Ever since “Harry Potter” became an international literary sensation, the topic of whether or not the series could ever be considered a classic has been a hot debate. I think that one day, the “Harry Potter” series will become a classic.
I am a huge fan of the series – so much so that I’m not ashamed to admit that I used to write fanfiction about it when I was in middle school. But that’s beside the point. “Harry Potter” will not become a classic because of its popularity, but instead it will become a classic because of its lasting power and timeless relevance to kids, adolescents and adults everywhere.
Young kids read “Harry Potter” because they love Harry as the hero, someone young and brave who can use magic, fight dragons, and defeat the bad guy. Adolescents relate to Harry on a more personal level. He has embarrassing moments with his romantic interests, is nervous around girls and jealous when the one girl he loves is with someone else. Adults respect Harry because he is so young, but still an incredible hero who overcomes all odds to vanquish evil.
The story may be something that we’ve heard before, but that doesn’t make it any less lasting. J.K. Rowling created her own magical world and a set of hugely lovable characters. We’ve all read the good versus evil story a million times, but there are also some bigger social issues captured in the story of “Harry Potter.” The issue of questioning authority, like Dolores Umbridge and Gilderoy Lockhart, comes into play. Readers are taught that just because someone is declared a leader doesn’t mean they deserve the power they have been given. The problem of an untrustworthy government is also presented. It is shown how the public can often turn a blind eye and how this can lead to bigger problems. Rowling also demonstrates how the press can be used as propaganda and as a way to propagate terrorism. In the line of terrorism, Rowling also shows the faulty decisions that a government can make in its weak attempts to defend its people.
Many people bash the series’ chances at becoming a classic by stating that it’s no “literary masterpiece.” That’s true, the writing’s not spectacular, and “Sorcerer’s Stone” was the first book that Rowling ever published. You can’t really hold that against her, since, for example, Harper Lee’s one and only novel is “To Kill a Mockingbird.” But the title of “classic” should not be confused with literary masterpiece. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a classic as something “serving as a standard of excellence; of recognized value.” “Potter” may not be a standard because of its writing, but maybe it will create a new standard for relatable and loveable characters and the kind of book that is relevant to people of all ages and at all times. It’s not the first to do this, obviously, but it sets the bar pretty high.
Now, “Harry Potter” is mostly loved by fans because of the sense of nostalgia they get when they remember waiting in line for hours to get that new “Potter” novel. What will happen when a new generation of readers picks up the series? And the next?
I think that “Harry Potter” will be around for a while. The series won’t be overshadowed by the movies because the books have so much more to offer than the films ever could. “Harry Potter” brought a whole generation together by teaching them to love reading again, something they forgot about with all the television shows, computer games and video games competing for their attention. I can’t wait to share “Harry Potter” with my future children, and have them share it with their children. “Potter” is an international sensation now, and I think it will become an international classic in decades to come.