College Papers

“Losing series. In 1990 on a train ride,

“Losing oneself in a happy memory can help readers move past a dark moment in their lives” (Searle). This is exactly what J.K. Rowling did for millions of children and adults all around the world. She is known for writing the Harry Potter series. In 1990 on a train ride, J.K. Rowling had the idea to write a story about a young boy who studied magic. She hand wrote her first manuscript in a small cafe in England and came back every day until she finished it (Searle). At the time, she was a single mother raising her daughter as while battling depression. After many rejections from publishers, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in 1997 (J.K. Rowling- article). Over the next ten years, she wrote six more books. These seven books have sold over 450 billion copies in 79 different languages and continue to enchant new and old readers (Searle). J.K. Rowling changed the world with the imagination shown in her literature giving her a platform for her charity work. After several publishers rejected the manuscript for the first book, Bloomsbury Publishing finally published it in 1997, claiming immediate popularity (J.K. Rowling- article). Rowling inspired others by her new unique ideas and allowing change to pursue her dreams. According to psychologist Benoit Virole, Harry Potter’s story is “an existential journey through a symbolic world” (J.K. Rowling- article). The world of Harry Potter emerged out of our own imagination and into our reality. (Katy) In every aspect of Harry Potter, the power of her worlds becomes palpable (Katy). The wizarding world mirrored our own morals, the environment, and social justice (Katy). The characters remind us that we are who we choose to become and people are capable of more than just good and evil (Katy). Similar traits we share with characters comfort us when we feel alone, this creates opportunities to empathize with people outside of our own lens (Katy). All 7 books are layered with lessons readers can embark on and experience in their own lives (Katy). Readers read Harry Potter to escape, and through J.K. Rowling’s elaborate world and relatable characters, readers can easily envision themselves among Hogwarts’ halls (Searle). The world of Harry Potter is designed simply, yet filled with intricate details to make the world feel like an existent story (Searle). For many young people, Harry Potter was the first book series that allowed them to truly fall in love with reading (Searle). The series opened a new door to writing and inspired other authors to explore similar themes and ideas (Searle). In the literary world, Harry Potter’s ripples can still be felt. “Nobody wanted to touch fantasy stories- they were seen as old-fashioned” said Michelle Smith, a senior lecturer at Deakin University (Eliza Buzacott). But now many new children’s fantasy world have sprung up. All of these series dedicate time to establish the rules of their world, this reflects J.K. Rowling’s detailed rules of Hogwarts (Searle). Michelle Smith says among children who do read there is a distinct trend towards longer books, and she believes Harry Potter had a large impact on this (Eliza Buzacott). The long books would be normally marketed to the 18 to 22 aged demographic, but they were instead pushed to middle school students as young as third grade which attributed to some of the series’ success. The length of adult books also increased due to Harry Potter. After Harry Potter, the average page count for adult books changed from 137 to a 290 page minimum (Searle). A 37% increase in page lengths between 1996 and 2006, and a 115% increase between 2006 and 2016, this led people to believe that Harry Potter could be largely responsible for the bigger books. Dr. Smith says many adults now “happily identify as Harry Potter fans which is quite significant because it was not okay for adults to read children’s books. The Harry Potter movies were the first book series to be turned into eight successful films the audience would support the whole way through. Early success of the books prompted Warner Brothers Studios to purchase the film rights after the release of the third book, these movies collectively grossed over seven billion dollars” (Eliza Buzacott).J.K. Rowling supports a number of causes and organizations, mainly through her charity Lumos. In 2005 J.K. Rowling co founded Lumos after being inspired by a press report she read about children in caged beds in the Czech Republic. She was compelled to set up her own non-profit organization, Lumos, named after the spell the that brings light to the darkest of places. Lumos helps some of the world’s most disadvantaged children with the goal to end the harmful institutionalization of children (J.K. Rowling- author). She talks movingly about how these are estimated to be 8 million children living in orphanages or placed in institutions because of poverty. Lumos transforms these systems of care to provide support so children can return to their families (J.K. Rowling). These children are voiceless and hidden from the world, they are vulnerable to abuse and neglect. This organization is committed to making family care for all children a global reality by 2050. The lumos vision is a world where all children are raised in a safe and caring environment where no one is placed in a large uncaring institution (J.K. Rowling).J.K. Rowling’s books have been translated into 79 languages, won multiple awards, and sold more than 450 million copies worldwide, becoming the bestselling book series in history (J.K. Rowling- author). In the 20 years since the first novel was published the world of Harry Potter has grown to be worth more than $25 billion (Eliza Buzacott). All of the money generated from her franchise gave her the once in a lifetime opportunity to create her own charity to help even more children. J.K. Rowling influenced many children’s lives by creating a loving environment that enchants her readers. As J.K. Rowling said at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- “Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”