By Meilan Solly
LEESBURG, VA- In the year 1990, a woman sat on a train traveling from Manchester, England to London. The train was, at the moment, stuck, and would be for the next four hours. In these four hours, the woman, better known as Joanne Kathleen or J.K. Rowling, invented the character of Harry Potter.
Twenty one years later, the Harry Potter series is complete. It consists of seven main books, three books straight from the wizarding world, eight movies, and a mass of fan parodies like A Very Potter Musical. Harry Potter can even boast an amusement park at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
The most recent additions to the Harry Potter franchise are the last movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, and Pottermore, an online reading experience J.K. Rowling unveiled this summer. The movie, as of September, had made $1,312.8 million dollars. It is currently the movie with the third highest worldwide gross, trailing only James Cameron’s creations Avatar and Titanic. Sophomore Claire Frank saw the movie and shared her thoughts on it: “I was a little disappointed. The movie was pretty good, but not the best one, and it didn’t stick to the book as well as it should [have. It wasn’t] the best way for the series to finish.” Leah White, a sophomore, also saw the movie and said, “It had a few twists in it that I was not expecting! Unless you read the books, the movie did not make much sense though.” A Box Office Mojo poll asked 2,579 people how many times they would see the movie in theaters. 30.9% wanted to see it twice, and 13.9% wanted to see the movie four times. Only 0.6% of the poll participants said they walked out the first time they saw Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
As for Pottermore, which the official Pottermore Insider blog describes as “an interactive, illustrated companion to the books,” the site has caused a lot of buzz in the Harry Potter community. It is basically a place to read the books online and experience parts of the Harry Potter world like being sorted into houses, buying a wand, and earning house points.
Pottermore doesn’t officially open until October, but from July 31st to August 6th, one million Harry Potter fans were granted entrance into Pottermore. Each day a clue was posted on the site at a random time. The clue for Day One was related to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the second clue to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, etc. On Day One, the clue read, “How many owls are on the Eeylops Owl Emporium sign? Multiply by 49.” The answer to this question was 245 because five owls were on the sign. The next step in the registration process was attaching the answer to the website address quill.pottermore.com, so the answer for Day 1 was quill.pottermore.com/245. This URL led to a Harry Potter related site, such as Sony, the producer of Pottermore. Once on this site, participants had to find the Magical Quill, which was floating somewhere on the page. From there, the lucky fan was led to the final registration page.
Leah White was one of the million Harry Potter fans granted access to Pottermore. “I was at the beach with Cassie Fuller when we heard about Pottermore. We decided that we would try to get early access. It was already Day 5 so we rented the 5th movie to recap and get ready for the question. We stayed up until two A.M. [and] woke up at 9 A.M. [The clue came up] at 9:10! It turned out to be a stupid question because it just asked how many chapters there were in the book,” she said about her experience.
Starting on August 15th, Pottermore began sending out Welcome e-mails. Once Pottermore users got their Welcome e-mail, they were allowed to enter the site. As of September 8th, about 245,443 people were already in Pottermore. Welcome e-mails will be sent out until September 30th, and registration opens for everyone in October.
As the official Harry Potter series comes to an end, many fans wonder what the future holds for Harry Potter. “I honestly think that Harry Potter will never truly fade away,” Frank predicted. She believes that Harry Potter will live on through “things like the amusement park, Pottermore, and fan fiction, like A Very Potter Musical.” Frank also voiced her reasoning for loving Harry Potter: “The story makes you feel like you’re right there with Harry and his friends as they go through the school year. The whole concept of magic is truly interesting and makes you want to experience what happens in the story. It’s a story that warms your heart and stays with you well after you close the books or finish the movies.” These sentiments are shared by many Harry Potter fans, sometimes called Potterheads, and if these Potterheads get their way, Harry Potter will never truly end, but continue to be loved for many generations.