The 26th of June 2017 officially marked the 20th anniversary of the story of a boy who discovered he was a wizard, battled evil and made life-long friends. Since then, the phenomenon that is Harry Potter has bewitched the world, entrancing wizards and muggles of different ages and cultures.
Harry Potter encouraged kids, especially those of the millennial generation, to read. The life and struggles of “The Boy Who Lived” and his friends have also allowed adults to interact with younger people on an unprecedented scale. From midnight book and film launches, Harry Potter themed parties – like our own happening this Friday – and trivia, as well as countless academic articles exploring the myriad of themes in Harry Potter and determining its literary merit, one thing is clear: Harry Potter has the potential, if not so already, to become a classic that rivals Star Wars.
Connecting with students of all generations
Have you ever read a book or movie and thought, ‘This is for the whole family’? Harry Potter is one of those rarities that transcends generations: parents, grandparents, children and even grandchildren have been entranced and are still mesmerised by J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. When Associate Professor Caroline Webb is teaching a class she usually asks, “Who hasn’t read Harry Potter or seen one of the films?”
“Maybe one hand goes up,” Caroline said. Caroline makes it a habit to connect with her students by recognising what they have been reading, most notably the tale of ‘The Boy Who Lived’.
“Harry Potter makes a wonderful sharing point because almost everyone loves Harry Potter,” she said.
If you have yet to be engaged in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways you can connect with your lecturers and tutors. As it turns out, this can include discussing the content through the rigours of academic analysis.
Harry Potter & Academic Passion
Have you ever noticed the abundance of scholarly articles surrounding Harry Potter? They range from its prospects as literature, to the themes evoked in the series, and even to the religious connotations of Harry Potter. If, for some reason, you haven’t noticed – look it up. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of academics devoted to the merits of Harry Potter. Such frequency of scholarly articles attributing to Harry Potter stems from an academic’s passion – when pursuing postgrad studies, don’t do what you think is the most pressing concern. Stick to your passions.
There are numerous stories detailing how Harry Potter changed people’s lives, in which academic passions can play a part. According to Caroline, who was introduced to the series by her mother, the Harry Potter series, “Really changed how I thought about what I wanted to read and study.”
While it may appear to be over-hype to some people, as Harry Potter celebrates its 20th anniversary it is important to acknowledge how the series has impacted society, in ways not limited to but certainly encompassing teaching and pursuing your passions.