Harry Potter: An icon for our generation

The release of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part I was an event second only to Thanksgiving in magnitude (a very close second). Well, I admit that I may be a little bit biased. I’ve read all the Harry Potter books at least twice and had the seventh one pre-ordered a couple of months in advance. When I was 11, I refused to brush my hair because I wanted to look like Hermione. Unsurprisingly, I disagree with most bad critiques of the movie. One in particular said that the concept of Horcruxes was unclear, and another that the movie was too slow. To those comments I respond: Read the book (since the movie sticks to it almost seamlessly), and all your concerns will be addressed. The true Harry Potter fan reads before watching, no debate about it, and therefore so should the critic.

Harry is such an icon that it is impossible for the movie not to have negative critiques. He has become part of mainstream culture, and therefore we must rebel against him.

Let’s not forget, however, that during the earlier years of the series’ success, Harry was quite the anti-mainstream character. He opened a door of possibilities for nerds of all types. The movies became famous, and all of a sudden, it was OK to talk about things like magic and other stereotypically “uncool” things. In fact, I can now calmly state that I was part of a Quidditch team two summers ago, and am not worried about being socially ostracized (OK maybe I do worry a little — I just decided not to care).

Harry has done more than change the standards of “coolness,” however. The appeal is not even so much that there are spells and broomsticks involved, but that Harry has grown up with us. It’s crazy to think that when the first Harry Potter movie came out, the current high school kids were barely seven and eight years old. It is a lot like in Toy Story 3 (yes, I admit it: I am a sucker for Disney movies as well as science fiction. I am becoming less and less “cool” by the second), where Andy happens to be around 17 and ready to go off to college. It is as if he grew up with us, much like Harry has in the past nine years. Love it or hate it, Ms. Rowling has done more than create a set of characters, a plot, and a couple of spells that sound legitimate because they have Latin names. The Harry Potter series has become the symbol for an entire generation.

 

Giulia Caterini is a senior at Greenwich Academy.

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