I'm a really fantastically huge Harry Potter fan. And I'm not referring to my weight (though after this coming weekend... phhhhhhew). I LOVE Harry Potter and I love it for very geeky English teacher-type reasons. Oh what's that? You want to know those reasons? Well SHORE I'll tell you!
First, I'd like you to tell me what other series of novels anyone from the age of 6 to 99 can find some sort of meaning, entertainment, and identification with. What other series of books can you sit down with your 8 year old little brother, your 22 year old college student, and your 70 year old grandma and all enjoy a story on so many different levels. Truly, it's a very universal story (even if it IS about wizards, elves, and owls) that speaks to people across generations, languages, and even cultures. That's pretty amazing if you ask me. The only other series that comes to mind with such universal appeal and significance is the Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. And that's saying something to be in the same category as CS Lewis. Not even Tolkein has such universality in my opinion (back off Tolkein nutters! Back I say!).
But if that's not geeky enough for you...
As an English teaching hopeful (I'll get back there someday!) I could teach any literary concept based on these novels. Theme, plot, character development, irony, climax, really anything. I've never been so impressed with any other author than I am with how JK Rowling is simply a story-teller, and I'm a big Steinbeck fan! Girl can tell one really great story in its most foundational constructs. Geek buzzer! I warned you! Story-telling is an art, really, and Rowling's a professional artist in this respect (cue awesome metaphor).
Another geek element - I really like the fantastical, magical, and other-worldly. Who wouldn't want to leave the dull-drums of our own practical world behind and visit one where Giants still roam the hills and mermaids swim in mountain lakes? I think it does everyone some good to step out of this reality for awhile and into something magical. I mean that's the whole POINT of Disneyland in my opinion.
Also, I like listening to someone else's story for awhile and see how they deal with the ups, downs, twists and turns of what they're facing. And whether it's an evil power-lusting Wizard or a large paper due next week you've not even looked at (shudder), or something more tragic like the death of a loved one, we all face hardships in our lives and it's nice to read about someone else overcoming the odds while they're learning and growing along the way. Stories can inspire us, move us to action, or simply give us a couple of peaceful hours away. Books always do that for me - and who doesn't simply love a good story for the sake of a good story? Amen.
Alright alright... all this geekery aside... Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 the movie? AMAZING!!! No really, I was good for another 3 hours of that movie no problem! Give me a pee-break and refill my Diet Coke and onward!! Though I have my opinions about the whole book to movie genre (thievery!) that's been the film industries only avenue for creative movie-making the last 5-10 years (good thing we still have talented writers dear Hollywood, or you would sure be hurtin for some originality right now - psh), I find the Potter movies a decent supplement to an excellent literary series. I feel they've done an alright job considering most movies fail completely in conveying the magic of the novel. Given the constraints - these movies are okay. Sure - movie-goers only (I refer to them as lazy posers) won't understand the quirky quakery of the Dumbledore book-readers know, or truly how Loony Luna Lovegood is, or the motherly love of Mrs. Weasly that makes you feel you're always at home, and particularly, the conflicted nature of my favorite character Professor Snape. All that said, the movie still left me happily floating in a magical story for awhile, leaving boring old reality behind and becoming a part of someone else's story for awhile. Someone else's amazing fantastical magical story! Harry Potter's story.
Cheers to Potter! Cheers to the genius of JK Rowling! And Cheers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1! I recommend them all... the books, the author (duh), and the movies.