The Secret of Harry Potter's Success

If everyone responsible for the Harry Potter phenomenon could bottle and sell the secret of its success, they would rule the world.  Harry Potter is more than just "the Boy Who Lived," he is the boy whose touch of gold puts even King Midas to shame.  On top of the endless bestselling books, merchandise, amusement parks, and previous movies, the newest and final film in the blockbuster series has broken the record for the biggest movie opening of all time, both domestically and internationally.  There are many factors that when added up have made it so popular and such a moneymaker for the publisher, movie studio, and everyone else who has a stake in the franchise, but the ultimate reason it struck gold is the near perfection of J.K. Rowling's writing.  A great story with amazing characters once again trumps all else.

Harry Potter came along at the right time and spawned a renaissance in children's literature, but Rowling's tale was far more than mere kids' stuff.  Teenagers and adults too embraced the books and then the movies, which rightfully didn't stray too far from the source material.  The film series worked thanks to all the right talent that came together in front of the camera and behind the scenes, through both careful forethought and incredible luck.  Good fortune has shined on the Harry Potter series since the beginning, and instead of waning or even holding steady, it continues to defy the odds and reach new peaks of achievement. 

Who would have thought that the kids from that first film would have grown so well into their roles through what has now been eight feature motion pictures?  Who would have imagined that the ambitious goal of bringing each of Rowling's novels to the silver screen with, for the most part, the same cast intact, could have been accomplished so splendidly?  Thankfully, there was no need for reboots or diverging from the original narratives of the books. 

The story grew in scope and complexity, becoming arguably better with each new volume.  It foreshadowed great things to come from the beginning, and once the end was reached, it lived up to the anticipation.  It is a finite saga with a clear beginning, middle, and end.  Surely Rowling could have churned out a book a year, like so many other fantasy writers out there who produce seemingly endless series with plotlines that ramble and never end.  It is commendable that Rowling, instead, had a plan and stuck to it, telling the story she had initially planned to tell.  Surely Warner Bros. could have taken liberties with the source material and made the movies reimagined stand-alone episodes that could be factory-produced for decades, rebooted whenever necessary a la Ian Fleming's James Bond.  Instead, the studio deserves praise for staying so loyal to Rowling's vision and trusting the creative teams who brought the words on the page to life on the big screen. 

The Harry Potter saga has reached a definitive conclusion, both in publishing and in filmmaking.  As much as fans would love to see further adventures, the story is complete.  It has reached its glorious end and is now forever preserved in the books and movies that will continue to delight readers and viewers for generations to come.

Others have tried to recapture that success, but either failed or reached only a tiny fraction of the laurels that Harry Potter has earned.  Narnia and Twilight have struck some gold, but not on the same level as Potter.  Others, like Percy Jackson or The Golden Compass, endeavored to follow in the path that Potter blazed, but barely got out of the gate.

Harry Potter's success might not ever be replicated.  Whatever its secret might be, we can all sit back and enjoy it for what it is, a mythic story that ranks with the greatest of all time.

Comments