The first book in the Harry Potter series was released in 1997, and the story has since become an integral part of the lives of both children and adults. J.K. Rowling, the author of the series, is the first writer to become a billionaire, as a result of the popularity of the novels. The films have been no less successful, prompting the creation of real Butterbeer, Bertie’s Botts’ beans, and even a strain of marijuana called Harry Potter. Some of the other positive changes that have resulted from the release of the books are:
A Renewed Interest in Reading
In the late 1990s, most children, teenagers and adults would spend a significant amount of their free time watching TV, playing video games or surfing the internet. Reading was at an all-time low. The Harry Potter books changed this and sparked a renewed interest in reading. As more books were published, countries would schedule the release of the novels for after school, to prevent kids skipping classes to buy their copy. In 2000, when The Goblet of Fire was released, it prompted the first ever worldwide midnight bookstore co-ordinated release.
Motivation for Writers
The unconventional nature of the Harry Potter stories, encouraged other writers to start experimenting with the fantasy genre. Authors began releasing more creative work and other popular series, such as Twilight and The Hunger Games, were published. The standard of writing has also increased, as many of these authors strive to equal (or at least come close to) J.K. Rowling’s story-telling skills.
The Creation of a New Sport
In the Harry Potter books, Quidditch is a competitive game played by two teams flying on broomsticks. The sport has been modified so that ‘muggles’ can play, eliminating the flying. Competitors run with their brooms between their legs, imitating the positions of chasers, beaters, seeker and keeper that are described in the story. This sport has become so popular that the real life Quidditch World Cup is currently held every two years, with Australia winning the title in 2016.
Introduction of a New University Course
The education department at Durham University was the first to introduce a module dedicated to the study of Harry Potter. In the course, the social, cultural and educational aspects of the novels are reviewed, and students explore the reasons why the story is so popular.
A New Platform at King’s Cross
In the Harry Potter stories, it is necessary for Hogwarts pupils to run straight through a wall in King’s Cross Station (one of the busiest in the United Kingdom) to arrive on Platform 9 3/4; to board the train that is taking them to school. Located at the far end of King’s Cross Station, near the left-luggage, there is now a trolley fixed to the wall and a sign for ‘Platform 9 3/4,’ where Potter fans pose on their way to school, as well as a large merchandise shop.