Harry Potter Mania

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    In a few bewitching hours, the next Harry Potter book will magically appear on shelves of nearly every bookstore worldwide. Projections for profits are in the mega-millions. Then there are the movie versions.

    Going to Harry Potter movies involves more than just forking over money for a ticket and getting a tub of popcorn. Many people dress the part, picking the uniforms of a “house” like Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or even Slytherin. No other set of movies has encouraged the visible adoption of a character or group except perhaps the Star Wars series.

    A few months ago, Amazon.com reported nearly 1.6 million people around the globe had pre-ordered the final book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” That’s a lot of wizard-struck muggles.

    Why the fascination with a young forehead-scarred teen and his entourage of mini-wizards? And why are some people boycotting the last book of the series?

    In the early adventures of Harry Potter some parents and educators linked the books to Satanism, spouting evil lurked in alleyways and magic wands caused catastrophes.

    Many wary folks banned the volumes from reading lists and home libraries.

    Yet other parents and teachers sang their praises, saying young boys were finally interested in reading. Some studies show a direct link between reading the popular series and higher literacy levels. That’s a bit of magic in itself.

    Currently, the book is being boycotted because some people are upset the U.S. publisher didn’t print the book on recycled paper and are urging buyers to purchase from Canadian sellers, who did.

    The fact remains, J.K. Rowling has enchanted many who now list reading as a favorite pastime.

    To break down the real magic of the books, consider these points – the three major players, Harry, Ron and

    Hermione, don’t do drugs and aren’t having intimate relations. They stand by each other as friends. They’ve grown from awkward teens to capable young adults, paralleling the lives of many readers.

    Hermione is a girl and a nerd. And that’s OK. What a great role model!

    The books aren’t just for kids either. Parents can read and discuss mythical creatures, vivid characters, unbelievable potions and future plot twists with children, who for the most part, would rather roll their eyes and stomp out of a room than have a mini-book club meeting with mom or dad. These books have created a connectedness not many others have.

    If the BYU bookstore can stay open past midnight, hosting a late-night costume party complete with magic tricks, a wand-making station and a photo-op with a life-sized Hagrid, people might want to take a chill potion about the whole “magic is evil” discussion.

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