Why the “Harry Potter” fandom will endure
I recently served as a panelist for Robercon, a local convention. Our main focus was the endurance of Harry Potter and what the future holds for the series. My fellow panelists and I raised the question, “Will Harry Potter stay around and what might keep it in the hearts of readers in the future?”
Starting with the more obvious reasons; first, it’s a timeless story. There will forever be a relation between the books and the life you are living. Everyone can relate to the basic themes of friendship, loyalty, good over evil, and fighting for what’s right.
Everyone loves a hero, but what we love even more is a hero with human qualities. There is no perfect character within the Harry Potter series. They all have their amazing qualities, but they all have an abundance of fault as well. This realistic portrayal of human choices and interactions draws the audience in and makes them care. When you can see yourself and people you know within a character that’s just words on a book, you tend to form a parasocial connection.
The reasons I’ve just given are what I would have said before I presented on the panel. During the discussion, I was struck by something else. Looking around the room, I couldn’t help but notice something.
The range of people in the room was fantastic. There were all ages. There were teenagers and college students there with friends, kids who came with their parents (both parents and kids were enthusiastic and well versed in their Potter knowledge), middle aged fans, and some fans in their 60’s and 70’s. To me, this shows exactly why Potter will endure. It takes something very special to touch so many people who are at such different points in their lives.
I brought up this observation to my fellow panelist and president of the SUNY Oneonta Harry Potter Club, Lizzie Sudlow. “The potter series is such a special phenomenon that it relates to all ages with a story that could never get old and because of that we continue to see such a variety of fans,” says Sudlow, “. . . a diverse group of people are willing to hunker down for an hour just to talk Potter. And that’s the best part, seeing everyone together as if the series never ended.”
Lizzie is right. The fact that all these people from different backgrounds and of different ages still want to come together just to talk about a book series that ended 7 years ago gives off the feeling that there will still be the same amount of enthusiasm in the next 7 years and the next 7 after that.
To quote J.K. Rowling herself, “Whether you come back by page or by screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”