From Time's 100 Most Influential People Who Never Lived - Harry Potter, written by Chris Colfer
It’s almost unheard of for literary characters to have as much magnitude behind their name as a Michael Jackson, a Madonna, or a Barack Obama. However, Harry Potter is a rare exception.
Unfortunately, we’ve become so accustomed to empty promises in entertainment - pop stars who can’t sing a note, actors who don’t necessarily act, television personalities with surprisingly very little personality - we’ve trained ourselves to stop wondering why something is worthy of the attention it receives. We just accept the current fads and suffer through until the world forgets about them.
But unlike many of the other “obsessions” he’s categorized with, if you look past the hype to the actual substance, you can see that Harry Potter is worthy of the acclaim he’s received. Long before J.K. Rowling’s seven novels about Harry’s exploits became one of the best-selling book series ever written, one of the most profitable film franchises ever produced, and a theme park that encourages grown adults to run around in capes with wands (to their children’s horror), Harry was just a boy who lived under the stairs, and his heroic journey into wizardry captivated the world.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the Harry Potter books flew into bookstores, libraries, and book fairs throughout the world, they brought much more than just a fantasy to the readers. Harry never needed an antibullying campaign to inspire bravery. Harry and his friends never needed an outside source to validate their belief in themselves. And as the world endured the haunting period after 9/11, it was comforting to see someone like Harry triumph over his own battle of good vs. evil.
Harry Potter taught the world to believe in magic again, that love conquers all, and that the impossible can be seen as an option. It’s no surprise that he is the subject of possibly the most passionate cult following of all time and that a sea of 11-year-olds is awaiting their Hogwarts acceptance letters as we speak.