In 1990, a simple train ride from Manchester to London sparked an idea that would change an era.
The English author J.K. Rowling took six years to publish this idea into her first novel, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Ten years later, Rowling managed to complete a seven-novel series and changed a generation forever.
The Harry Potter series had a great impact on now college-age adults from 18-25. When asked how this series has affected his life, Scott Dastrup, a digital media major from Lindon, said he secretly wished to be accepted to Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
“The whole idea of this secret magical world, riddled with spells, enchanted candy varieties and complete with a mystical wizarding school for kids was so immensely exciting that it caused me to secretly long for my acceptance letter to Hogwarts,” Dastrup said. “I had already been an avid reader of other book series before, but Harry Potter caused me to really exercise my imagination.”
Year after year, Potter watchers would read and re-read previous novels in the series, anticipating and guessing what would happen next. That same age group basically grew up with Harry Potter. As Harry’s character grew, the rest of the world did, too.
Kelley Bromley, 23, an exercise and wellness major from Riverton, Wyo., said she was thrilled the first time she entered through platform nine and three quarters.
“I started reading Harry Potter when I was 11,” Bromley said. “It was the first time I had ever really been excited about reading. Since then, I have read and re-read all of the books. I was the kid with the countdown on my bulletin board waiting for the next installment of the series.”
However, Harry Potter enthusiasts are on both sides of the spectrum – the lovers and the haters. The animosity toward Potter haters creates a polarizing effect among that generation.
According to Nathan Pullman, an information technology major from Spanish Fork, the series has been like being hit in the face by a blast-ended skrewt.
“I have been persecuted and treated like a freak throughout my childhood for not liking it,” Pullman said. “Just because I was bored with the series doesn’t mean I should be singled out as a ‘abnormal.'”
A few people may feel a bit like a muggle, clueless to the happenings in the magical realm, but most students successfully learned to cast their fist spell, ever immersing themselves in Rowling’s magical world.
Aaron Sorenson, a communications major from Ephraim, said he marveled at the people who would camp out before every “Quidditch match.”
“One way I think Harry Potter has changed and defined our era is late night releases,” Sorenson said. ” I don’t remember people waiting in line in a bookstore or theater for a movie till it gets released at 12:01. Our generation now expects their entertainment to be made available asap and we’re willing to camp out and wait in lines to get our hands on it.”
Just like the Hogwarts pumpkin juice and pasties vanish at the end of a meal, the final installment of the Harry Potter film series came to an end today.
Just as the destruction of the last horcrux ended Voldemort’s tyrannic reign, Logan Chun, a computer science major from Lehi, said he was happy that things finally came to an end.
“I liked the books when I was a kid, and I loved the way they ended,” Chun said. “To continue would strike me as chintzy or gimmicky. I’ve been a reader for ages, but I know lots of my friends who started to read for pleasure after being introduced to the Harry Potter books. The real triumph of the series is being easily accessible and readily publicized in a way that attracts youngsters to read on their own time, beyond the simple bare minimums for the classes they are taking. Books are now a big deal, and that is never a bad thing.”
Avada Kadavra, the killing curse, marks the end of life. With the end of the series, Dastrup said he feels as if something has been hit with that green light, never to return.
“There is always a sad feeling after Christmas,” Dastrup said. “That’s kind of how I feel now that Harry Potter is ending – like Christmas is over but now it’s never coming back.”