Thursday, 29 June 2017

20 Years On: The Continuing Appeal of Harry Potter

by Daniel Hill


Hogwarts - at Harry Potter Studios
As we have recently seen the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book what was it that made JK Rowling so successful and made her become a household name across the world. It wasn’t the easiest journey that she had been on to get her books published; she was turned down by numerous publishing companies. What was it that meant her books suddenly became so popular? Last week a group of Year 10 and 11s went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour near London to see up and close the artefacts from the films which stemmed from her mind.

One thing that I begin to  think about when you hear that she was denied print was the fact that she was a woman. Is this the reason she was turned down? 20 years ago it was a much different world and even the final publishers suggested that it would be a better idea to publish under the name JK Rowling opposed to Joanne Rowling which is what she was born as. This was an idea that the publishers suggested in order to be able to widen the market of these books to a male audience as well and female. It will never been known whether this made any difference to her major success and future spin-offs such as The Cursed Child which is currently the hottest ticket in London and the new films which explore the magical world entitled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Another question that I consider is why does the author still see a need to share more about the popular world she created with us ‘Muggles’? It is the odd, random fact she adds to the website Pottermore that seems to excite fans. JK Rowling still seems immersed in the fictional world that we all long to be a part of. Maybe she wants us to feel a part of the wizarding world, even though we will never get a prized letter from Hogwarts.

The trip engaged everyone involved with the mystical world and what screenwriting involves - with top tips such as how to structure a script, which I am sure that JK Rowling herself will be using as she writes the scripts to the new films exploring the world of wizards and witches. The other part of the trip involved taking a self-guided tour around the studios, where we saw costumes, including Harry and Ron’s first costumes when they took a trip on the Hogwarts express in the first film. Some of the props included a full set of wands from the movies and the Hogwarts Express. We were even able to enter into 4 Privet Drive and see the house that had been on our screens many years before.



The world still seems to engage the whole world. With the play opening on Broadway next year it seems it is not just Britain which is amazed. The screenwriting workshop based around Harry Potter seemed to capture our attention before we embarked on our tour which pulled us into this magical world. 

The twelve publishers may now be regretting the move to turn down JK Rowling’s best-selling books as she begins to drive onwards to provide us with new knowledge on the world we all so crave to be a part of. It was her perseverance, positivity and passion that brought her where she is today.

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