Sharing Hogwarts' hype is its magic

By Aleisha Thakurdas

If I'm being honest, the best birthday text I got when I turned 17 was, "Congratulations on being old enough to use magic out of Hogwarts!"

I got so excited until I remembered I had been waiting for an owl to deliver my acceptance letter for the past six years and was probably just a muggle.

The world changed for the good in 1998 when J.K. Rowling's first fantasy book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was published.

Over the next decade, another six books were released and translated into 67 languages in hundreds of countries selling millions of copies.

At this point, if you haven't read the books (and shame on you if that applies), you have at least watched one of the movies.

And if you haven't done either, you really should get out of your cave more often.

It's easy for fans to get addicted to the series when there are so many ways you can celebrate the mania.

Fans of Harry are all ages as we've all grown up with this wizard and his friends.

We love the feel of escaping into the series, whether through rereading the books or dressing up in Slytherin colours to role-play Severus Snape while we wait in line at the cinema.

Everyone wants to be a part of the world Rowling created.

All across the globe, there are fan-made websites, blogs, YouTube videos, stories, artwork, musicals, merchandise, themed pick-up lines and much more, all inspired and dedicated to the story.

Even if you're not an extreme fan, once or twice everyone has picked up a stick to try "Avada Kedavra" on someone who got on their nerves.

With the last major instalment of the series ticking closer, at this point the whole world is in sync with excitement.

The hype is over the eighth Harry Potter movie release, Deathly Hallows Part 2, on July 13.

It's been 11 years since the first came out and the build-up is insane.

Trailers, teasers, script drafts and photos have leaked and the fandom is going wild.

I've got my ticket for the midnight release and am following the countdown in anticipation.

With the approaching end of the era, the fantasy genre is becoming more popular than ever.

Hardcore fans have been looking for the new Harry Potter to obsess over.

Whatever bad things people say can about the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer (and there is a lot to say), the books sold millions of copies, creating a new source of fan fixation.

Although it focuses on the romance rather than the story and adventure, it turned heaps of people (mostly girls) on to reading.

The thing about series like Harry Potter and Twilight that make them so popular with young adults is that their worlds "exist" close to our own but hidden from "normal people".

Following this craze, more fantasy book series with that notion are appearing.

Among them is The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, that is in the middle of casting for its own motion picture.

There's also The Hunger Games trilogy, a dystopian fantasy set in the not-too-distant future by Suzanne Collins, for which celebrities have already been cast in the main parts for the upcoming movie.

The Harry Potter books have brought a diversity of people together all over the world through their wanting to be part of what the author created.

So what if nothing happens when we cast spells and if the closest we can get to Hogwarts is stalking Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson or breaking our noses running into walls at train stations?

The real magic that gives us kicks with fantasy is when we believe.

Aleisha Thakurdas, Year 13, St Cuthbert's College

- NZ Herald

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