Harry’s Influence in the Muggle World
“There will be books written about Harry, every child in our world will know his name.”
– Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Many of us grew up next to Harry, Ron, and Hermione. We cried with them, laughed with them, and learned many things from them. Their story has affected us so much it’s now part of ours. It’s strange to see how something that has become so personal over years and years of reading, attending movie premieres, or squealing every time Rowling tweeted something, has become so big that it affects thousands of every kind of person you can imagine apart from us. It’s funny how McGonagall’s prediction in Philosopher’s Stone when just a few hundred people were aware of Harry’s existence became real in the 17 years after its publication. Harry Potter has been translated to over 67 languages including Ancient Greek and Latin, it has sold more than 300 million copies around the world and almost every person knows the Boy Who Lived to some degree.
Harry Potter has become a really big thing, it seems. Here’s a compilation of some of the areas Potter has influenced over the years.
You probably remember watching shows as Naruto, Pokémon, or Death Note as a child, if you haven’t heard of any you probably live under a rock. Or maybe you’ve even heard of the incredible Hayao Miyazaki and some of his most famous productions including Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle. All of these fall under the category of anime, Japanese animation. The variety of anime is limitless. It goes from comedy and shows directed to kids, to horror and gore that would give nightmares to many of you. Just like Hollywood movies are a big part of Western culture, anime is a big part of Japanese culture. It’s incredible how this British wizard has infiltrated himself into cultures so different from the Western. Apart from having his own theme park in Tokyo, Harry finds a way to pop up here and there in several anime shows in the form of movie posters or through characters having conversations about him.
Movies and TV Shows
The Harry Potter references in Japanese TV are nothing compared to the ones in Potter’s homeland. You can spot references to Harry everywhere. From shows like How I Met Your Mother, The Simpsons, and The Big Bang Theory, to Disney shows directed to children. He shows up on the big screen too. In The Internship, for example, there’s a muggle quidditch game. And the first 5 minutes of How to Train Your Dragon 2 show a different version of Quidditch in which players mount dragons instead of brooms and use sheep instead of Quaffles or Snitches.
Art, Music, and Literature
As you would expect, Harry Potter has also been an inspiration to many authors and artists. They make references to him, talk about him, and are inspired to write/paint/sing because of him. Rowling’s bestseller series started its own music movement, ‘wizard rock’, which has been growing and becoming more popular over the years. In addition, amazing writers like James Patterson or David Levithan make references to him in their books; others like Rick Riordan saw Harry Potter as an inspiration to write their own novels. There are also thousands of incredible fan arts out there including paintings by amazing artists like the American painter Shannon Bonatakis (she’s the creator of the painting above).
Harry’s influence isn’t limited to the arts; sports have also been affected by his adventures. As most of us know, Quidditch has given rise to its own version of it in the muggle world. Muggle quidditch might not be the most widely known sport, but several universities have their own teams and tournaments as well as a World Cup held every year. And talking about sports, who would forget the giant Voldemort in the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics?
Last, but not least, let’s not forget the addition of the word “muggle” to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2003. The addition of this word was the third update of this dictionary in 146 years. It seems that this word was used so much on a daily basis, the editors decided to add it to the dictionary. It’s another proof of just how much Rowling’s work has influenced Western culture.
For the curious ones, the pictures in the anime section belong to Daily Lives of High School Boys, Skip Beat, and The Devil Is a Part-Timer.