June 30, 1997. That’s the date when the first book in the Harry Potter series was released. Fifteen years ago. Since then, there have been six more books, eight movies, scads of memorabilia, and a theme park. All of this coming from the mind of a women who began the book while living on social assistance. The latter of which should be the most important aspect of this, and as a political aside, if it wasn’t for social programs like welfare, someone like J. K. Rowling would never have written those seven books which captured the imaginations of a generation of children (and some adults, too).
But this isn’t about a political rant. It has more to do with staying power.
During that year when the first Harry Potter book hit shelves, Star Trek The Next Generation had just finished celebrating its tenth year since it launched. Captain Picard, Riker, Worf, Crusher (both Beverly and Wesley), Troi, Data, Geordi, and even the Enterprise herself are so ingrained into our minds. It helped create the feeling for Terak Nor (Deep Space Nine) and that Intrepid Class Starship lost in the Delta Quadrant. It’s been over two decades now since TNG premiered and people still talk about all of Star Trek with great memories. That’s some staying power.
I believe it’s obvious that Harry Potter will have the same kind of staying power, considering that the book series and subsequent movies tugged at the heart strings of children. As we grow older, we often find that the things we remember from our youth that were pleasing stay with us. Harry Potter will have that affect.
So it’s not hard to imagine that in another ten or twenty years, Harry Potter will still make waves and still be talked about. You never know, maybe in another thirty years there might even be the talk about relaunching the movies for a new generation of movie goers (whether we actually go sit in a cinema or watch the movies at home is another matter entirely).
Harry Potter has joined an elite class of literary and big screen giants. Joining the likes of J.R.R. Tolien’s Lord of the Rings, Lucas’ Star Wars, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s Alice in Wonderland, and A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. There’s other major works of fiction that Harry Potter can be compared with, but I chose those because they all are works of fantasy (or science) fiction, readily capture the imagination, can be enjoyed by young and old alike, and are all grand, sweeping epics.
I do recall at one time, hearing those say that Harry Potter wouldn’t last. It was a flash in the pan, and we’d all forget about it in a couple of years. I may even contributed that (1997 is a long time ago, and I was 27 at the time, so I can’t exactly recall). But here we are, fifteen years later. I think that Harry Potter has passed the test of time.