I’m pretty sure Hagrid said somewhere ‘Yer an icon Harry‘. If you read the title and you’re not a potterhead, I bet you’re thinking ‘that’s a bold claim Stacey‘; well my friend allow me to explain. There’s no denying there are successful franchises out there, with their own legacy; Star Wars and Marvel are living proof of that. However, I’m willing to argue (and bet large amounts of butterbeer) that Harry Potter is not only one of the most impactful franchises of all time (seriously top two material), but it forever altered how we view pop culture and fiction. Unlike the other franchises I’ve mentioned who are continuously pushing out new content; until 2016, generations of Harry Potter fans only had movies and books that are decades old. Not to mention it gave us the perfect ice-breaker question: ‘What house are you in?‘ (I don’t know how I would’ve survived college without it). This wizard changed fantasy, book culture and fiction as a whole; so on the anniversary of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets let’s rediscover our love for all things Harry.
The many things I adore about the Chamber of Secrets, are testament to why this series has been around for around twenty years (give that time to sink in). The horror when Harry confronted the basilisk, the humor in the infamous slug scene ,or the duel between Harry and Draco that laid the foundation for Drarry shippers everywhere. But my favorite is the iconic car scene, if the geniuses at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter can make that a ride I’d greatly appreciate it. Plus, any scene with Dobby is golden in my book. What makes Harry Potter unique and revolutionary is the mere fact that children for once had a book that encompassed all these elements. We had humor, darkness,death, relatability and of course magic; children’s books were finally showing the adversity real life kids face. Whether it be overcoming a bully or losing a loved one, Harry showed you that you can get through this.
While it was once ‘uncool’ to be a lover of fantasy, Harry Potter had a major hand in shifting the public’s opinion. Nowadays you can’t even attend Comic Con without seeing at least one Harry; plus don’t get me started on the last minute Harry Potter Halloween costumes. However, Harry’s popularity isn’t waning anytime soon, in fact quite the opposite. Just last year Reverend Daniel Reehil, who runs St. Edward Catholic School in Tennessee, banned Rowling’s books afraid of their influence on his students. Shockingly enough he’s not the only one, the Harry Potter series has topped the list of most banned books in America for many years. Imagine growing up without Harry Potter? The horror.
So let’s recap: we’re celebrating how Harry Potter changed fiction on the 22nd anniversary of the Chamber of Secrets. That sentence alone is mind-boggling. We can acknowledge that this year has been very hard for many potterheads (myself included); so the question is ‘how are we to feel?‘. We should feel proud of ourselves; we breathed a love and life into characters that has lasted for decades. This love might I remind you produced movies, plays and amazing theme parks. The feeling Harry, Hermione, and Ron gave us, that magical feeling, is real. And so are our memories. So let’s raise our wands to the boy who lived and here’s to next two decades.