Sunday, July 17, 2011

It All Ends Here

After years of waiting, the last Harry Potter film has been released. There has been a big promotional campaign that said "It All Ends Here". Aside from Warner Brothers and the people behind the film wanting to get people all excited about the movie and wanting to see the final Potter film, you have to ask does it really all end here?

Like lots of other people, I recently watched the last Harry Potter film. Although I would have loved to have seen the film with all the fans at LeakyCon (a convention behing held for Harry Potter fans in Orlando, Florida this year) or some other large fan viewing, my viewing at a local theather with 3D is the experience that I had. Like many Harry Pottter fans, I've been eagerly awaiting the last fim, but have also been saddenned to think that this is the last Harry Potter film and that there will be no more. No one likes to see the end of something that has touched them in so many ways. For many of us fans, the characters of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and countless others have transended the written page and become a part of our lives. It is sad to think that there will be no more "new" adventures with the trio.

I was in Paris last week on a business trip and I was amazed at all of the Harry Potter posters that you could find every where in and on the Metro. While saying that Harry Potter took over the Metro might be a bit exagerated, is did seem that every time I turned around that Harry and Voldemort were there, heightening the anticipation for the final film. It will be interesting to see how well the "It All Ends Here" campaign really did and how many people went to see the film because of it. I wonder how many people that are new to Harry Potter will see the movie and how many fans will have realized that the last film is out because of the campaign or how many would have gone to see the movie even without the campaign?

The Harry Potter series and franchise has done so many things. The book series is largely responsible with encouraging tons of kids to read. I'd be curious to know how many kinds really got into reading because of Harry Potter. The series has been an elixiar for the whole fantasy world. It has encougaged countless authors to write fantasy (and non-fantasy as well). While I can't definatively say that there is more fantasy out there because of Harry Potter, I can say that Harry Potter has engaged the fantasy and imagination of generations including millions of readers and viewers of the movies. I believe that it has been largely resonponsible for the reimmergence of much of the fantasy world that is doing well today. Would Twilight and the vampire world be what they are today if the Harry Potter influence wasn't there? The book and film series have shown movie makers and book publishers that there is a huge market for fantasy and openned up the door for many of the projects that we've seen in the fantasy world in the past few years.

While fandoms are not a new thing, Harry Potter has inspired fans to do all kinds of things. A few years ago I stumbled upon a podcast called Harry Potter Prognotications and really enjoyed hearing Greg and Penny speculate on how Harry Potter would end. Later on I discovered MuggleCast, a podcast that was started in 2005 and has over 200 episodes. MuggleCast is the podcast for the fansite MuggleNet. A few years ago the Harry Potter convention was born, and they've been hosted yearly in locations like Dallas, San Francisco, and in the last two years they've been hosted in Orlando. Last year's convention coinsided with the openning of the Wizzarding World of Harry Potter theme park. Midnight Harry Potter book releases became leggendary. I even bought one of the books at a release in 2005 myself.

For me, another interesting aspect has been the whole social media aspect of Harry Potter. The first Harry Potter book was published before many of the social media sites that many of us are familar with but the series and franchise has accepted and used social media like no other book and social media has embraced Harry Potter like few other books and series. All of the podcasts that I mentoned above are using Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, and a host of other social media sites and tools to let their listeners and readers be a part of the whole experience. Harry Potter has also become an example of how other books can use social media to market and greatly enhance the experience for their readers and fans. It has been quite an experiment to see the kind of communities that have emerged. I wonder how many Harry Potter groups have been set up in Facebook or how many tweats have been Harry Potter related.

As you can see I have embraced Harry Potter and am glad to see that J.K. Rowling has recently announced PotterMore. This really excites me because of the world of possiblities that I can imagine. She'll be releasing all of the books as ebooks and there'll be a whole lot of content released there which will provide all kinds of back story and information that fans will love to know about. Fans will be able to read along with PotterMore from the beginning. The ebooks and PotterMore will allow a totally new experience for readers that are new to Harry Potter and will captivate new generations of fans while quentching the thirst of fans of Harry Potter that have already read the books. I like that J.K. Rowling announced this before the last movie was released, so this is a way for fans to not be as sad as they otherwise would have been, had the movie really been the end of Harry Potter.

So while this might be the last Harry Potter move, this by no means the end of Harry Potter to all the old fans and new fans. The fans look forward to seeing the last film but to also seeing what wonderful things J.K. Rowling has in store for us at PotterMore.

Photo credit: Above is a picture that I took of one of the many Harry Potter promototional posters on the Metro during my recent visit to Paris.
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