Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Death of Harry Potter

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Is Death in the cards for the boy wizard?

"I felt terrible for a week." That's what author J K Rowling said after completing the last installment of the Harry Potter book series. "The first two days in particular, it was like a bereavement, even though I was pleased with the book. And then after a week that cloud lifted and I felt quite lighthearted, quite liberated," she says.
"Finishing is emotional because the books have been so wrapped up with my life. It's almost impossible not to finish and look back to where I was when I started."

When Rowling created Harry Potter during a train journey across England in 1990, she was a struggling single mom, writing in cafes to keep the ehat on at home. Today, at 41, she is the richest woman in Great Britain — worth $1 billion (€720 million), by measure of Forbes magazine.

Her first book, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," was published in 1997, with a print run of less than 1,000. Rowling's publisher suggested she use gender-neutral initials rather than her first name, Joanne, to give the book a better chance with boys. Lacking a middle name, she took the K from her paternal grandmother, Kathleen.

By the time that book appeared in the United States in 1998 — as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" — Harry was on his way to becoming a publishing phenom. The six Potter books have sold 325 million copies in 64 languages. "Deathly Hallows" has an initial print run of 12 million in the United States alone; more than 2 million copies have been ordered from Internet retailer Amazon.

The novels resulted in five movies, a line of toys, hundreds of Internet fan sites and scores of companion books — from academic studies to parodies to pop psychology. A theme park, complete with Hogwarts castle and Forbidden Forest, is set to open in Orlando, Florida, in 2009.

The launch of each new book is now accompanied by choreographed chaos and military-level security. No book is sold until a minute past midnight on Saturday. The series' success has been "a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon," said Joel Rickett, news editor of trade magazine The Bookseller. "It has brought a new generation to reading — got kids absorbed in huge hefty hardbacks the way they wouldn't have been," he said.

Without tipping her hand, J K Rowling is managing to whip up a frenzy over Harry Potter's fate. Don't fret, Muggles. The hour draws near when you will know all.

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1 comment:

  1. i used to love reading the books, but over time, it got thicker and thicker, i lost interest. i will just wait for the movie version. =)


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