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Book Review Circle gossip
Harry Potter's Magic: Simplified for Muggles
Anyone, residing anywhere in the world, who has the slightest interest in pleasure reading, knows who Harry Potter is. This eleven year old wizard with a lightening shaped scar on his forehead has stolen the hearts of kids and adults worldwide, made pleasure reading fashionable, and reduced children's fear of fat books. What's more, Harry Potter has also created a brand worth £15 billion* in the process!
How does Harry do it? Or rather, how did a single British mother, living on welfare funding, do it in just twelve years time? What is the special skill required to recreate the magic of Harry Potter? Can anyone apart from J K Rowling do it?
Well, here are a few thoughts worth pondering on:
Any book seeking to redo a Harry Potter has to be written in English. The book has to be able to capture the power center of the world: USA. Britain, Canada, all the erst while English colonies will slowly fall in line. Together, these English speaking nations will have summed up a sizable portion of the world market. Would J K have been as successful, had she been a German or Portuguese writer? I doubt.
The book has to be a hit in the USA and has to be exported culturally from it, or else it has little chances of becoming a worldwide rage. Consider similar cultural exports from the USA like Titanic and Jurassic Park( in movies), Mcdonalds and Starbucks( in food), Levis jeans( in apparel)... the list could go on and on. Little wonder then that the first HP book 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone' was renamed 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ' for the US market, thus customizing it to US tastes.
The masses have to relate to the theme of the book. Why didn't Tolkien's Lord of the Rings or C S Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia' become as successful as HP? Both these books are classics in their genres but don't relate to the ordinary lives that the masses lead. Narnia is an alternative universe and Lord of the Rings is set in a fictitious Middle Earth. HP on the other hand talks of a fantastic magical world set right in the heart of London! We don't get to see it but the boy wizards go to school, have good and bad teachers, get graded, there is a postal service, there are boyhood pranks....in short, the story has all the elements of our regular world- woven with, of course, a little magic!
The Internet (and social networking) has to play a major part in the publicity of the book- building the initial fan base which creates a hype for it which will then keep snowballing into a huge mass of supporters . It took the Beatles 10 years to achieve their success. Had the Internet helped their fan bases to socialize at that time, I am sure the Beatles would have been a rage in half that much time.
Promoting the storyline via a movie is a good idea. Merchandising it is even better.Had JK not sold the movie rights of HP to Warner Brothers, would HP have become such a success?I mean, the first HP book was published in 1997 and as early as 1998, JK had sold the film rights of the first four HP books to Warner Bros. The first HP movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was released in 2001. Couple that with HP T-shirts, mugs, watches and what not, that is up for the grabs, you have all the paraphernalia you need to grip youngsters in a mad HP fever.
So these are some of the factors that I think has helped Harry Potter become the mass sensation he is today. Can you think of anything else? Write in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about it.
Book Review Circle suggested read:
All 7 Harry Potter books-find out what the craze is all about
Book Review Circle Quiz:
See if you know answers to the following
- What is the wizard world equivalent to a postal system in the muggle world in the HP series?
- What is the wizard world equivalent to a transportation system in the muggle world in the same series?
- What is the wizard world equivalent to a telephonic communication system in the muggle world in the same series?
- Owl Mail
- Floo Network
- Floo Network again, but this time the use of Floo powder is less
Do write in to us at email@example.com with your comments, updates and suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you.
Ok. I will leave you to munch on that.
Happy reading till we meet again.