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Harry Potter: Good Idea to World Wide Phenomenon
It’s amazing how huge the Harry Potter brand, movies, books, etc. are now considering how small it started out: a simple good idea. In fact, the author of this amazing series, JK Rowling, says she originally had the idea when she was on a train to London. Rowling says, “It started with Harry, then all these characters and situations came flooding into my head. It was an excitement I'd never known before.”
That’s cool, but did all your favorite Harry Potter characters start just like that, from scratch. Not quite. Rowling says she got some of the ideas for characters in Harry Potter from people she had known. For instance Hermione is based on herself and Ron is based off her friend Sean.
Harry Potter also shows some resemblance to Greek mythology. Many of the characters are believed to be based on Greek gods and goddesses. These include Fluffy, the giant three headed dog. Cerberus was also a three headed dog, and he guarded the underworld, just like Fluffy guards the Sorcerer's Stone. Furthermore, many of the spells used are Latin words. For instance, accio, the summoning charm, means to summon in Latin.
While Rowling was writing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone she was a single mother, struggling to make ends meet. Rowling also struggled from depression because her mother had died. This is where she got her idea for dementors, the miserable, soul sucking creatures Harry has to defend against. When her mother died it also allowed Rowling to add more detail to her book on how it felt for Harry to live without his parents.
However, Rowling’s struggles did not as soon as she finished writing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. She was warned that she would never make much money writing children’s books, which is ironic considering Rowling is now a billionaire. Several publishing companies rejected Harry Potter before Bloomsbury finally accepted the book in 1996. Later Scholastic won the U.S. publishing rights for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Even though people had doubted that Rowling’s book would do well it did amazingly. When Rowling’s book was released it was immediately successful. She was given many awards. Her sequels were a similar success.
In 1999 Rowling sold the rights to make Harry Potter movies to Warner Bros for $2 million. At first she didn’t want to sell the rights because she was worried that the large company would take over the story.
Much of the cast of Harry Potter was chosen through auditions. This includes the three main characters: Harry, Ron, and Hermione. None of them had any professional acting experience before Harry Potter.
Choosing Harry proved difficult. Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry, was discovered by David Heyman while at a play. Both of Radcliffe’s parents were in the theater business. Then when he auditioned everyone, including the author, JK Rowling, knew he was perfect for the part.
Emma Watson, a.k.a. Hermione, had acted only in school plays. Watson never imagined that her life would take her here. In her own words, “I had no idea of the scale of the film- the fame- or I would have been completely overwhelmed.” Even though Watson has enormous amounts of money she still wants to go to school, and does not approve of ‘stupid girls’ like so many famous girls.
Like Watson, Rupert Grint (Ron) had only been in school plays before being in Harry Potter. In order to catch the attention of the Harry Potter casting crew Grint made an original video. Oh, and it was defiantly original. In the video Grint pretended to be his drama teacher. He than performed a rap about how much he wanted the role of Ron. This resulted in Grint immediately being called in for an audition.
The first two Harry Potter movies were directed by Chris Columbus. The first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was released on November 16, 2001. The movie made 90 million dollars in the United States alone. This was an astoundingly huge success. In fact, it created a new record. Just one year later the next movie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, is released. This is another success making $879 million world wide. All the other Harry Potter movies were also very successful.
Movies and books are great and all, but now there is even more for Harry Potter fans. One of the newest things is, drum roll please… a theme park devoted to Harry Potter. The theme park, which is part of Universal Studios in Orlando, sounds really exiting. This is more than just a simple amusement park; it is, well… magical. In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter you can shop at Diagon Alley, visit Hosmeade, drink butterbeer, and ride magical rides. Sound exiting? You can visit for $74. I know I’m going.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an example of how someone’s good idea turned into a world wide phenomenon. Who would have thought that such a small spark of an idea could grow into such a big explosion?