The Potter-less generation

Rachel Kaplan

Harry Potter. If you’re a senior, chances are simply uttering the name brings to mind magic, wonderment, and a life-changing obsession. However, many underclassmen, such as freshman Max Holly simply think, “That book is too long.” Ninth grader Alex Rios agreed, “it’s just not that important.” Both statements are widely regarded as borderline blasphemous by the upperclassmen who have spent hours upon hours in line at midnight premieres and reading the beloved books that changed the face of literature and pop culture. Though some underclassmen are seriously lacking Potter-love, the enrapturing quality of everything HP still remains strong among the senior class. Out of 150 students polled by the Knight Errant, the average amount of Potter books read by seniors was nearly six, while freshman and sophomores averaged barely over two. Whether underclassmen are under the effect of a culture gap, think they’re too cool, or were simply born too late, it seems that we have a Post-Potter Generation on our hands, a day many thought would never come.

Freshmen’s view
With the first Harry Potter book hitting shelves in 1997, most seniors would have been five years old when first engrossed with the novels. Even at the movie premiere of Sorcerer’s Stone in 2001, twelfth graders were only nine, and freshmen a mere six years old. With the class of 2010 being some of the youngest of the HP fandom, it seems a generation gap has separated the youngsters from experiencing the magic at the same scale.

“The movies are boring. I don’t like the magic, it’s dumb.” — Madeline Roberts
“The books were too long and I didn’t have time to read them.” — Kaitlin Duda
“I just got bored with the books so I stopped.” — Shannon Kraemer
“The books were too long and they had movies out.” — Max Holly

Seniors’ nostalgia
Whether you stayed up all night under your blanket with a book light to finish Sorcerer’s Stone, cried for days over the death of your favorite character, or waited by the mailbox the day you turned eleven to receive your Hogwarts letter via owl, these students can relate. Harry Potter for these students wasn’t just a book series: it was a way of life.

Melissa Plooster
Knight Errant: Whats the longest time you’ve spent reading/partaking in HP activities?
Melissa Plooster: My entire life has been devoted to that wizard.
KE: What magical power would you want to have?
MP: I’d want to be able to see the future and be like Professor Trelawny. She’s basically the coolest woman ever. Or take care of mythical creatures. I wonder if I’d ever see a unicorn.

*Read what else Melissa and other seniors had to say about Harry Potter at https://bsmknighterrant.org/features/2010/02/26/harry-potter-2/

Potter fans look forward to:
Thought your life was over when the seventh book was released in 2007? Not to worry, there’s still plenty of HP fandom with two more movies, an exhibit, and a real universe of Harry Potter to come.

Already having made a stop in near-by Chicago over the summer, Harry Potter: The Exhibition lets fans encounter the real-life props and costumes used in shooting the films, from a giant chess piece to the flying Ford Anglia. Even better, the exhibit is based on the magical locations of the Gryffindor common room, Hagrid’s hut, and the Great Hall. Currently in Boston with plans to hit Toronto for the summer, the exhibit serves as a perfect excuse to travel to Canada over vacation.

With many fans petrified at the end of the film series, thousands were ecstatic to learn that Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows would be released in two parts, the first on November 19th, 2010 and the second on July 15th, 2011. Not only does this prolong the beloved series and allow for another night of fun at a midnight premiere, but the extra length will undoubtedly add to the epic ending of the series.

For all of those desperately seeking a way into Hogwarts, Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida is creating the next best thing. Opening in spring of 2010, the magical amusement park will include an entrance through Hogsmeade station, a recreated Hogwarts castle, rollercoasters entitled “The Dragon Challenge” and “Flight of the Hippogriff,” and a myriad themed shops from Honeydukes and Zonko’s to Ollivanders and The Three Broomsticks.

Timeline:
BOOKS
First book completed: 1995
Sorcerers Stone: June 30, 1997 (UK)
Chamber of Secrets: July 2, 1998 (UK)
Prisoner of Azkaban: July 8, 1999 (UK)
Goblet of Fire: July 8, 2000
Order of the Phoenix: June 21, 2003
Half Blood Prince: July 16, 2005
Deathly Hallows: July 21, 2007

MOVIES
Sorcerers Stone: November 14, 2001
Chamber of Secrets: November 15, 2002
Prisoner of Azkaban: June 4, 2004
Goblet of Fire: November 18, 2005
Order of the Phoenix: July 11, 2007
Half Blood Prince: July 15, 2009

By the numbers:
67: Languages into which the series has been translated.
4,224: Total number of pages in the series.
20: The number of copies of Deathly Hallows sold per second worldwide during the first 24 hours.
400 million+: The number of Harry Potter books sold as of 2008.