Harry Potter, boy wizard. Cultural phenom. This generation’s Boy Wonder. The seventh and final installment about Harry’s last year at Hogwart’s–Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows–goes to press on July 21st of this year. Author J.K. Rowling made the announcement recently, but remained tight-lipped about any of the particulars.
This leads Harry’s legions of fans to speculate whether Rowling’s literary send-off foreshadows Harry’s actual demise. In recent interviews, Rowling has hinted she may “kill off” one of the saga’s leading characters. Now, with the release of the final book imminent, and its foreboding title, the author has divulged that she will “kill off” two characters. This has fan speculation at a fever pitch.
The last of the books in the boy wizard’s story promises to be the biggest of them all. According to Reuters, pre-orders for the new book were 547% higher than for that of its predecessor, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which sold more than 1.5 million pre-order copies in July 2005.
Harry Potter’s story has been a great ride for many. He turned Rowling into a billionaire within a decade. He turned millions of children into readers; notwithstanding the fact that each installment of Harry’s story has filled a tome, and today’s kids would rather play video games and watch TV.
Harry has also made fans of many adults around the world, who have anticipated his latest adventures as eagerly as the kids. To the chagrin of the British literary establishment who have assailed Ms. Rowling’s books, refusing to describe them as real literature, the rest of the world has gobbled up every word of every book.
Fast Company blogger Lisa LaMotta observed in her post, End of Potter Frenzy May be Bad for Business, that Harry has made his many licensees a lot of money.
With the Harry Potter franchise coming to an end, except for the movie versions that will follow, what else will seize the public’s imagination at a fever pitch like this? Will the wily Ms. Rowling decide to keep Harry alive and write about yet undreamed-of adventures in future? Remember that once Arthur Conan Doyle, weary of penning Sherlock Holmes’s adventures, killed him off at the hands of the evil Moriarty, only to bring him back due to endless public demand? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, Hollywood industry gossip has it that Universal Studios Florida is planning on building a Harry Potter Theme Park. If this materializes, all the fans who can’t get enough of Harry will be able to indulge the fantasy endlessly.
There’s just something about Harry… .