Upon the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone twenty years ago, children’s literature changed completely. It sparked one of the first series of novels which enchanted a whole generation of children and gave us characters who we could grow up alongside. Even into our adult lives, particularly with the release of The Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, we continue to find value in stories that we were introduced to as children.
The wizarding world taught us lessons of morality and virtue in a non-patronising way. We were provided with a range of multi-faceted and developed characters, each with their own virtues that we could identify with. Luna Lovegood taught us to be different without caring what anyone thought. Through Hermione Granger we learnt the importance of valuing your own intellect.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone‘s publication sparked one of the first series which enchanted a whole generation of children
We were even taught to empathise with the ‘evil’ characters, being shown the childhood of Tom Riddle and the helplessness of Draco Malfoy in the later books, not to mention the motherly actions of Narcissa Malfoy in Deathly Hallows.
Even today, debates about the ‘good’ and ‘evil’ natures of these characters remain, proving the truth in lessons like “we’ve all got both light and dark inside us, what matters is the part we choose to act on; that’s who we really are”. This duality of people is just one of the serious themes that the Harry Potter series introduces to children in an instructive way, meaning they gain a strong understanding of these issues.
Debates about the ‘good’ and ‘evil’ natures of these characters remain, proving the truth in lessons like “we’ve all got both light and dark inside us, what matters is the part we choose to act on; that’s who we really are”
Not only does Rowling discusses themes of love, loss, prejudice and authority, through the Dursleys’ treatment of Harry and the deaths of characters like Sirius and Dumbledore. Rowling’s inclusion and treatment of these themes inspired real-life organisations for good like the Harry Potter Alliance, an organisation that makes activism accessible through the Potter books.
The series also created an entire world into which we as children could escape, the detail of which only rivalled by universes like Middle Earth or Narnia. As the series continued, we only discovered more and delved further into this world. By reading these novels as children, we were introduced to Hogwarts and the world around it and as we grew up, we could discover the little intricacies of the universe, especially with the release of Fantastic Beasts which showed a more global extension of it, allowing American fans to see their part of the wizarding world.
We were introduced to Hogwarts and the world around it and as we grew up, we could discover the little intricacies of the universe
The Harry Potter series remains to be one of the only children’s books series that we could grow alongside and remains a constant in our lives and, with the prospect of four more Fantastic Beasts films, this doesn’t seem set to change any time soon.