Film & TV

Potter Turns 20: The Legacy of the Wizarding World

Credits: Rhii Photography on Unsplash

By Libbi Kettle

On a train from Manchester to Kings Cross, 1990, an ordinary muggle with an impeccable imagination starts to plan a franchise that will shake up millions. She doesn’t know that yet, but her idea is going to become this widely beloved fictional world beyond the pages of a book. It will spur the creation of magical movies, theatrical theme parks, suspenseful spinoffs, and her novels will sell over 500 million copies. Harry Potter is everywhere; and we love it. 

Although the books are where it all started, and of course they carry the extra details that the films don’t always have, it is the cinematic universe of witches and wizards that brought it to the life we wish we lived. The first film alone hit over a billion USD at the box office (after re-releases), proving that as much as Harry and his gang are adored by so many, it is also a massive commercial success. So, it’s no surprise that when Deathly Hallows Part 2 wrapped up the golden trio’s story, around 5 years later, ‘Expelliarmus’, Goblins, and quirky outfits would return to our big screens. 

red and white no smoking sign
Credits: Aditya Vyas on Unsplash

The Fantastic Beasts movies, first released in 2016, is another hit storyline that goes back to a time before Harry, Hermione, and Ron. It goes back to Newt Scamander and a young Dumbledore (a rather handsome, Jude Law Dumbledore). With the third film in the works and getting ready to hit cinemas next year, they are a huge success already with the second movie earning 654.9 million USD at the box office with its ending leaving us fans in a waiting game to see how it all turns out. 

Whilst these movies take us back into the far past of the wizarding world, you can also visit the present on stage with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. If you are lucky enough to get the high-demand tickets, for three and a half hours you can escape into the world of Albus Severus Potter; the son of Harry himself. The production originated in the West End back in 2016 and has now travelled overseas to places like Broadway and Australia, soaring as an international hit. However, if you can neither afford nor simply get a ticket, you can buy the script in plenty of bookstores, published with the intention that anyone can explore the story of what happens next when the next generation comes into light. 

And that is precisely what makes this world so popular amongst the masses. Because we can imagine ourselves in it; escape from the boring ordinary we live in. You can download Pottermore, and find out your wand and your patronus. You can know if you’re a Ravenclaw, a Slytherin, a Hufflepuff or a Gryffindor (like myself). You can visit the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, take a stroll down THE Diagon Alley, drink the infamous Butterbeer. You can also have your taste of it at The Wizarding World in Universal Studios Florida, where you will find yourself completely immersed in a place for Wizard folk only- no muggles allowed! 

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Diagon Alley in The Wizarding World at Universal Studios Florida | Credits: Rithika Gopalakrishnan on Unsplash

But it is this constantly expanding, adapting universe that has so much detail, that if you have the Pottermore app you can read about new things every day. It’s become a familiar place, a place far more exciting than this one and one we will forever be in debt to J.K. Rowling for giving us this gift. A gift where imagination is inspired, scarfs of your house pride can be worn, and you can have conversations about it that lasts hours. We simply cannot get enough of it because we are constantly being given more. As Rowling so perfectly puts it; “Whether you return by page, or the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home”.