Hello, and welcome to my first of (hopefully) many Woman Writer Crush Wednesdays (#WWCW)! Shout out to Lila for the awesome graphic! Each week I’ll be posting about a different female writer whose work I admire. To start things off, the Queen of Modern Literature: J.K. Rowling.
Throughout history women have been revolutionaries in the literary world, forever changing the course of what and how we read. In modern times, I can think of no author more influential in the
writing world than J K Rowling.
The Harry Potter series wasn’t just an incredible story–it was a cross-cultural global phenomenon. Harry Potter inspired the creation of movies, musicals, parodies, bands, songs, cosplays, incredible works of fanfiction, fansites, friendships, marriages, foods, drinks, a theme park–the list goes on.
I grew up in the golden age of Harry Potter, and for that I am eternally grateful. There was never anything like it, and it’s hard to imagine something similar occurring again. I recently had the pleasure of introducing a friend to Harry Potter for the first time via the movies, but I struggled to impart on him just what it meant to grow up alongside Harry Potter.
Imagine it: you’re a child reading about a young boy living under the stairs. You witness as he discovers the magic of Hogwarts and are there when he must fight battles he did not create. You’re enveloped in the magic and when you turn the last page, you’re full of anticipation for what comes next.
And you’re not alone. Your sibling and parents have read the books and are discussing at dinner who would be in which Hogwarts house. You go to school, and on the playground people are fighting over who they think Harry will end up with. Even the teachers have an opinion. When a movie comes out, everyone has an opinion on the adaptation–what changed, what was left out, and why couldn’t they just make it three hours like The Lord of the Rings?!
In the weeks leading up to the next book release, a busy street gets closed down and all the storefronts become Harry Potter themed. You sit at a table gluing glitter onto a stick wand next to an elderly woman in a pointy hat who has decorated hers in feathers. And the day before the release, thousands of people around the world queue up for hours in their book stores, trading theories in line with complete strangers, just so they can be the first to get their hands on the new book when the clock strikes midnight.
Oh, how I would love to take a course on the impact of Harry Potter on children’s and young adult literature. Her influence is impossible to quantify–after all, who knows how many writers were inspired by her to create their own stories? One thing’s for sure: before the advent of Harry Potter, the New York Times did not have a Children’s Bestseller list. From personal experience, I remember the creation and growth of the middle-grade and young adult shelves in book stores.
I think I speak for all of us, Potterheads and bookworms and nerds and moviegoers and all of the above, when I say:
Thank you, J.K. Rowling.
Thank you for giving us magic.