“…We have lived through a decade in which we have followed the publication of the liveliest, funniest, scariest and most moving children’s stories ever written…”
-A.N. Wilson (literary critic)
“…this is one series not just for the decade, but for the ages.”
On July 21 2007, some would have felt that the spell that had entranced us for over a decade was at last over. Little did they know how wrong they were. For if it was, I wouldn’t be writing on the Harry Potter series and you wouldn’t be reading it a year and 6 days after the last of the series was published.
The magic is on…
Ask any bookseller, and he would tell you that Harry Potter books still have buyers. Ask any fan of the series, and he would still be rereading Harry Potter. Ask any critic, and he would tell you he had just come up with another criticism against the books.
This series of books chronicles the life of Harry Potter- an orphan. His parents were wizards who were murdered by the evil Voldemort. The central theme of the book is Harry’s struggle against this very evil wizard throughout his 6 years in Hogwarts and one year out of it.
I shall not elaborate on the plot any further. For you have either already read the series or you haven’t, in which case, I wouldn’t like to spoil your fun.
Rowling created a world for us to explore; to forget the monotony of our lives and enter the ever adventurous and brilliantly wonderful world of Harry and his friends, a world where magic never ceases. A world which brought an entire generation of kids back to books. A world where the reader discovers magic and imagination through the eyes of the novice – Harry Potter. In this regard, Rowling has probably done more than any other writer of any generation. And yet, to label this series as Children’s book will be a grave insult to the genius of the world’s richest author.
This series has garnered what is probably the biggest fan following for any book ever. And to think that Rowling and her world of magic was rejected by eight publishers before Bloomsbury stepped in.
One of the major themes of these books is that of death – with Harry’s life being the central figure around which all the tragic incidents were played out. And yet an innate sense of humor ran through the pages of the books. In that sense, Rowling’s Dickensian ability to make us weep and then laugh every couple of pages needs to be lauded.
That is the captivating essence of these books. Even after becoming progressively dark, Harry Potter and his adventures always had something positive to offer. It had so many themes running through it, intrinsically linked with either the characters or the events. Every character and every plot had something to tell us, to teach us.
Rowling says that the books are about “a prolonged argument for tolerance, a prolonged plea for an end to bigotry”. At the same time, the theme of adolescence is ever present, entrenched in the whole plot.
The books are also about the abuse of power, questioning authority, and free choice. It is, as Rowling says, the ability to choose between what is right and what is easy which is the key to the moral significance of the tale.
But above all, this series is about love and hope. I bet Dumbledore would agree. “The magic of Love” reigns supreme, towering above all other themes. Along with love there is hope, sacrifice, friendship. There are bonds which can’t be expressed in words. So when Dudley (in the farewell to Privet Drive scene in the final book) says that he will miss Harry, the lump that forms in our throats is absolutely normal.
And that is also when you realize you will be missing him too,…very badly!