What Comes After the Harry Potter Generation?

There are few books out there that define a generation. That usually lies more in the hands of major historical events, technological advances or the popular culture at the time. Harry Potter, perhaps, is a series that defies the norm. The series has sold over 500 million copies since the release of the first novel, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” in 1997. The movie franchise redefined how popular fantasy stories are depicted through film and launched inspiration for countless book-to-movie adaptations that followed. Understandably so. All Potter movies were incredibly well received by the millions of die-hard Harry fans. That alone is a rarity. Many book series that get sold to Hollywood are scrutinized beyond repair. Maybe the story of an overemotional teenage girl and a sparkly vampire rings a bell? Fans tear apart each detail that isn’t included in the movie rendition and then question every new one that was put in place. So understandably there were those that anticipated the animosity that Harry Potter was seemingly doomed to receive. As movies continued to be released, something strange occurred among the community. Fans awaited the films, including any changes, with open arms. Sure, there were those that criticized the deviations from the original story, but those fans still counted down the days until the next film was released. Those fans still were among the hundreds of thousands dressed in Potter garb, waiting in 3-hour long lines just to experience the newest movie’s midnight premiere. It seemed that it wasn’t necessarily about the perfect retelling of the stories, but more about being

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immersed in the world at all that became most important to fans. The Harry Potter fandom became more than a community, but a family. Personally, when I think of Harry Potter, I think of my childhood. It still brings me so much joy to reread the books and rewatch the movies. My dorm room is decked out with three large and in charge Harry Potter posters just because it reminds me of home (and quite honestly, hope). Yes, I am one of those nerdy girls. But I am most definitely not alone. I’ve seen at least 10 Seattle U dorms fashioning Potter décor. But now that the Harry Potter book and movie series is complete, I can’t help but wonder… What will be the next series that shapes a generation? Will there every be another set of novels that sells almost as many copies as the Bible? I am so proud to say that reading is something that defines my childhood and my generation’s childhood. As technology advances, and more blog posts are read than actual novels, will people forget the undeniably good feeling of holding a book in their hands? Will the novels that keep us up into the wee hours of the morning cease to exist? Will generations to come be defined by the hours of television and video games that consume their days, rather than the number of pages they turn? Although wonderful stories take shape on TV and film as well, the heart of a generation doesn’t lie solely within a script. It lies within the thousands of pages, weeks of anticipation and friendships that form around novels.