POTTER MANIA: Making Sense of a Phenomenon
Two decades after it was first published, the Harry Potter series continues to cast its spell on children and adults alike. It wasn’t until recently that I willed myself into picking up the book having witnessed first-hand the sway the fantastical writing prowess and imaginative brilliance of J.K. Rowling has had on my 9 year old son. I don’t know what had prevented me from embarking on the magical journey charted by Rowling that has enchanted millions of readers who have travelled alongside her inimitable characters, especially the trio – Harry, Ron and Hermione that kept growing up on them through their subsequent adventures in the world of wizards and witchcraft.
What struck me most as I read the book was how the story and characters have the potential to start a meaningful dialogue on several issues that confront teen-agers today – dilemmas that do not have easy answers or a simple way of resolving. The series offer excellent resource material for values education and essential life skills teaching. The characters are well etched and rounded embodying qualities like courage(of the titular character and many others), trustworthiness(Hagrid), loyalty( Harry’s unwavering loyalty towards Dumbledore), unconditional love( Lily’s love for Harry)and virtues like honesty, integrity of character, allegiance to good, ethical code of conduct morality, righteousness … And the list goes on. The best thing about the series is not only does it deal with contentious issues but also offers panacea for them. Take for instance the phenomenon of dementors that the author has so imaginatively conjured up – the soul-less evil incarnations that suck up the life force from its victims leaving them vulnerable and feeling worthless! They are equivalent of chronic depression many youngsters are afflicted with in the real world today. The remedy professed by the author to confront the Dementors has a meaningful implication when applied in real life. The Patronus charm cast by dwelling on the most powerful happy experience/memory keeps the dementors away! Could there be a better or more effective medication to keep depressive thoughts at bay? The concept of Horcrux-spliting the soul into many parts and preserving it in many objects/ creatures – a part of Voldemort’s soul living in Harry makes us think about the existence of both good and bad in us; the neutrality of the Centurions – not taking sides; living off others; greed for power; the duality of good and bad; sacrificing an individual for the greater good of community; purity of love; good having a stronger pull over evil, etc are just some of the themes running through the course of the entire narrative.
Don’t take my word for it! Hear it from two 15 year olds who have grown up with the Harry Potter series since their 4th grade and one presently in his fourth grade.
My Magical Journey with Harry Potter
My encounter with Harry Potter happened accidently. I had heard about Harry Potter but was not inspired to read it. One day when I turned on the TV, I realized that no animation movies were playing on the English Channels. One of the channels was playing one of the Harry Potter movies. I decided to watch. I mused the movie wouldn’t be bad. I started watching from the middle of action. It was only during the commercial break did I realize that I had become a statue! The story was fantastic. I was bewitched by the magical world of Harry Potter. There were so many questions racing in my mind after watching the movie. Of course, I have found the answers now, thanks to my senior who lent me the first book of the series. Well, I must admit I have not learnt everything about Harry’s world yet as I am presently reading the fourth book in the series. I now have the entire collection and look forward to reading them all in the coming days. So far I have enjoyed reading the books which have taught me a lesson, that is – Never Judge or underestimate anything without seeing it, tasting it or reading it. I think that the series became extremely popular because of the element of ‘magic-’ it is every child’s dream. But children never express it because children know that they sound crazy because it doesn’t exist but it exists in their dreams. But Rowling was not like that. She wrote with all her imagination and expressed her feelings towards magic. Thus, ‘HARRY POTTER’ became popular. It teaches us some values which we should have in us as well as some traits which we should not have in us. Loyalty, true friendship, bravery, sacrifice and love are all the values we should have in us. Greed, evil are all the traits we should not have in us.
IV-B, DPS Coimbatore
J.K ROWLING – A Real Wordsmith
A train, running late, from Manchester to London could be a very normal experience for an average Joe. But not for J.K Rowling! Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger: the three characters and a little magical world took form in the young woman’s mind precisely during the delayed train journey. Poor and broken she was, but determined to face life with her indomitable will. Thus through a rich and vivid imagination the first book of the Harry Potter series was born. J.K. Rowling occupies a very special place among writers of great repute in my heart because I feel she has been instrumental in shaping my personality in more profound ways than one. I have fond memories of growing on a staple of her books.
I was ten years old during my first encounter with Harry Potter books. This was the first series I have ever read. I was enthralled by the book, especially the magical world created by her fertile imagination. Though fantastical in nature, I was strangely drawn to this fictitious world and could very much relate to it. The magic, witches, wizards, friendship…just about everything in the book was my dream equivalent – something I had fantasized before finding the exact same things in the book! So imagine my thrill! Only after some years, was I able to realize the amount of effort and work she must have put in to make a little child relate to a painstakingly construed world. The best part is the author writes in very a simple and beautiful language that even very young children understand very easily. The words she uses are very apt and comely. I was able to make a personal connection with the author because of the clarity of writing.
The enduring allure of the book for me is not just the element of fantasy but also many values and life lessons imparted through the characters. For example, Albus Dumbledore exemplifies leadership, Severus Snape epitomizes bravery, Lily Potter’s love, to name a few, are sterling virtues we need most in today’s world. These characters offer study of character building. Certain characters touched me very deeply, especially, that of Dumbledore. I simply admired Dumbledore for his calmness and thinking. This one line of Dumbledore’s hit me hard: ‘Curiosity is not a sin. But we should exercise caution with our curiosity’. Those who are adventurous, like me, must really know this. However, this is not J.K Rowling’s best quality.
Her scintillating quality is consistency. Her works are very consistent and precise. Every single character remains the same till the end. It is startling that each and every character and scene detail’s relevance is brought out easily. If you have never read a series of books try this one! Every age group can relate to her, so don’t miss it! I have been enormously touched by her works. Try her books. You might also be enamoured by her. Good Luck!
9 A, DPS Coimbatore
J.K. ROWLING: A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION FOR MILLIONS
‘It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.’
These are the words of J.K. Rowling, the world-famous author of the multi-award-winning Harry Potter series. She had her own struggle to achieve what she is now. Her success was a consequence of hard-work, perseverance, determination and most importantly failure. She has said that failure taught her more than anything else in life. She got the idea for the Harry Potter world while travelling in a delayed train. Then she started writing, but was soon devastated by the death of her mother. She then got married and became a single mother after her divorce. So she continued to write her book and finally completed it, but again met with failure when no one was ready to publish her book. At last, the Bloomsbury publishing company published it because the chairman’s daughter loved the first chapters of the book. The rest, as they say, is history. There was no looking back for Rowling. She continued to write and published seven books in the Harry Potter series as well as numerous other books. Her life is a source of inspiration for everyone of us. We will never really know our own strength until tested by adversity. Failure is inevitable and it makes us stronger. Rowling strongly believed in herself and that is what has made her the first female to become a billionaire author, an international literary sensation and a source of inspiration for millions of people all around the earth. She is considered a ‘PROOF’ that failure is the stepping stone to success because if she had succeeded in any other field, she might not have started writing and we might never have had HARRY POTTER today.
Smrithi Pratulya, .
9 A, DPS Coimbatore
P Ajitha is an ‘accidental’ teacher who having stumbled upon teaching by chance has stayed put by choice having found the vocation enabling as well as ennobling. She teaches English and Life Skills with occasional foray into in-house teacher training at Delhi Public School, Coimbatore but prefers to call herself a co-traveller in the journey called education she embarks with her students and peers together. Like minded teaching practitioners can reach her at email@example.com.