Nathan Bransford, Author


Monday, June 26, 2017

Harry Potter at 20 -- What has the series meant to you?


Today marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone, and what a twenty years it's been. An entire generation has now been raised on Harry Potter, in addition to those of us who came to the series as adults.
I came to the series a bit late, and first read Harry Potter during one of my summers in college, when I was spending six weeks in remote Alaska. What a magical time to read it though. I would read it by sunlight until 1 AM in a few of Alaska's strange and amazing summer perma-days.

The books are not without their flaws. The rules of Quidditch still make no sense whatsoever, and the adverbed dialogue tags can rankle.

But what an incredible series! So richly imagined, so well-executed. It's just so fun to spend time within those pages, when it's not harrowing and when Dolores Umbrage isn't making our skin crawl with rage.

Like nearly every children's book author, I had Harry Potter in the back of my head as I was writing Jacob Wonderbar, knowing how thoroughly J.K. Rowling had raised the game and setting nearly impossible expectations. I now know just how hard it is to do the things she pulls off seemingly effortlessly, and I bow to her for pulling it off.

What has Harry Potter meant to you?

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5 comments:

Julie C. said...

I started reading them at the behest of my dear friend right before the third book came out. Who was I to argue with that?? I ended up curled up on my couch during a thunderstorm (who knew books came with sound effects?!) and fell in love with the world.
Years later, I made my first cross country move all on my own to a new town in a new state, where I knew no one. The day after I got there, my possessions were unloaded and crammed in my small apartment. But the bright spot was, that was the day The Goblet of Fire came out. So I grabbed my wallet and headed to the nearest store. I got home with my book and lunch, literally crawled over boxes to get to my comfy chair. And sat, cross legged as boxes were surrounding my chair, and read. And for that time, things were so scary in my world. It gave me an escape from the uncertainty of my new life and gave me some comfort when I needed it.
That may sound corny, but if it does, then I guess I am just corny. :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

I never knew about the actual books until after I saw HP and the Chamber of Secrets. I had been a HUGE fan of the first movie. My father had just died after 3 months of pancreatic cancer and I was back in my home town. The local theatre was playing HP and the Sorcerer's Stone... It was truly the magical escape I had needed after such a traumatic experience. I loved the world JK created and couldn't wait for the film to come out on DVD.

Right after the second movie, I researched the film and found out about JK Rowling and her amazing books. By that point the first four were already out. I read all four within a week and then the wait began. Months had gone by and no release date for HP and the Order of the Phoenix. I was on that line at midnight waiting ... Same for books Six, and Seven.

Shortly after five, I started collecting the first editions both the British and American versions. Sadly by that point First/First books had escalated to a price I couldn't afford. But I did manage to get all the others. One day I hope to have at leas the American First/First of HPSS. I just ordered the 20th anniversary editions and will proudly add those to my collection.

This book also influenced me to become a writer. I learned so much from JK Rowling especially about creating AMAZING chemistry with characters. That is why they are so special to me. The characters are so believable and play off each other beautifully....

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY HP and Thank you, J. K. Rowling for putting the MAGIC back into my life.

MH Staight said...

I was an adult when I began reading the Harry Potter books. My 'excuse' was I worked with kids and needed to know the current trends in order to keep up with the kids. However, it didn't take to many pages before I was totally in love with this skinny kid with the lightning scar on his forehead. And then there was Dumbledore and his telling Harry that his mother's love was in his very skin. I thought - "What a wonderful lesson this author just gave to children (and adults too)!" The whole series had themes about: Love being stronger than evil; how everyone has choices, so make them carefully; and how friendships needs to be nurtured and held dear. JK Rowling was sneaky about laying these lessons out in her books, but they are there and that is why children, teens and adults are better persons for having read the series.
I learned tons and tons of things from JK Rowling about writing by the careful analysis of her every word - while scouring the books for clues as to what would be the fate of Harry. I truly believe the world is a better place for having the Harry Potter series in it.

G.B. Miller said...

To be perfectly honest, the book series never did anything for me. Never even got around to reading it and frankly, once the movies started coming it made me want to read them even less. The only impression that JK Rowling made on me was the fact that she outed one of her main characters as gay to a bunch of 7 & 8 year olds at a library talk. I thought that was presumptuous of her to supersede a parent's role in explaining the facts of life and the modern world to a child.

Nathan Bransford said...

G.B., how do you have strong feelings about a series you haven't even read. And then you're offended because one of the characters is gay?

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