What Works For Harry Potter?

Harry Potter has come a long way. A widely praised book and money spinner movie series, it was liked by all - young and old. Harry Potter is a reflection of how ordinary men and women like you and me love to get lost in the world of magic.

The first book of the Harry Potter series was published on 30 June 1997. Titled "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone", it was an instant hit across the world. It catapulted the author J.K. Rowling to mega stardom. Since then she has published all the seven books of the series, finishing with "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". 

This fantasy book series has also being converted into a successful movie franchisee. Needless to say, it's prime actors - Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have become stars.
Harry, Hermione and Ron - Daniel, Emma and Rupert
The last movie of the Harry Potter franchisee - "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" is scheduled to release on 15 July 2011. Harry Potter fans are looking forward to this movie with a lot of excitement. It promises to be the darkest of all of them.
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2
What was it about Harry Potter that worked wonders? Well, here are some points I think which can be credited to it's success.

The Story
The Harry Potter story was a classic. Rowling built it up excellently over the multiple books. And most importantly she retained the suspense till the very end.

The first book - "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" - introduced the world to the most important characters in the series - Harry himself and Lord Voldemort.
Harry Potter
The names of the seven books of the series are :-
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Each of the seven books above wove a great fantasy story revolving around Harry,  Hermione, Ron, Professor Albus Dumbledore, the Hogwarts school, the Death Eaters, and ultimately The Dark Lord. 

The theme of the book - "Victory of good over evil" was a hit.

The Narration
J.K. Rowling narrated the story beautifully. The narration was wonderful and spell binding. It had finely crafted characters you could easily relate to. 

J.K. Rowling
Most importantly, it had the element of magic - something which we all desire in our ordinary life. Harry Potter is often credited with bringing back kids to books, in the age of computers.

The School and The Teachers
It was the story about a school which we all dream about. A huge castle, big lawns, lots of hidden secrets, some wonderful teachers, some really scary teachers et al. 

The Hogwarts Castle
A major part of the story was painted in Hogwarts and most of these moments were special. Chapters like "The Battle of Hogwarts" added to the excitement.

You had interesting teachers - Albus Dumbledore who was the Head, Ms McGonagall. Severus Snape kept the audience thinking right into the seventh book on his allegiance. 

Albus Dumbledore
Dolores Umbridge, Mad-Eye Moody and Horace Slughorn lit up the intermediate books. Hagrid too was an affable character.

The Friends and The Foes
Harry Potter had an interesting mix of characters. Like in schools, it depicted friendships between diverse people. You had Hermione who was a muggle (an ordinary person like you and me), Ron who was a pure blood wizard and Harry who was a half blood (his mom was a muggle and his father was a wizard). 

Then you had other student characters who played the bad guys. All in all, it was an interesting mix and added to the beauty of the story.

Draco Malfoy
Interestingly, all students could do magic, cast interesting spells, do amazing tricks and play some really tough games. All these antics were a hit with the readers and the movie goers.

The Supporting Characters
You had other interesting characters in the book. This included ghosts, talking portraits, a Poltergeist, a Sorting Hat, a Centaur, a wand maker etc etc. All this characters played a major part in the story. 

You cannot forget Dobby, who was a house elf. Then there were Goblins, owls, a rat  (who later turned into a man), a cat and what not. Some of these characters were a reflection of real life animals, while many were imaginary. Rowling's imagination in depicting these characters and weaving them into the story was simply superb.

Most importantly, there was a snake. That itself gave rise to many a terms - like parsletounge - which meant the ability to understand both humans and snakes.

Last but not the least, you had muggles. They were ordinary men and women like you and me.

The Magic
The book was all about magic. You had wizards, muggles and half wizards. They could cast spells, make interesting potions, fly on a broom, walk into a non-existent train platform etc etc. All this struck a chord in the hearts of the people.

Spells - Avada Kedavara
We all hope to have an element of magic in our life. This book was full of it. It would be apt to remember Rowling's line - Magic is Might.

The Dark Characters
There was no dearth of dark characters in the book. 

You had Lord Voldemort itself. He had several names like "He Who Must Not Be Named", "The Dark Lord" etc etc. He was cruel, unforgiving, brilliant, intelligent and really dark. He was Harry's chief nemesis.

To support him, there were loads of Death Eaters. And there were Dementors - who could suck the happiness out of you.

All these dark characters casted bewitching spell, hurt people and were a threat to the lives of wizards and muggles. The battle between them and Harry and team was a primary idea of the story.

Harry Ron Hermione and Co
Last but not the least, it was a story about Harry. The Potter boy worked his magic into the hearts of the people. 
Harry, Hermione and Ron
From being without parents since he was a little boy, to suffering the cruelty at the hands of his mother's relatives, to making great friends with Ron and Hermione, and finally falling in love with Ginny - it was an incredible journey.

This book has been often criticized as a children's book. In case you have not read the book, let me assure you that it is not the case. It is something which adults too would love to read. After all, who doesn't love magic, romance, hatred and love. 

The books are extremely addictive. After reading the first 5 books well after they were published, I was hugely 
hooked onto the book. And I read the last two books within two days of the book being released. 

The movies too are good. Children will fancy the excitement depicted on the big screen.

All in all, this fantasy story series is a must read. Hope you read it if you haven't done till now. It is never late. And if you have read it, it will be great if you could share your experience.

Long Live Harry Potter and his cult.
What Works For Harry Potter? What Works For Harry Potter? Reviewed by Vyankatesh on Saturday, July 09, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. While I agree that HP was no doubt a great creation but off-late I've begin to wonder if it's a bit over rated. I mean as the last movie is releasing you suddenly see people almost in tears, getting nostalgic etc. it's feels a bit strange, I mean it was just another book probably with a world we all dream but getting emotional in it's name is really weird. What do you say?


  2. Well, for someone who has read the last book some three years back - this movie is a sense of deja vu.

    The sadness comes from the fact that it's the last book.

    I Hope Rowling starts writing again, and creates another magical character,

  3. You said it right...the narration, the school and the teachers, the friends and the foes, the supporting and dark characters and of course, the Magic, it was a different experience every time I saw the movie. Harry Potter series have been a treat to watch and you seem to be an ardent fan! As I read through your post, I was reminded of all the scenes and shots in the movie that had captured my attention and also a place in my mind. Thanks for the refresh:)

  4. You are right. But I do agree with Vijay to an extent... it is overhyped.... We all understands sentiments but not the way they are coming off now. But anyway, this book has had it's part in my life too, can't say so about the movies though. So for me, this great series ended with the seventh book. For all the movie lovers, though, the wait is nearly over. Enjoy the movie.

  5. Visitinf after a long time.. as I was disconnected from web.. Poor me.

    yeah Harry potter is in itself a whole of a different world and we love to get lost in that.

  6. Great post..you summed it up well.. you have covered everything that makes Harry Potter special. Did you watch the latest movie? I actually cried in the movie :) I couldnt resist especially during the "Prince's tale". I am now trying to deal with post-potter depression :)
    But yeah these books are definitely not only for kids.. atleast the last few books dealt with adult themes, I am sure many kids will get scared reading the last few books.

  7. Hey Nehaa, JoJofeelings and Jyoti - Appreciate and value your opinion.

    Avada Kedavara - Yes, I agree it's not only for children.

    I haven't seen the movie yet. Hope to see it in near future.

  8. Nice. A layman's guide to the Harry Potter phenomenon :)

  9. A subject close to my heart, I had written a piece on the management lessons from Harry Potter. The link is below.

  10. Such a nice post! Hi5! Am a die hard HP fan too!