The Harry Potter series spawned nothing short of a phenomenon. J.K. Rowling created one of the most loved characters of all-time, not to mention one of the world’s most successful film franchises.
Who is Harry Potter?
The Harry Potter franchise is a global phenomenon like few others. A series of fantasy novels written by J.K. Rowling, the story follows the life of a young wizard, with a dark past and an uncertain future. With an inborn magical ability, Harry is invited to attend ‘Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’. Together with his new friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, he sets out to learn the skills needed to succeed in the wizarding world.
The first novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was released on 26 June 1997. Since their release, the books have sold over 450 million copies worldwide. It was because of its early success that the original seven books were adapted into an eight-part film series by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Captivating a generation
Beginning with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) the story ended with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011). The first Harry Potter film was released a little over a year after Rowling’s fourth book hit the shelves. It has since become a magical success at the box office, becoming one of the highest-grossing film series of all-time.
But, for many, their love for the story was not based on the narrative alone, but the appeal of a carefully crafted fantasy world, full of wonders and mystery. Some of the most memorable moments weren’t plot developments, but the first time we were introduced to things like the ‘Quidditch World Cup’, or the first time we visited ‘Diagon Alley’.
A story that resonates with many people
What was it about these fantasy novels that captured the imagination of a generation? Certainly the films’ success partly reflects peoples’ love of wizards, ghosts and monsters, not to mention the films’ humour, charm and never-ending supply of surprises. The Harry Potter film franchise was able to do something many others could not, which was to maintain a level of quality rarely found in film series that stretch on past one or two movies, let alone eight. The underlying story of Harry Potter is an old one, but a good one. A boy destined for great things is rescued from his miserable future, to face training and trials, in his quest to vanquish evil with his struggle against Lord Voldemort.
It was the underlying storyline surrounding Harry’s childhood that many fans could relate to. For instance, when we see Harry getting fitted for his new wand, ready to start school. The fact we’ve all been there (ok, maybe not for a wand fitting) brings us closer to the characters, as we feel we know what they’re going through. This combined with Harry’s trip through ‘The Leaky Cauldron’ to ‘Diagon Alley’ or catching his train on platform 9 and three-quarters, weaves in magical elements to our normal world, offering an escape to a mystical place that we’d all love to visit.
The world of Harry Potter
Harry Potter has helped shape the world as we know it. So far the Harry Potter brand is valued at $15 billion and still remains as strong as it was 10 years ago.
Full of things like Chocolate Frogs, Butterbeer, Fizzing Whizbees and Bertie Botts' Every Flavour Beans, this world captured the imagination of us 'Muggles' (non-magical people). But there's good news for the Harry Potter fandom; you no longer have to imagine, because you too can now take a step into ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ at several of the Universal Parks & Resorts around the world. Result!
Missed the movies?
Harry Potter is nothing short of a phenomenon. It’s a timeless classic that will never, ever age. But if for some reason if you missed them first time around, here’s what you need to catch up on.
Introducing the films one to eight:
1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)