Harry Potter still matters
A while ago I wrote about the series featuring Harry Potter, and why the story matters.
In it I described the travails of boarding school, bullying, power plays against minorities, and in general the human fight for good against evil.
Now that Potter worlds are being built the world over, it still matters that we take this fantasy seriously.
Like Disneyland it can be a unifier. Like all fantasylands it can be taken to replace reality.
This trend of ours, to try to escape our daily regime with its banality and routine for a magical world is being played with by the corporations that rule the social media.
Instead of serious news, we have little teasers on a newsfeed about minutia of the stories and life in the magical school. If I go to a header on Yahoo promising to reveal “new” secrets of various characters’ lives, then I get blasted with numerous ads interwoven with the story. This is not real news, but some fans idea of a tangential line of the original stories.
The new site for the Potterworld in Los Angeles is now a planned destination for whole families that were raised on the stories, and considered worth the inflated prices. The internet is full of descriptions for recipes that will be used in the restaurants, and artifacts from the movie sets used throughout. It would take a bit out of my food budget to concoct a mug full of “Butterbeer” which is really Crème Soda and flavorings with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
And who in their right mind would want to drink pumpkin juice? I do hope that is not on the menu.
The original stories were meant to plant images in young minds and take them on a journey of discovery and delight.
They certainly have done that for the original audience, and made the author a billionaire in the process.
Now, the marketing team for all the sub-contractors are taking the story and manufacturing new “realities” that of raking in money for the local hotel keepers and food service population.
There is a Potterworld in Florida, one in California and one planned for China in 2020.
Could these phenomena be a world class unifier? Could we park our broomsticks at the gate of the magical Hogwarts School and just be as a “little child” and enter an innocent time of joy?
We can certainly try.