A fond farewell
"Parting is such sweet sorrow", indeed! How can we bring ourselves to say Goodbye to a dear bespectacled wizard boy and his magical adventures? The curtain descends, and everything ends, alas, too soon. Has it really been over a decade that Harry Potter took us on a ride to a fantasy world of witchcraft and wizardry? What a glorious ride it has been.....incredible, and incomparable in every way.
Little did 24- year old author, J.K.Rowling know then, as she boarded a Manchester train to London, in 1990, that the notes she scribbled on a piece of paper, about an orphaned wizard boy would become a literary phenomenon. It took her 7 years to develop the story and the characters at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. By September 1997, without much hype or promotion, the first book: " Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone " appeared in bookstores. Like the magic sounds of a Pied Piper, children abandoned their playgrounds and malls, their tvs, games, and endless electronic distractions, and concentrated instead on the pages of a printed book. Miracle or magic? Parents were dumbfounded. They picked up the book and started to read. They turned page after page as they accompanied Harry, on his many perilous adventures through the dim corridors of Hogwarts. "Potter" climbed to the top of every best-seller list for children and adults.
Six books followed, and sales surpassed every imaginable estimate. 100 million copies were sold in 60 languages and 200 countries. Only holy books sold more than Potter in the history of printing. HP fans were multiplying, making author Rowling richer than the Queen of England. The first film appeared in 2001, breaking box-office records everywhere. Its global appeal was even more spectacular, and our hearts went out to Harry and his two buddies, portrayed by a young British boy, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint as Ron and Emma Watson as Hermione.
The 7th and the last book in the series, " Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" was published in July of 2007. It sold a record 8.3 million copies within 24 hours, in the US alone, costing Americans $170 million in one single day. The reason we have 7 books and 8 films is because "Deathly Hallows' was made in two parts. July 15 was premiere night in London of the last episode in the life and adventures of Harry Potter. The stars were greeted with cheers and tears, wiith screaming and squealing. No other movie franchise can compare to Harry Potter>>>.not Star Wars, not Indiana Jones, not Rambo. Nothing even comes close. Harry Potter has so far amassed close to $7 billion and is still going strong.
What is it about HP? Is it great talent, careful planning, extreme good luck or a good dose of magic? Perhaps it is a cocktail of all these elements, and a good serving of fantastical characters and exotic adventures, served on an appetizing plate, which we perhaps crave in our hum-drum existence. The finale promises to be riveting, and all you "muggles" out there will finally bid a fond farewell to your favourite wizard . It is the ultimate confrontation between Harry and the Dark Lord Voldemort, the apocalyptic showdown of good vs. evil. That is the nucleus of this and almost every story ever written.
What about the parade of all the deliciously drawn characters in the world of Harry Potter. So much attention has been given to the casting process. Britain offers the best array of excellence in acting, and Harry Potter directors chose the crème de la crème. The late Richard Harris portrayed the lovable Professor Dumbledore, a role ably performed later by Michael Gambon, when Harris died after the second episode. Is there anyone to compare with the wonderful Minerva McGonagall, played by the equally wonderful Maggie Smith!. The cast includes such distinguished names as Gary Oldman, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, Julie Walters, Ralph Fiennes, Kenneth Mackennagh,John Hurt and on and on and on. Is it any wonder the franchise has reached such unparalleled heights. How can we not give special mention to Severus Snape, that enigmatic character so perfectly played by the inimitable Alan Rickman. It has been revealed that Rickman received some help from author Rowling early on, about certain secrets in the life of Snape, only discovered in the last episode, hence the perfect portrayal.
Is Steven Spielberg kicking himself for not accepting to direct the franchise which was first offered him? Wary of all the hype, Spielberg turned it down. Instead the directorial duties went to such able talents as Christopher Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron and Mike Newell. The long march to the finale was entrusted to David Yates, and according to all reports, he delivered admirably. Sreenwriter Steve Kloves wrote 7 of the 8 scripts.
The miracle of JK Rowling's achievement was not the millions of copies or dollars gained; and not even the record breaking historic literary achievement of the 20th and 21st century. JK Rowling, single-handedly revived the book, pulled it out of the grave and gave it new life. The book is now waging war against all who wish its demise. No, it will "not go gentle into that goodnight". The child's fascination with the Potter saga, has opened the door to the many treasures found between the pages of a book. In this day and age... that is nothing less than magic!
" All that mankind has done, thought, gained or been;
It is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books."
-- Thomas Carlyle (1798-1881)