By: Amara Tamborini
When momentous events occur, many people can tell you extremely minute and seemingly insignificant details about where they were, what they were wearing or what they were doing at or around the time of the event. Some time around mid November, 2001 I lost a tooth in the back seat of my mother’s car and got a lollipop stuck in my hair all in one day. That same night sometime around mid November in 2001, I saw Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the very first time in theaters. Some time around mid November, 2001, I became engulfed in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. This tiny and vivid memory of losing a measly tooth and a lollipop has stuck with me for fifteen years and I think Harry Potter has a little something to do with that. The Harry Potter series has had a dramatic impact on my life as it has for so many others.
When the first Harry Potter movie premiered in the United States, I was six years old. Over the next ten years, I would go on countless adventures, battle mystical beasts and learn charms and enchantments; I would come wand to wand with many evils and mourn the loss of many loved ones; I would grow and mature and I would laugh and smile, all along side next to Harry, Ron and Hermione.
If it weren’t for the Harry Potter series, I would not be the person I am today. That seems like a very bold statement, I must address the impact that Harry Potter had on my life. My time in primary school was challenging. I struggled with paying attention or getting through certain tasks. Years later I would learn that I have ADHD and dyslexia. At the time however, I fought against myself to get through school. One area I particularly struggled with was reading. It wasn’t that I couldn’t read, it just took me far longer than the other kids because I would have to reread sentences two or three times. I took extra reading classes and was considered to be held back a grade. Eventually I began to hate reading all together. But that all came to change when I began reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I remember going to school and sitting at the edge of the circle feeling excluded as my friends all talked about the chapter of Harry Potter they all read last night. Eventually I decided I’d take a shot at reading the first book, but felt instantly defeated as I struggled to get through all of the magical words, spells and unique names. I had piles of unfinished books books that had gathered over time, but I refused to add Harry Potter to the pile. Every night I worked line by line, sentence by sentence until I read the final words of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It was time to take on the next book: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but I was afraid to take on an even harder and longer book. I pushed forward and started the second book. Shortly there after, I found it to be more challenging than the first and was ready to give up. It was then that my mother had a brilliant idea. She decided that she would read the books along with me. The process started off slowly because it was hard to find time to read together between school and sports. A lot of our time together was spent on long car rides to my soccer practices. To utilize that time, she rented the book on tape and she would listen as I would read along in the car. This system changed my life. I instantly found it easier to get through books with the assistance of an audio recording. It helped keep me focused as well and connected what I was seeing with the actual words. More importantly, it gave me the confidence and skills to get through not only the rest of the Harry Potter series, but also countless books and stories to come. To this very day, I still use audio books as aid to get through assignments and leisure reading. With hard work, determination and a little bit of magic, just about anything can be done.
But that is just one story out of millions of wizards and witches lives that the Harry Potter series has touched. What started off as an idea conceived on a delayed train from Manchester in 1990, evolved in to a global phenomenon. Both the books and movies, have grown in to one of the largest and most successful multimedia franchises in history. During our visit to The Making of Harry Potter Museum, we were privileged with the opportunity to speak to Josh Berger, the president of Warner Brother’s U.K. His position has many roles and responsibilities, but one of his most important tasks is managing the relationship between Rowling and Warner Brothers, helping transform Rowling’s material and stories in to many different markets and parts of the franchise.
Since J.K Rowling’s book The Philosopher’s Stone was published in October of 1996, Harry Potter has come a very long way. Rowling would go on to write six more books to the Harry Potter series. Over 450 million copies have been sold world wide. Harry Potter series has reached the farthest corners of the globe, published in over two hundred countries and adapted in to seventy-three other languages. Rowling has continued to write and publish books including three spin offs; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard. The franchise also includes eight film adaptions of the Harry Potter books as well as the upcoming film adaption of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that is to be released within the next year. Witches, wizards and even muggles can experience the magic first hand at a number of attractions. The Harry Potter theme parks can be found at Universal Studios in both Orlando, Florida and Los Angeles, California. 2016 is set to a big year for Rowling. On top of the production of of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the eighth edition of the Harry Potter series is scheduled to be released mid summer in the form of a live action play. The magic continues in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, picking up around where the Deathly Hollows left off with Harry, Ron and Hermione in their adult lives sending off kids of their own to Hogwarts.
What else lays in store for Rowling and the Harry Potter franchise is unknown, but I have no doubt that the Harry Potter series will continue to impact culture and many young witches and wizards to come. The ministry remains strong. My experience at the Harry Potter Studio was truly magical and allowed me to acknowledge how influential the series has been on my life. Thank you J.K Rowling, Ron, Hermione and Harry for all of the magic. Always.