Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of a wizard, Harry Potter and his friends Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and WizardryHP Pavilion dv6-1299lx battery. The main story arc concerns Harry's quest to overcome the Dark wizard Lord Voldemort, whose aims are to become immortal, to conquer the wizarding world, subjugate non-magical people, and destroy all those who stand in his way, especially Harry Potter.
Since the release of the first novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on 30 June 1997, the books have gained immense popularity, critical acclaim and commercial success worldwideHP Pavilion dv6-1299ez battery. The series has also had some share of criticism, including concern for the increasingly dark tone. As of June 2011, the book series has sold about 450 million copies, making it the best-selling books series in history and has been translated into 67 languages, and the last four books consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in historyHP Pavilion dv6-1299es battery.
A series of many genres, including fantasy and coming of age (with elements of mystery, thriller, adventure, and romance), it has many cultural meanings and references. According to Rowling, the main theme is death, although it is primarily considered to be a work of children's literature. There are also many other themes in the series, such as prejudice and corruptionHP Pavilion dv6-1299er battery.
The initial major publishers of the books were Bloomsbury in the United Kingdom and Scholastic Press in the United States. The books have since been published by many publishers worldwide. The books, with the seventh book split into two parts, have been made into an eight-part film series by Warner Bros. Pictures, the highest-grossing film series of all timeHP Pavilion dv6-1299eo battery. The series also originated much tie-in merchandise, making the Harry Potter brand worth in excess of $15 billion.
Further information: Harry Potter universe
Complete set of the seven books of the Harry Potter series.
The novels revolve around Harry Potter, an orphan who discovers at the age of eleven that he is a wizard, living within the ordinary world of non-magical, or Muggle, people. His ability is inborn and such children are invited to attend a school that teaches the necessary skills to succeed in the wizarding world. HP Pavilion dv6-1299ef battery Harry becomes a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and it is in here where most of the novels' events take place. As Harry develops through his adolescence, he learns to overcome the problems that face him: magical, social and emotional, including ordinary teenage challenges such as friendships and exams, and the greater test of preparing himself for the confrontation that lies ahead. HP Pavilion dv6-1299ea battery
Each book chronicles one year in Harry's life with the main narrative being set in the years 1991–98. The books also contain many flashbacks, which are frequently experienced by Harry viewing the memories of other characters in a device called a Pensieve.
The environment J. K. Rowling created is completely separate from reality yet intimately connected to itHP Pavilion dv6-1295el battery. While the fantasy land of Narnia is an alternative universe and the Lord of the Rings' Middle-earth a mythic past, the wizarding world of Harry Potter exists in parallel within the real world and this is how Potter's world contains magical elements similar to things in everyday life. Many of its institutions and locations are recognisable, such as LondonHP Pavilion dv6-1291es battery. It comprises a fragmented collection of overlooked hidden streets, ancient pubs, lonely country manors and secluded castles that remain invisible to the Muggle population.
When the first novel of the series Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (published in some countries as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) opens, it is clear some remarkable event has taken place in the wizarding world, an event so very remarkable, even the Muggles notice signs of itHP Pavilion dv6-1290ev battery. The full background to this event and to the person of Harry Potter is only revealed gradually, through the series. After the introductory chapter, the book leaps forward to a time shortly before Harry Potter's eleventh birthday, and it is at this point that his background begins to be revealed.
Harry's first contact with the wizarding world is through a half-giant, Rubeus Hagrid, keeper of grounds and keys at Hogwarts. Hagrid reveals some of Harry's historyHP Pavilion dv6-1290es battery. Harry learns that as a baby he witnessed his parents' murder by the power-obsessed dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, who then attempted to kill him also. For reasons not immediately revealed, the spell with which Voldemort tried to kill Harry rebounded. Harry survived with only a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead as a memento of the attack, and Voldemort disappearedHP Pavilion dv6-1290en battery. As its inadvertent saviour from Voldemort's reign of terror, Harry has become a living legend in the wizarding world. However, at the orders of the venerable and well-known wizard Albus Dumbledore, the orphaned Harry had been placed in the home of his unpleasant Muggle (non-wizard) relatives, the Dursleys who had him safe but hid his true heritage from him in hopes that he would grow up "normal"HP Pavilion dv6-1290ec battery.
With Hagrid's help, Harry prepares for and undertakes his first year of study at Hogwarts. As Harry begins to explore the magical world, the reader is introduced to many of the primary locations used throughout the series. Harry meets most of the main characters and gains his two closest friends: Ron Weasley, a fun-loving member of an ancientHP Pavilion dv6-1288la battery, large, happy, but hard-up wizarding family, and Hermione Granger, a gifted and hardworking witch of non-magical parentage. Harry also encounters the school's potions master, Severus Snape, who displays a deep and abiding dislike for him. The plot concludes with Harry's second confrontation with Lord Voldemort, who in his quest for immortality, yearns to gain the power of the Philosopher's Stone a substance that gives everlasting lifeHP Pavilion dv6-1285es battery.
The series continues with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets describing Harry's second year at Hogwarts. He and his friends investigate a 50-year-old mystery that appears tied to recent sinister events at the school. Ron's younger sister, Ginny Weasley, enrols in her first year at Hogwarts, and finds a notebook which turns out to be Voldemort's diary from his school daysHP Pavilion dv6-1282et battery. Ginny becomes possessed by Voldemort through the diary and opens the "Chamber of Secrets", unleashing an ancient monster which begins attacking students at Hogwarts. The novel delves into the history of Hogwarts and a legend revolving around the Chamber. For the first time, Harry realises that racial prejudice exists in the wizarding world, and he learns that Voldemort's reign of terror was often directed at wizards who were descended from MugglesHP Pavilion dv6-1280us battery. Harry also learns that his ability to speak Parseltongue, the language of snakes, is rare and often associated with the Dark Arts. The novel ends after Harry saves Ginny's life by destroying a basilisk and the enchanted diary which has been the source of the problems.
The third novel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, follows Harry in his third year of magical education. It is the only book in the series which does not feature Voldemort. Instead, Harry must deal with the knowledge that he has been targeted by Sirius BlackHP Pavilion dv6-1280sn battery, an escaped murderer believed to have assisted in the deaths of Harry's parents. As Harry struggles with his reaction to the dementors—dark creatures with the power to devour a human soul—which are ostensibly protecting the school, he reaches out to Remus Lupin, a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher who is eventually revealed to be a werewolf. Lupin teaches Harry defensive measures which are well above the level of magic generally shown by people his ageHP Pavilion dv6-1280ev battery. Harry learns that both Lupin and Black were close friends of his father and that Black was framed by their fourth friend, Peter Pettigrew. In this book, another recurring theme throughout the series is emphasised—in every book there is a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, none of whom lasts more than one school year.
Voldemort returnsHP Pavilion dv6-1280et battery
"The Elephant House" – The café in Edinburgh in which Rowling wrote the first part of Harry Potter.
During Harry's fourth year of school (detailed in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) Harry is unwillingly entered as a participant in the Triwizard Tournament, a dangerous contest where Harry must compete against a witch and a wizard "champion" from visiting schools as well as another Hogwarts studentHP Pavilion dv6-1280es battery. Harry is guided through the tournament by Professor Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody, who turns out to be an impostor – one of Voldemort's supporters named Barty Crouch, Jr in disguise. The point at which the mystery is unravelled marks the series' shift from foreboding and uncertainty into open conflict. Voldemort's plan to have Crouch use the tournament to bring Harry to Voldemort succeedsHP Pavilion dv6-1280ep battery. Although Harry manages to escape from him, Cedric Diggory, the other Hogwarts champion in the tournament, is killed and Voldemort resurges.
In the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry must confront the newly resurfaced Voldemort. In response to Voldemort's reappearance, Dumbledore re-activates the Order of the Phoenix, a secret society which works from Sirius Black's dark family home to defeat Voldemort's minions and protect Voldemort's targetsHP Pavilion dv6-1280el battery, especially Harry. Despite Harry's description of Voldemort's recent activities, the Ministry of Magic and many others in the magical world refuse to believe that Voldemort has returned. In an attempt to counter and eventually discredit Dumbledore, who along with Harry is the most prominent voice in the wizarding world attempting to warn of Voldemort's returnHP Pavilion dv6-1277la battery, the Ministry appoints Dolores Umbridge as the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts. She transforms the school into a dictatorial regime and refuses to allow the students to learn ways to defend themselves against dark magic.
Harry forms "Dumbledore's Army", a secret study group to teach his classmates the higher-level skills of Defence Against the Dark Arts that he has learned. An important prophecy concerning Harry and Voldemort is revealed, and Harry discovers that he and Voldemort have a painful connection, allowing Harry to view some of Voldemort's actions telepathicallyHP Pavilion dv6-1277el battery. In the novel's climax, Harry and his friends face off against Voldemort's Death Eaters. Although the timely arrival of members of the Order of the Phoenix saves the children's lives, Sirius Black is killed in the conflict.
In the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Voldemort begins waging open warfare. Harry and friends are relatively protected from that danger at Hogwarts. They are subject to all the difficulties of adolescenceHP Pavilion dv6-1275la battery; Harry eventually begins dating Ginny Weasley. Near the beginning of the novel, Harry is given an old potions textbook filled with annotations and recommendations signed by a mysterious writer, "the Half-Blood Prince". This book is a source of scholastic success, but because of the potency of the spells that are written in it, becomes a source of concern. Harry takes private lessons with DumbledoreHP Pavilion dv6-1275eg battery, who shows him various memories concerning the early life of Voldemort. These reveal that Voldemort, to preserve his life, has split his soul into pieces, creating a series of horcruxes, evil enchanted items hidden in various locations, one of which was the diary destroyed in the second book. Harry's snobbish adversary, Draco Malfoy, attempts to attack Dumbledore, and the book culminates in the killing of Dumbledore by Professor Snape, the titular Half-Blood PrinceHP Pavilion dv6-1270st battery.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last book in the series, begins directly after the events of the sixth book. Voldemort has completed his ascension to power and gains control of the Ministry of Magic. Harry, Ron, and Hermione drop out of school so that they can find and destroy Voldemort's remaining horcruxes. To ensure their own safety as well as that of their family and friends, they are forced to isolate themselvesHP Pavilion dv6-1270ss battery. As they search for the horcruxes, the trio learns details about Dumbledore's past, as well as Snape's true motives—he had worked on Dumbledore's behalf since the murder of Harry's mother.
The book culminates in the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione, in conjunction with members of the Order of the Phoenix and many of the teachers and students, defend Hogwarts from Voldemort, his Death EatersHP Pavilion dv6-1270la battery, and various magical creatures. Several major characters are killed in the first wave of the battle. After learning that he himself is a horcrux, Harry surrenders himself to Voldemort, who casts a killing curse at him. However, the defenders of Hogwarts do not surrender after learning this, but continue to fight on. Having managed to return from the dead, Harry finally faces VoldemortHP Pavilion dv6-1270ev battery, whose horcruxes have all been destroyed. In the subsequent battle, Voldemort's curse rebounds off of Harry's spell and kills Voldemort. An epilogue describes the lives of the surviving characters and the effects on the wizarding world.
See also: J. K. Rowling: Philanthropy
Rowling has expanded the Harry Potter universe with several short books produced for various charities. In 2001, she released Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (a purported Hogwarts textbook) and Quidditch Through the Ages (a book Harry reads for fun) HP Pavilion dv6-1270et battery. Proceeds from the sale of these two books benefitted the charity Comic Relief. In 2007, Rowling composed seven handwritten copies of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a collection of fairy tales that is featured in the final novel, one of which was auctioned to raise money for the Children's High Level Group, a fund for mentally disabled children in poor countriesHP Pavilion dv6-1270eq battery. The book was published internationally on 4 December 2008. Rowling also wrote an 800-word prequel in 2008 as part of a fundraiser organised by the bookseller Waterstones. In 2011, Rowling launched a new website announcing an upcoming project called Pottermore.
Structure and genre
See also: Harry Potter influences and analogues
The Harry Potter novels fall within the genre of fantasy literature; however, in many respects they are also bildungsromans, or coming of age novelsHP Pavilion dv6-1270el battery, and contain elements of mystery, adventure, thriller, and romance. They can be considered part of the British children's boarding school genre, which includes Rudyard Kipling's Stalky & Co., Enid Blyton's Malory Towers, St. Clare's and the Naughtiest Girl series, and Frank Richards's Billy Bunter novels: the Harry Potter books are predominantly set in Hogwarts, a fictional British boarding school for wizardsHP Pavilion dv6-1270eg battery, where the curriculum includes the use of magic. In this sense they are "in a direct line of descent from Thomas Hughes's Tom Brown's School Days and other Victorian and Edwardian novels of British public school life". They are also, in the words of Stephen King, "shrewd mystery tales", and each book is constructed in the manner of a Sherlock Holmes-style mystery adventureHP Pavilion dv6-1270ec battery. The stories are told from a third person limited point of view with very few exceptions (such as the opening chapters of Philosopher's Stone and Deathly Hallows and the first two chapters of Half-Blood Prince).
In the middle of each book, Harry struggles with the problems he encounters, and dealing with them often involves the need to violate some school rules. If students are caught breaking rules, they are often disciplined by Hogwarts professors, who employ the use of punishments often found in the boarding school sub-genre. HP Pavilion dv6-1268tx battery However, the stories reach their climax in the summer term, near or just after final exams, when events escalate far beyond in-school squabbles and struggles, and Harry must confront either Voldemort or one of his followers, the Death Eaters, with the stakes a matter of life and death–a point underlined, as the series progresses, by one or more characters being killed in each of the final four books. HP Pavilion dv6-1268nr battery In the aftermath, he learns important lessons through exposition and discussions with head teacher and mentor Albus Dumbledore.
In the final novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry and his friends spend most of their time away from Hogwarts, and only return there to face Voldemort at the dénouement. Completing the bildungsroman format, in this part Harry must grow up prematurelyHP Pavilion dv6-1266el battery, losing the chance of a last year as a pupil in a school and needing to act as an adult, on whose decisions everybody else depends—the grown-ups included.
According to Rowling, a major theme in the series is death: "My books are largely about death. They open with the death of Harry's parents. There is Voldemort's obsession with conquering death and his quest for immortality at any price, the goal of anyone with magic. I so understand why Voldemort wants to conquer death. We're all frightened of it." HP Pavilion dv6-1265tx battery
Academics and journalists have developed many other interpretations of themes in the books, some more complex than others, and some including political subtexts. Themes such as normality, oppression, survival, and overcoming imposing odds have all been considered as prevalent throughout the series. HP Pavilion dv6-1265sg battery  Similarly, the theme of making one's way through adolescence and "going over one's most harrowing ordeals—and thus coming to terms with them" has also been considered. Rowling has stated that the books comprise "a prolonged argument for tolerance, a prolonged plea for an end to bigotry" and that also pass on a message to "question authority and... not assume that the establishment or the press tells you all of the truth".HP Pavilion dv6-1264tx battery
While the books could be said to comprise many other themes, such as power/abuse of power, love, prejudice, and free choice, they are, as J. K. Rowling states, "deeply entrenched in the whole plot"; the writer prefers to let themes "grow organically", rather than sitting down and consciously attempting to impart such ideas to her readers. HP Pavilion dv6-1264ca battery Along the same lines is the ever-present theme of adolescence, in whose depiction Rowling has been purposeful in acknowledging her characters' sexualities and not leaving Harry, as she put it, "stuck in a state of permanent pre-pubescence". Rowling said that, to her, the moral significance of the tales seems "blindingly obvious". The key for her was the choice between what is right and what is easy, "because that ... HP Pavilion dv6-1263cl battery is how tyranny is started, with people being apathetic and taking the easy route and suddenly finding themselves in deep trouble."
Origins and publishing history
The novelist, J. K. Rowling.
In 1990, J. K. Rowling was on a crowded train from Manchester to London when the idea for Harry suddenly "fell into her head". Rowling gives an account of the experience on her website saying: HP Pavilion dv6-1261tx battery
"I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six but I had never been so excited about an idea before. I simply sat and thought, for four (delayed train) hours, and all the details bubbled up in my brain, and this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who did not know he was a wizard became more and more real to meHP Pavilion dv6-1260tx battery."
Rowling completed Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 1995 and the manuscript was sent off to several prospective agents. The second agent she tried, Christopher Little, offered to represent her and sent the manuscript to Bloomsbury. After eight other publishers had rejected Philosopher's Stone, Bloomsbury offered Rowling a £2,500 advance for its publication. HP Pavilion dv6-1260sn battery Despite Rowling's statement that she did not have any particular age group in mind when beginning to write the Harry Potter books, the publishers initially targeted children aged nine to eleven. On the eve of publishing, Rowling was asked by her publishers to adopt a more gender-neutral pen name in order to appeal to the male members of this age group, fearing that they would not be interested in reading a novel they knew to be written by a womanHP Pavilion dv6-1260sh battery. She elected to use J. K. Rowling (Joanne Kathleen Rowling), using her grandmother's name as her second name because she has no middle name.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published by Bloomsbury, the publisher of all Harry Potter books in the United Kingdom, on 30 June 1997. It was released in the United States on 1 September 1998 by Scholastic—the American publisher of the books—as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, HP Pavilion dv6-1260sg battery after Rowling had received US$105,000 for the American rights—an unprecedented amount for a children's book by a then-unknown author. Fearing that American readers would not associate the word "philosopher" with a magical theme (although the Philosopher's Stone is alchemy-related), Scholastic insisted that the book be given the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the American marketHP Pavilion dv6-1260se battery.
The second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was originally published in the UK on 2 July 1998 and in the US on 2 June 1999. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was then published a year later in the UK on 8 July 1999 and in the US on 8 September 1999. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was published on 8 July 2000 at the same time by Bloomsbury and ScholasticHP Pavilion dv6-1260ev battery. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the longest book in the series at 766 pages in the UK version and 870 pages in the US version. It was published worldwide in English on 21 June 2003. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was published on 16 July 2005, and it sold 9 million copies in the first 24 hours of its worldwide release. The seventh and final novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was published 21 July 2007. HP Pavilion dv6-1260et battery The book sold 11 million copies in the first 24 hours of release, breaking down to 2.7 million copies in the UK and 8.3 million in the US.
Main article: Harry Potter in translation
The series has been translated into 67 languages, placing Rowling among the most translated authors in history. The books have seen translations to diverse languages such as Azerbaijani, Ukrainian, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, Welsh, Afrikaans, Albanian, Latvian and Vietnamese. The first volume has been translated into Latin and even Ancient GreekHP Pavilion dv6-1260ep battery, making it the longest published work in Ancient Greek since the novels of Heliodorus of Emesa in the 3rd century AD.
Some of the translators hired to work on the books were well-known authors before their work on Harry Potter, such as Viktor Golyshev, who oversaw the Russian translation of the series' fifth book. The Turkish translation of books two to seven was undertaken by Sevin Okyay, a popular literary critic and cultural commentatorHP Pavilion dv6-1260ej battery. For reasons of secrecy, translation can only start when the books are released in English; thus there is a lag of several months before the translations are available. This has led to more and more copies of the English editions being sold to impatient fans in non-English speaking countries. Such was the clamour to read the fifth book that its English language edition became the first English-language book ever to top the best-seller list in France. HP Pavilion dv6-1260ei battery
The United States editions of the Harry Potter novels have required the adaptation of the texts into American English, as many words and concepts used by the characters in the novels may have not been understood by a young American audience.
Completion of the series
In December 2005, Rowling stated on her web site, "2006 will be the year when I write the final book in the Harry Potter series." Updates then followed in her online diary chronicling the progress of Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsHP Pavilion dv6-1260ec battery, with the release date of 21 July 2007. The book itself was finished on 11 January 2007 in the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh, where she scrawled a message on the back of a bust of Hermes. It read: "J. K. Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room (552) on 11 January 2007." HP Pavilion dv6-1259tx battery
Rowling herself has stated that the last chapter of the final book (in fact, the epilogue) was completed "in something like 1990". In June 2006, Rowling, on an appearance on the British talk show Richard & Judy, announced that the chapter had been modified as one character "got a reprieve" and two others who previously survived the story had in fact been killedHP Pavilion dv6-1259dx battery. On 28 March 2007, the cover art for the Bloomsbury Adult and Child versions and the Scholastic version were released.
For more details on this topic, see Harry Potter fandom.
Further information: Cultural impact of Harry Potter
Crowds wait outside a Borders store in Newark, Delaware for the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Fans of the series were so eager for the latest instalment that bookstores around the world began holding events to coincide with the midnight release of the books, beginning with the 2000 publication of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The events, commonly featuring mock sortingHP Pavilion dv6-1256tx battery, games, face painting, and other live entertainment have achieved popularity with Potter fans and have been highly successful in attracting fans and selling books with nearly nine million of the 10.8 million initial print copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince sold in the first 24 hours. The final book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows became the fastest selling book in history, moving 11 million units in the first twenty-four hours of release HP Pavilion dv6-1255tx battery. The series has also gathered adult fans, leading to the release of two editions of each Harry Potter book, identical in text but with one edition's cover artwork aimed at children and the other aimed at adults. Besides meeting online through blogs, podcasts, and fansites, Harry Potter super-fans can also meet at Harry Potter symposia. The word Muggle has spread beyond its Harry Potter originsHP Pavilion dv6-1255eg battery, becoming one of few pop culture words to land in the Oxford English Dictionary. The Harry Potter fandom has embraced podcasts as a regular, often weekly, insight to the latest discussion in the fandom. Both MuggleCast and PotterCast have reached the top spot of iTunes podcast rankings and have been polled one of the top 50 favourite podcasts.HP Pavilion dv6-1255ee battery
Awards and honours
The Harry Potter series have been the recipients of a host of awards since the initial publication of Philosopher's Stone including four Whitaker Platinum Book Awards (all of which were awarded in 2001), three Nestlé Smarties Book Prizes (1997–1999), two Scottish Arts Council Book Awards (1999 and 2001), the inaugural Whitbread children's book of the year award (1999), the WHSmith book of the year (2006), among othersHP Pavilion dv6-1254tx battery. In 2000, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novel, and in 2001, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire won said award. Honours include a commendation for the Carnegie Medal (1997), a short listing for the Guardian Children's Award (1998), and numerous listings on the notable books, editors' Choices, and best books lists of the American Library Association, The New York Times, Chicago Public Library, and Publishers Weekly. HP Pavilion dv6-1253cl battery
See also: List of best-selling books
The popularity of the Harry Potter series has translated into substantial financial success for Rowling, her publishers, and other Harry Potter related license holders. This success has made Rowling the first and thus far only billionaire author. The books have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide and have also given rise to the popular film adaptations produced by Warner Bros. HP Pavilion dv6-1253ca battery, all of which have been highly successful in their own right. The films have in turn spawned eight video games and have led to the licensing of more than 400 additional Harry Potter products (including an iPod). The Harry Potter brand has been estimated to be worth as much as $15 billion.
The great demand for Harry Potter books motivated the New York Times to create a separate best-seller list for children's literature in 2000, just before the release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireHP Pavilion dv6-1252tx battery. By 24 June 2000, Rowling's novels had been on the list for 79 straight weeks; the first three novels were each on the hardcover best-seller list. On 12 April 2007, Barnes & Noble declared that Deathly Hallows had broken its pre-order record, with more than 500,000 copies pre-ordered through its site. For the release of Goblet of Fire, 9,000 FedEx trucks were used with no other purpose than to deliver the bookHP Pavilion dv6-1250us battery. Together, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble pre-sold more than 700,000 copies of the book. In the United States, the book's initial printing run was 3.8 million copies. This record statistic was broken by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, with 8.5 million, which was then shattered by Half-Blood Prince with 10.8 million copies. 6.9 million copies of Prince were sold in the U.S. within the first 24 hours of its release; in the United Kingdom more than two million copies were sold on the first day. HP Pavilion dv6-1250ss battery The initial U.S. print run for Deathly Hallows was 12 million copies, and more than a million were pre-ordered through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
British editions of the seven Harry Potter books.
Early in its history, Harry Potter received positive reviews. On publication, the first volume, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, attracted attention from the Scottish newspapers, such as The Scotsman, which said it had "all the makings of a classic", and The Glasgow Herald, which called it "Magic stuff". Soon the English newspapers joined inHP Pavilion dv6-1250sp battery, with more than one comparing it to Roald Dahl's work: The Mail on Sunday rated it as "the most imaginative debut since Roald Dahl", a view echoed by The Sunday Times ("comparisons to Dahl are, this time, justified"), while The Guardian called it "a richly textured novel given lift-off by an inventive wit".
By the time of the release of the fifth volume, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the books began to receive strong criticism from a number of literary scholarsHP Pavilion dv6-1250eq battery. Yale professor, literary scholar and critic Harold Bloom raised criticisms of the books' literary merits, saying, "Rowling's mind is so governed by clichés and dead metaphors that she has no other style of writing." A. S. Byatt authored a New York Times op-ed article calling Rowling's universe a "secondary secondary world, made up of intelligently patchworked derivative motifs from all sorts of children's literature ... HP Pavilion dv6-1250ep battery written for people whose imaginative lives are confined to TV cartoons, and the exaggerated (more exciting, not threatening) mirror-worlds of soaps, reality TV and celebrity gossip".
Michael Rosen, a novelist and poet, advocated the books were not suited for children, who would be unable to grasp the complex themes. Rosen also stated that "J. K. Rowling is more of an adult writer." HP Pavilion dv6-1250eo battery The critic Anthony Holden wrote in The Observer on his experience of judging Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for the 1999 Whitbread Awards. His overall view of the series was negative—"the Potter saga was essentially patronising, conservative, highly derivative, dispiritingly nostalgic for a bygone Britain", and he speaks of "pedestrian, ungrammatical prose style". Ursula Le Guin said, "I have no great opinion of itHP Pavilion dv6-1250el battery. When so many adult critics were carrying on about the 'incredible originality' of the first Harry Potter book, I read it to find out what the fuss was about, and remained somewhat puzzled; it seemed a lively kid's fantasy crossed with a "school novel", good fare for its age group, but stylistically ordinary, imaginatively derivative, and ethically rather mean-spirited." HP Pavilion dv6-1250eg battery
By contrast, author Fay Weldon, while admitting that the series is "not what the poets hoped for", nevertheless goes on to say, "but this is not poetry, it is readable, saleable, everyday, useful prose". The literary critic A. N. Wilson praised the Harry Potter series in The Times, stating: "There are not many writers who have JK's Dickensian ability to make us turn the pages, to weep—openly, with tears splashing—and a few pages later to laugh, at invariably good jokesHP Pavilion dv6-1250eb battery ... We have lived through a decade in which we have followed the publication of the liveliest, funniest, scariest and most moving children's stories ever written". Charles Taylor of Salon.com, who is primarily a movie critic, took issue with Byatt's criticisms in particular. While he conceded that she may have "a valid cultural point—a teeny one—about the impulses that drive us to reassuring pop trash and away from the troubling complexities of art",HP Pavilion dv6-1249tx battery he rejected her claims that the series is lacking in serious literary merit and that it owes its success merely to the childhood reassurances it offers. Taylor stressed the progressively darker tone of the books, shown by the murder of a classmate and close friend and the psychological wounds and social isolation each causes. Taylor also argued that Philosopher's Stone, said to be the most light-hearted of the seven published booksHP Pavilion dv6-1249eo battery, disrupts the childhood reassurances that Byatt claims spur the series' success: the book opens with news of a double murder, for example.
Stephen King called the series "a feat of which only a superior imagination is capable", and declared "Rowling's punning, one-eyebrow-cocked sense of humour" to be "remarkable". However, he wrote that despite the story being "a good one", he is "a little tired of discovering Harry at home with his horrible aunt and uncle"HP Pavilion dv6-1248eo battery, the formulaic beginning of all seven books. King has also joked that "Rowling's never met an adverb she did not like!" He does however predict that Harry Potter "will indeed stand time's test and wind up on a shelf where only the best are kept; I think Harry will take his place with Alice, Huck, Frodo, and Dorothy and this is one series not just for the decade, but for the ages".HP Pavilion dv6-1248ca battery
Although Time magazine named Rowling as a runner-up for its 2007 Person of the Year award, noting the social, moral, and political inspiration she has given her fandom, cultural comments on the series have been mixed. Washington Post book critic Ron Charles opined in July 2007 that the large numbers of adults reading the Potter series but few other books may represent a "bad case of cultural infantilism"HP Pavilion dv6-1247tx battery, and that the straightforward "good vs. evil" theme of the series is "childish". He also argued "through no fault of Rowling's", the cultural and marketing "hysteria" marked by the publication of the later books "trains children and adults to expect the roar of the coliseum, a mass-media experience that no other novel can possibly provide".HP Pavilion dv6-1247ez battery
Librarian Nancy Knapp pointed out the books' potential to improve literacy by motivating children to read much more than they otherwise would. Agreeing about the motivating effects, Diane Penrod also praised the books' blending of simple entertainment with "the qualities of highbrow literary fiction", but expressed concern about the distracting effect of the prolific merchandising that accompanies the book launches. HP Pavilion dv6-1247et battery
Jennifer Conn used Snape's and Quidditch coach Madam Hooch's teaching methods as examples of what to avoid and what to emulate in clinical teaching, and Joyce Fields wrote that the books illustrate four of the five main topics in a typical first-year sociology class: "sociological concepts including culture, society, and socialisation; stratification and social inequality; social institutions; and social theory".HP Pavilion dv6-1247eo battery
Jenny Sawyer wrote in 25 July 2007 Christian Science Monitor that the books represent a "disturbing trend in commercial storytelling and Western society" in that stories "moral center [sic] have all but vanished from much of today's pop culture ... after 10 years, 4,195 pages, and over 375 million copies, J. K. Rowling's towering achievement lacks the cornerstone of almost all great children's literature: the hero's moral journey"HP Pavilion dv6-1247cl battery. Harry Potter, Sawyer argues, neither faces a "moral struggle" nor undergoes any ethical growth, and is thus "no guide in circumstances in which right and wrong are anything less than black and white". In contrast Emily Griesinger described Harry's first passage through to Platform 9¾ as an application of faith and hope, and his encounter with the Sorting Hat as the first of many in which Harry is shaped by the choices he makesHP Pavilion dv6-1246tx battery. She also noted the "deeper magic" by which the self-sacrifice of Harry's mother protects the boy throughout the series, and which the power-hungry Voldemort fails to understand.
In an 8 November 2002 Slate article, Chris Suellentrop likened Potter to a "trust-fund kid whose success at school is largely attributable to the gifts his friends and relatives lavish upon him". Noting that in Rowling's fiction, magical ability potential is "something you are born toHP Pavilion dv6-1246eo battery, not something you can achieve", Suellentrop wrote that Dumbledore's maxim that "It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities" is hypocritical, as "the school that Dumbledore runs values native gifts above all else". In a 12 August 2007 New York Times review of Deathly Hallows, however, Christopher Hitchens praised Rowling for "unmooring" her "English school story" from literary precedents "bound up with dreams of wealth and class and snobbery"HP Pavilion dv6-1245et battery, arguing that she had instead created "a world of youthful democracy and diversity".
Main articles: Legal disputes over the Harry Potter series, Religious debates over the Harry Potter series, and Politics of Harry Potter
The books have been the subject of a number of legal proceedings, stemming either from claims by American Christian groups that the magic in the books promotes witchcraft among children, or from various conflicts over copyright and trademark infringementsHP Pavilion dv6-1245es battery. The popularity and high market value of the series has led Rowling, her publishers, and film distributor Warner Bros. to take legal measures to protect their copyright, which have included banning the sale of Harry Potter imitations, targeting the owners of websites over the "Harry Potter" domain name, and suing author Nancy Stouffer to counter her accusations that Rowling had plagiarised her workHP Pavilion dv6-1245eo battery. Various religious conservatives have claimed that the books promote witchcraft and are therefore unsuitable for children, while a number of critics have criticised the books for promoting various political agendas.
The books also aroused controversies in the literary and publishing worlds. In 1997 to 1998 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone won almost all the UK awards judged by children, but none of the children's book awards judged by adultsHP Pavilion dv6-1245dx battery, and Sandra Beckett suggested the reason was intellectual snobbery towards books that were popular among children. In 1999 the winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year Award children's division was entered for the first time on the shortlist for the main award, and one judge threatened to resign if Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was declared the overall winnerHP Pavilion dv6-1244tx battery; it finished second, very close behind the winner of the poetry prize, Seamus Heaney's translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf.
In 2000, shortly before the publication of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the previous three Harry Potter books topped the New York Times fiction best-seller list and a third of the entries were children's books. The newspaper created a new children's section covering children's books, including both fiction and non-fictionHP Pavilion dv6-1244sb battery, and initially counting only hardback sales. The move was supported by publishers and booksellers. In 2004 The New York Times further split the children's list, which was still dominated by Harry Potter books into sections for series and individual books, and removed the Harry Potter books from the section for individual books. HP Pavilion dv6-1243cl battery The split in 2000 attracted condemnation, praise and some comments that presented both benefits and disadvantages of the move. Time suggested that, on the same principle, Billboard should have created a separate "mop-tops" list in 1964 when the Beatles held the top five places in its list, and Nielsen should have created a separate game-show list when Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? dominated the ratings. HP Pavilion dv6-1242tx battery
The Harry Potter books have all been released in unabridged audiobook versions. The UK versions are read by Stephen Fry and the US versions are read by Jim Dale. Dale is also the narrator for the special features disc on the DVDs.
Main article: Harry Potter (film series)
The locomotive that features as the "Hogwarts Express" in the film series.
In 1998, Rowling sold the film rights of the first four Harry Potter books to Warner Bros. for a reported £1 million ($1,982,900).HP Pavilion dv6-1242et battery Rowling demanded the principal cast be kept strictly British, nonetheless allowing for the inclusion of Irish actors such as the late Richard Harris as Dumbledore, and for casting of French and Eastern Europe actors in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where characters from the book are specified as such. After many directors including Steven Spielberg, Terry Gilliam, Jonathan Demme, and Alan Parker were consideredHP Pavilion dv6-1241tx battery, Chris Columbus was appointed on 28 March 2000 as director for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (titled "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in the United States), with Warner Bros. citing his work on other family films such as Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire and proven experience with directing children as influences for their decisionHP Pavilion dv6-1241et battery. After extensive casting, filming began in October 2000 at Leavesden Film Studios and in London itself, with production ending in July 2001. Philosopher's Stone was released on 14 November 2001. Just three days after the film's release, production for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, also directed by Columbus, began. Filming was completed in summer 2002, with the film being released on 15 November 2002. HP Pavilion dv6-1241eo battery Daniel Radcliffe portrayed Harry Potter, doing so for all succeeding films in the franchise.
Columbus declined to direct Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, only acting as producer. Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón took over the job, and after shooting in 2003, the film was released on 4 June 2004. Due to the fourth film beginning its production before the third's release, Mike Newell was chosen as the director for Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireHP Pavilion dv6-1240us battery, released on 18 November 2005. Newell became the first British director of the series, with television director David Yates following suit after he was chosen to helm Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Production began in January 2006 and the film was released the following year in July 2007. After executives were "really delighted" with his work on the film, Yates was selected to direct Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which was released on 15 July 2009HP Pavilion dv6-1240tx battery.
In March 2008, Warner Bros. President and COO Alan F. Horn announced that the final instalment in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, would be released in two cinematic parts: Part 1 on 19 November 2010 and Part 2 on 15 July 2011. David Yates returned to direct his third and fourth Potter films, becoming the only director to have helmed more than one film since Columbus. Production of both parts started in February 2009HP Pavilion dv6-1240ez battery, with the final day of principal photography taking place on 12 June 2010.
J. K. Rowling gained creative control on the film series, playing an active role within the filmmaking process of Philosopher's Stone and serving as producer on the two-part Deathly Hallows, alongside David Heyman and David Barron. The Harry Potter films have been top-rank box office hitsHP Pavilion dv6-1240ep battery, with all eight releases on the list of highest-grossing films worldwide. Columbus' Philosopher's Stone became the highest-grossing Potter film upon completing its theatrical run in 2002, but it was eventually topped by Yates' Deathly Hallows. Yates' first two instalments grossed higher than any other film after Philosopher's Stone, while Cuarón's Prisoner of Azkaban grossed the least. As well as financial success, the film series has also been a success among film critics. HP Pavilion dv6-1240eo battery
Opinions of the films are generally divided among fans, with one group preferring the more faithful approach of the first two films, and another group preferring the more stylised character-driven approach of the later films. Rowling has been constantly supportive of all the films and evaluated Deathly Hallows as her "favourite one" in the series. HP Pavilion dv6-1240el battery She wrote on her website of the changes in the book-to-film transition, "It is simply impossible to incorporate every one of my storylines into a film that has to be kept under four hours long. Obviously films have restrictions novels do not have, constraints of time and budget; I can create dazzling effects relying on nothing but the interaction of my own and my readers' imaginations".HP Pavilion dv6-1240ek battery
At the 64th British Academy Film Awards in February 2011, Rowling was joined by producers David Heyman and David Barron along with directors David Yates, Alfonso Cuarón and Mike Newell in collecting the Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema on behalf of all the films in the series. Actors Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, who play main characters Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, were also in attendance. HP Pavilion dv6-1240ei battery
There are eleven Harry Potter video games, eight of which correspond with the films and books, and three other spin-offs. The film/book based games are produced by Electronic Arts, as was the Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup game, with the game version of the first entry in the series, Philosopher's Stone, being released in November 2001. The video games are released to coincide with the filmsHP Pavilion dv6-1240ef battery, containing scenery and details from the films as well as the tone and spirit of the books. Objectives usually occur in and around Hogwarts, along with various other magical areas. The story and design of the games follows the selected film's characterisation and plot; EA worked closely with Warner Brothers to include scenes from the films. The last game in the series, Deathly HallowsHP Pavilion dv6-124
Main article: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Islands of Adventure)
After the success of the films and books, Universal and Warner Brothers announced they would create "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter," a new Harry Potter-themed expansion to the Islands of Adventure theme park at Universal Orlando Resort in FloridaHP Pavilion dv6-1240ea battery. The new land, promoted as the seventh themed "island" of the park, was built from land reserved for expansion outside of the park's original border, as well as from much of the existing "island," The Lost Continent. A soft opening was held at the end of March 2010, with the land opening on 16 June 2010 for reserved guests. The land officially opened to the public on 18 June 2010. HP Pavilion dv6-1239tx battery
Guests enter the land through a recreation of the Hogsmeade station, leading into the village of Hogsmeade, with a forced-perspective Hogwarts castle at the very end of the street. The castle contains the expansion's centrepiece attraction, Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey, a KUKA arm attraction which takes passengers through many realistic scenes influenced by the movies and booksHP Pavilion dv6-1239et battery, including soaring over Hogwarts, getting involved in a Quidditch match, and having close encounters with dragons, dementors, and the Whomping Willow. Other attractions include a twin high-speed rollercoaster named the Dragon Challenge, a renovation of the previously existing rollercoaster, Dueling Dragons, and a family roller coaster called Flight of the Hippogriff, a renovation of the previously existing ride, Flying UnicornHP Pavilion dv6-1239es battery. In addition to the three rides are several themed shops and restaurants, heavily inspired by their appearances in the books and films: Honeydukes sells sweets, such as chocolate frogs and Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans, Ollivander's offers personalised magic wands, Zonko's Joke Shop sells various items including Sneakoscopes, and the Three Broomsticks serves food and drink, most notably Butterbeer and pumpkin juiceHP Pavilion dv6-1238nr battery.
Developed at a cost of $265 million, the new land "has seen capacity crowds [and] waits of up to two hours just to enter the ... merchandise shop." Islands of Adventure saw a massive increase in attendance following the expansion, seeing gains of as much as 36%, a period during which attendance to competitor resort Walt Disney World dropped slightly. Disney had itself entered negotiations for a Harry Potter-themed expansion, but ultimately turned down the opportunity. HP Pavilion dv6-1238et battery
In March 2011, Warner Bros. announced plans to build a tourist attraction in the United Kingdom to showcase the Harry Potter film series. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London will be a behind-the-scenes walking tour featuring authentic sets, costumes and props from the film series. The attraction will be located at Warner Bros. Studios, LeavesdenHP Pavilion dv6-1238es battery, where all eight of the Harry Potter films were made. Warner Bros. stated that two new sound stages would be constructed to house and showcase the famous sets from each of the British-made productions, following a £100 million investment. Some of the sets have been revealed, and tickets have already been sold. It is scheduled to open to the public in March, 2012. HP Pavilion dv6-1238ca battery
Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person/being. Although vampiric entities have been recorded in many cultures, and may go back to "prehistoric times", the term vampire was not popularized until the early 18th centuryHP Pavilion dv6-1237et battery, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe from areas where vampire legends were frequent, such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe, although local variants were also known by different names, such as vrykolakas in Greece and strigoi in Romania. This increased level of vampire superstition in Europe led to mass hysteria and in some cases resulted in corpses actually being staked and people being accused of vampirismHP Pavilion dv6-1237es battery.
While even folkloric vampires of the Balkans and Eastern Europe had a wide range of appearance ranging from nearly human to bloated rotting corpses, it was interpretation of the vampire by the Christian Church and the success of vampire literature, namely John Polidori's 1819 novella The Vampyre that established the archetype of charismatic and sophisticated vampireHP Pavilion dv6-1237ca battery; it is arguably the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century, inspiring such works as Varney the Vampire and eventually Dracula. The Vampyre was itself based on Lord Byron's unfinished story "Fragment of a Novel", also known as "The Burial: A Fragment", published in 1819.
However, it is Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula that is remembered as the quintessential vampire novel and which provided the basis of modern vampire fictionHP Pavilion dv6-1236et battery. Dracula drew on earlier mythologies of werewolves and similar legendary demons and "was to voice the anxieties of an age", and the "fears of late Victorian patriarchy". The success of this book spawned a distinctive vampire genre, still popular in the 21st century, with books, films, video games, and television shows. The vampire is such a dominant figure in the horror genre that literary historian Susan Sellers places the current vampire myth in the "comparative safety of nightmare fantasy".HP Pavilion dv6-1236eo battery
The Oxford English Dictionary dates the first appearance of the word vampire in English from 1734, in a travelogue titled Travels of Three English Gentlemen published in the Harleian Miscellany in 1745. Vampires had already been discussed in German literature. After Austria gained control of northern Serbia and Oltenia with the Treaty of Passarowitz in 1718, officials noted the local practice of exhuming bodies and "killing vampires".HP Pavilion dv6-1235ss battery These reports, prepared between 1725 and 1732, received widespread publicity.
The English term was derived (possibly via French vampyre) from the German Vampir, in turn derived in the early 18th century from the Serbian вампир/vampir, when Arnold Paole, a purported vampire in Serbia was described during the time Serbia was incorporated into the Austrian EmpireHP Pavilion dv6-1235sb battery.
The Serbian form has parallels in virtually all Slavic languages: Bulgarian and Macedonian вампир (vampir), Croatian vampir, Czech and Slovak upír, Polish wąpierz, and (perhaps East Slavic-influenced) upiór, Ukrainian упир (upyr), Russian упырь (upyr'), Belarusian упыр (upyr), from Old East Slavic упирь (upir'). (Note that many of these languages have also borrowed forms such as "vampir/wampir" subsequently from the WestHP Pavilion dv6-1235et battery; these are distinct from the original local words for the creature.) The exact etymology is unclear. Among the proposed proto-Slavic forms are *ǫpyrь and *ǫpirь. Another, less widespread theory, is that the Slavic languages have borrowed the word from a Turkic term for "witch" (e.g., Tatar ubyr).
An early use of the Old Russian word is in the anti-pagan treatise "Word of Saint Grigoriy", dated variously to the 11th–13th centuries, where pagan worship of upyri is reported. HP Pavilion dv6-1235es battery