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Harry Potter: Guardian's Icon of the Decade

Posted by: Edward
December 21, 2009, 08:12 PM

As 2009 comes to a close, newspapers continue to take stock of the decade, compiling lists which look back the past ten years.  Tonight, the Guardian has such a list, naming the Harry Potter series as one of their "Icons of the Decade."  In this profile, the newspaper goes through the history of the series, noting its impact on the world of publishing, presence in Hollywood, and influence in literature.  Calling Harry Potter "the first new global superhero of the 21st century," the Guardian highlights the decision of author J. K. Rowling to have her characters age throughout the series.  It goes further, mentioning the universal popularity of the books among different age groups.  Quoteage:

Admittedly, this concession to nature also caused problems. Readers who joined the hero with The Philosopher's Stone were probably close to the school year he was in. But, by the time Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was published in 2007, the core audience for the series stretched from 8 to 21, with original readers now joined by primary schoolers who had caught up late with the early books and films. But because Rowling intentionally deepened and darkened the sequence as the cast met adult appetites, the later stories were not suitable for the boy wizard's youngest new fans, leading to tears at bedtime.

Rowling's decision to let her characters grow up is one of the most fascinating aspects of the project. The movies followed this model by having the major characters played by the same actors across what will be eight films by 2011 (the last is a two-parter), the changes in their voices and bodies regarded not as continuity errors but dramatic realism.

The recommended age-range of the stories also introduced another controversy. Until the 21st century, a fully educated adult seen reading juvenile literature on public transport would expect to receive pitying stares and possibly even a visit from social services.

However, Harry Potter was responsible for the common sight of people between their 20s and 70s sitting on trains or lying on beaches gripped by fiction that they would previously have bought only as gifts for children or grandchildren. To reduce the stigma, Rowling's publishers introduced the practice – later extended to Philip Pullman as well – of the novels being produced in two different jackets: kiddie-garish, wrinkly-pastel. My personal view is that older readers should pick on something their own size, but this vivid evidence of the universality of Rowling's appeal is a major reason that she and Harry Potter will stand as one of the most remarkable phenomena in the history of popular fiction.
The article goes on to take stock of the ways in which the series lead change throughout the decade, particularly changes in the publishing industry.  The paper continues, 'Harry Potter was able to rewrite so many rules of publishing: leading the New York Times to introduce a separate children's bestseller list and bookshops to open at midnight on publication day, selling 11m copies of the final volume within 24 hours in Britain and the US.'

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2525 Points


Posted by The Nerd on December 22, 2009, 10:56 AM report to moderator
4138 Points

Wooo JK Rowling!!!!!

Posted by Calum Wilson (RuneDream54) on December 22, 2009, 11:03 AM report to moderator
5610 Points

i LOVE that harry potter has been the top book/movie/author of the decade all over the place with like every magazine and newspaper and everything! its so fabtastical! HP has certainly made this decade the best ever! thankyou JKR for making my life better than i could ever have imagined it! congratulations! Im proud to be a HP obsessed nerd now! haha. yay! HP is epic and im proud to say that i have been on board for this journey!


Posted by Peace.Love.Potter ♥ on December 22, 2009, 11:29 AM report to moderator
2866 Points

Of caurse it should have been so ! We all has spend a whole decade with Harry Potter Oh Gosh haven’t noticed how it passes how couldn’t he not be named the person of decad , than who?

Posted by ~ Asi ~ on December 22, 2009, 12:04 PM report to moderator
2333 Points

My hero!!! <3 <3 <3

Posted by theREALGinnyWeasley on December 22, 2009, 01:01 PM report to moderator
41 Points

Thank you Jo. You made a difference inthe lifes of so many.

Posted by crowgirl on December 22, 2009, 01:48 PM report to moderator
12569 Points

Keep ’coming!!

Posted by tinagin [ROAR]! on December 22, 2009, 01:49 PM report to moderator
562 Points

A story well-told invites readers from all facets and ages of life. Four hundred million books in sixty-seven languages in countries around the world. That is a story well-told!! Thank you Jo Rowling!

Posted by Phoenix1946 on December 22, 2009, 02:19 PM report to moderator
879 Points

indeed, HP would be the highlight of my decade memories…lining up for the fifth, sixth and the last book with my buddies and making fools of ourselves…truly great. Can’t wait for the scottish book, hope its in the coming decade… SHE DID SAY 10 YEARS?!!?! LOL

Posted by Ascendancy on December 22, 2009, 02:43 PM report to moderator
31 Points

Some people say that Hary Potter and witchcraft/wizardry is evil. But, in Harry Potter’s case, it isn’t. For one, magic is a study and a way of life, not worship. For another, the emphasis is on friendship and how Harry has it and Voldemort doesn’t. So boo all those anti-Potter people!

Posted by Harronione on December 22, 2009, 04:13 PM report to moderator
407 Points

I found Harry in 2001, so it has been pretty well a whole decade of magic. I’m really glad the books made the list!

Posted by Mercy on December 22, 2009, 07:06 PM report to moderator

“…the common sight of people between their 20s and 70s sitting on trains or lying on beaches gripped by fiction that they would previously have bought only as gifts for children or grandchildren…”

Yep, this 57 year old is proud to be seen reading Harry Potter. Anyone who knows what these books are about would be proud. Friendship, loyalty, love. Nothing wrong with that.

Quite agree with these comments above. This over 50s person has been reading and re-reading these books constantly.
Agree with jeannemclROAR; you are absolutely right. Nothing wrong with friendship, loyalty, love particularly when many things go wrong.

Posted by Spook on December 22, 2009, 08:41 PM report to moderator
3455 Points

Many thanks Jo for everything you’ve done! we cant even begin to tell you how much you have effected our lives and how much we appreciate it!

Posted by Catherine ( *SQUEE!*) on December 22, 2009, 10:30 PM report to moderator
507 Points

hp all the way

Posted by lilmisssnape on December 23, 2009, 01:02 AM report to moderator
3371 Points

very deserving

Posted by Lady of the Lake on December 23, 2009, 04:02 AM report to moderator
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