Let’s face it people, Harry Potter ate the world. As a fantasy writer, I now have trouble coming up with ideas that meld the magical world with the normal world that don’t sound like I got it from freaking J.K. Rowling. Even terms and ideas I’d been using in my head for years now sound like something from Harry Potter. I always called non-magical people mundanes. Rowling calls them muggles. Who is not going to see that and assume I ripped it off from Harry Potter? I feel like I’m speaking blaspheme because I damn well love Harry Potter, although I’ve only seen the movies. But the Boy Who Lived is now the Books That Rule.
Part one of the final movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, comes to theaters today. While I didn’t line up in the cold last night to see a mid-night showing, I’ll probably shell out twelve bucks in the next week or two to see it in the theaters. Because, seriously, you can’t have a movie with a broom riding hero and not want to see it in the theaters. But there is another half of me that hates J.K. Rowling and her creation. She’s living my dream, damn it, and she’s living it in such a way that I think other people will have even more trouble getting their work published and recognized than before.
Fantasy and sci-fi are two of the most popular genres in books and movies. They are what sells because they are what people want to read about. People use books and movies as a means to escape from the trudge of life and to leave petty worries and concerns behind. What better way to get outside yourself than to read about a hero trying to save the world and be almost guaranteed there will be a happy ending at the same time? It is, frankly, the whole reason why we humans read books and watch movies that are fiction. They serve no other purpose except as entertainment and allowing us to get out of our own heads for a little while.
But the success of Harry Potter has taken over the world. It’s been reported that the Harry Potter books have been translated into sixty six different languages. Probably more. The movies are just as widely distributed. No matter what culture or country you go to, they have no doubt heard of Harry Potter. The amount of merchandise is ridiculous with board games, PC games, action figures, stuffed dolls, costumes, and movie duplicate props like wands and broomsticks. They even have a Clue game that is now Harry Potter themed. Harry Potter ate my childhood.
The last book in the series has been released and devoured by the masses. Now the first part to the last movie is hitting theaters and I shutter to think how much money Warner Bros. is getting from this two part film. All six releases of the Harry Potter movies are on the list of highest grossing films worldwide. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for you British folks) sits at number eight with $974,733,550. The other movies all sit within the first twenty, although for some reason Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban sits at number twenty eight. It’s odd, since J.K. Rowling professes that the Prisoner of Azkaban is her favorite film. There’s even a theme park for Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. Harry Potter is everywhere.
But the truly horrifying thing is that Microsoft Word recognizes “Rowling” and “Azkaban” as proper words and doesn’t flag them as misspelled gibberish. You know you’ve taken over the world when Microsoft bows down to you and adds your name to their word possessor dictionary.