How J.K. Rowling Changed the World

I have been pondering the world-changing nature of the Harry Potter books, thus the way their author has changed the world. Fifteen years ago none of us had ever heard of Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, Quidditch, Potter, or Voldemort. Now these are a part of our culture in a way which is rare for things that come from a children’s book series. Three pieces of evidence for the way all things Potter are embedded in our culture:

1. I have seen a bumper sticker in my neighbourhood on a car with South Carolina plates that says “Republicans for Voldemort.”

2. Yesterday afternoon I saw a Quidditch practice outside Trinity College on the University of Toronto campus. Yes, university students were running around holding broomsticks between their legs.

3. The Thursday Next novel I am reading is set in Bookworld where everyone is a fictional character, so it isn’t too surprising that Potter is mentioned. It made me laugh though, so I will share. Thursday describes the way reader feedback shapes the way characters look in Bookworld. Harry Potter was annoyed that he had to spend the rest of his life looking like Daniel Radcliffe. Out here in the Real World, I am pretty sure the reverse is also true!

I can’t think of another set of fiction books which is so influential over a variety of aspects of our current culture. Can you?

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “How J.K. Rowling Changed the World

  1. Rachel

    Hmm. Good question. Tolkien’s books? Maybe not quite as broadly. But there was that “Best-Loved” win in 2003 in Britain. And the Hobbit is now three films – they must think someone’s interested! Actually, would there be Harry Potter had there been no Tolkien? Speculation…

  2. Quiddich @ U of T. Perfect

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