, and many excited fans had their tickets to the movie’s midnight-release long before then. On the night of July 14, fans of Harry lined up to watch the final chapter of the final Harry Potter. At Glen Cove Cinema, and probably many other movie theatres, those who saw the movie in 3D at midnight received special-edition Harry Potter 3D glasses that matched the round-framed glasses of the famous wizard. Lines to get into the theatre were incredibly long, and with most every midnight show sold out, there was a rush to get the best seats in the theatre. Although many of these audience members first fell in love with the books and already knew the how the story ended, this did not dampen their excitement. In fact, they were the most excited, waiting to see how each scene from the book played out on screen, and nobody was disappointed. The movie remained true to the plot, the beloved characters, and the astounding author. As the final credits rolled at the end of Deathly Hallows Part II, there was a feeling of the end of an era; the end, for many, of an entire childhood.
The magic still lives on, however, for the series that has become a franchise is not going to magically disappear once the movie leaves theatres. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios in Orlando, FL. will likely be as crowded as ever in the next few months. As well, there are still supplementary books to be read, books that were mentioned within the series, such as Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages, and the fairy-tale book featured in the last novel The Tales of Beedle the Bard, all by Rowling. J.K. Rowling also recently announced that, in the very near future, a website called “Pottermore” will be launched, giving fans an entirely new way to live the story.
Perhaps the most popular question asked to a Harry Potter fan is “which house are you in?” referring to the four “houses” students belong to while at Hogwarts. The four are: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravelclaw, and Slytherin. The Sorting Hat places students into their houses on their very first night as a first-year student. The Sorting Hat is a hat that can decipher even the deepest traits of a witch or wizard, and place them into the House that best matches their personality. It seemed unfair that only the characters in the book could be sorted, so not long after the books gained some popularity did Sorting Hat quizzes appear. There are many quizzes on the Internet, each with different personality-trait questions and situation questions such as “If you found a wallet on the ground but did not see who dropped it, what would you do,” followed by a series of four different answers. There are a few good ones out there, so if you wish to be sorted and become a part of Hogwarts, simply Google (or whichever Internet search-engine you may prefer) “Sorting Hat quiz” and you are guaranteed to get a great deal of choices. One excellent quiz can be found here: http://vh.7dragons.net/hp/sortinghat2.php (be sure to type that in exactly, and it will take you to a wonderful intro, leading to the Sorting Hat). For those of you who do not know, Harry and his two best friends Ron and Hermione are all Gryffindors.
At the World Premiere of the final film, fans gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square, hoping to catch a glimpse of Rowling, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), as well as director David Yates. Before the movie began on the giant screen, the stars of the film said a few words of thank you, and then Rowling spoke. Through tears, she thanked the film’s cast and crew, and every single fan, for a wonderful 13 years, and she ended her speech reassuring all of us that “whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bkmC_OL9Sg).