J.K. Rowling’s Trump Card

I was a fan of Harry Potter. I still am, but it’s near nothing when compared to the fanaticism I showed some years ago. I think most of us were fans, once we allow for a certain degree rating from FAN:LEVEL 1 to FAN:LEVEL 10. I can’t really say what level I was at, until I know more about some of you! I have read the first five books a billion times and hated the movies though, so pretty high up? I feel sorry for the generation that comes now. There won’t be any waiting in line for the next book, excitedly arguing with other friends and fans about what could or should happen, debating over the suspect loyalties of select slippery characters (Snape) or simply wondering what Quidditch would feel like. You know what? They even watch really shitty cartoons these days. And at least here in India, a lot of the cartoons have been dubbed in Hindi and it really takes away the charm and wit of the original dialogues, not that there is much of it left. Most of it is anime where there’s a lot of fighting, killing and anger. Whatever happened to the happy feel good cartoons? Anyway, not the point.

So I was thinking about how JK Rowling took the world by storm, and there have been a number of investigations into this. I’ve read some of them but they’re very generic. If you had to narrow down to one thing, what would it be?

What I figured applies to those of us who started reading the books at a really young age, say between 7 and 10, if it applies at all. What she did best, and what completely took the young readers off their feet, is include a real world element to it.  While most fantasy books are brilliant because they have a world that is amazingly creative and excruciatingly detailed, Rowling’s universe is more like an offshoot from our world. What she managed to do as a result of this is instill this hope, this belief that magic could exist, a faith shared by every newly turned eleven year old. The tantalizing possibility of this, however slim, seemed to gradually consume our susceptible minds, and before long, a majority of us had to resort to the internet to satisfy our longing for being as close to Harry Potter’s world as possible.

There is a beauty about placing yourself in a protagonist’s shoes and wondering how he/she is feeling, but here all you needed to do was remain in your own shoes, and still know that there was a possibility of living the book.