J.K. Rowling’s works of literature have profoundly inspired and informed many people’s opinions and ambitions. Her best-selling “Harry Potter” series has helped young readers develop emotional and social skills. Heilman contends that, aside from the Bible, “The “Harry Potter” novels have hit more people around the world than any other book series (12). On a global scale, “The “Harry Potter” books have sold over 500 million copies. Rowling’s contribution to the field of literature, however, is not limited to the many books she has published, but rather to how the literary works influence children, both now and in the future. Her books affect kids when they are young and vulnerable and have served to inspire an entire generation to read, thereby widening access to many other avenues for education (Walkowitz 22). J.K. Rowling, through her renowned works of literature, has significantly shaped and impacted on the thoughts and goals of many readers of literature works, by training readers in emotional and social skills, besides motivating more individuals to write epic stories.
The literary works of Rowling have also attracted some adults. By stepping inside the minds of the main characters of her books, adult readers have been reported to be more empathetic (Van Coillie and Walter 34). In so doing, such adult readers get an opportunity to consider alternative viewpoints and understand the rationale behind choices that they may not encounter firsthand. Importantly, “Harry Potter” has been reported to be categorically helpful in lessening latent biases among kids. While her stories may be set in fantastical worlds, their relatable themes have been found to get children thinking positively about the world they inhabit.
J.K. Rowling has made literature a cultural event, by making reading a trend. Children and adults who have interacted with her books tend to want to identify with the protagonists of the books (Heilman 13). These individuals would also want to the Harry Potter midnight release events, argue over their most crushable characters, and clad like their favorite characters. The literary works of Rowling have also made reading literature texts something to be anticipated. According to Walkowitz, her books have made it normal for children to insist on staying awake till late night, to start reading the next book in their most preferred series (24). By constructing such a striking literary commodity by building towards an excruciatingly mysterious conclusion, the author imbued reading with anticipation and excitement for many children worldwide.
Through her works, Rowling created a literary world that felt supernatural enough to thrill, but close enough to touch. This has been achieved by her skillful blend of customary British boarding school stories and traditional fantasy elements, offering a perfect and powerful balance of fantasy and familiarity, thrill, and comfort (Heilman 15). Readers not only want to read about her books but also want to identify with her. A read through “Harry Potter” books make readers believe that magic can happen to them. While readers know that the happenings in the book are probably not real, Rowling makes them feel so real. Like some other prolific authors of children’s book, Rowling believes that words are fun, making his books infectious (Heilman 17). The ingenious wordplay hidden in her spell incantations, name choices and general terminology serves to ensure children learn some linguistic history while also helping stimulate lifelong fascination with meaning and language, both that are pivotal to understanding literature. Rowling has also helped pass books for younger readers into a golden age (Van Coillie and Walter 38). While she did not create or invent young adult fantasy or fiction, after the publication of “Harry Potter” books that became a worldwide phenomenon, publishers could not overlook the potential of that market.
Rowling also created fantastic children’s horror by creating some genuinely scary monsters to act as minor adversaries in engineering her initial sub-climaxes while also serving to develop another literary device that is crucial to melodramatic inflation (Van Coillie and Walter 40). For instance, the early volumes of “Harry Potter” have a robust mystery element, in which it is intensely unclear to readers and to Harry, who his potential associates and covert enemies are. Also, in certain instances, the author presents certain characters like Sirius Black as lethal enemy but turns out to be an ardent ally (Heilman 17). Such a depiction brings about a continual distortion of moral boundaries, rendering literary works more thrilling. Rowling has significantly contributed to the world of literature by creating literary works that produce a crescendo effect. This kind of escalation is difficult to achieve since the pressure of melodramatic increase propels the majority of fantasy series to attain apocalyptic conclusions. Rowling has achieved this in her works by artistically reducing her character Voldemort, to be virtually powerless due to his encounter with Harry. This serves to artistically match Voldemort’s gradual recovery of power, to Harry’s maturity and accumulated knowledge.
While epic literature have existed for several years, Rowling’s “Harry Potter” was arguably the first epic to present epic storytelling on a scale that can thrill mainstream readers. In contrast to other epic stories such as “Lord of the Rings,” “Harry Potter” was composed in a manner that is recreational and accessible to readers who merely needed to experience the narrative without trailing through any heavy prose (Heilman 19). Since the publication of “Harry Potter,” several stories such as “The Hunger Games” and “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” have followed the footsteps of Rowling’s book. As such Rowling has made epic stories available to young children, and importantly, with little patience. What is more, the success of Rowling’s “Harry Potter” has given room for both young adult fiction industry and speculative fiction industry to flourish (Heilman 20). As a result of Rowling’s works of literature, therefore, publishers of literature materials have become more willing to consider taking risks on authors of literature genres since they have believed that the genres can be tremendously successful. It can also be argued that this shift in the outlook of the young adult fiction industry and speculative fiction industry has led to the flourishing of young adult’s supernatural romance industry. In light of this, publishers have become eager to consider publishing books such as “Vampire Diaries” and “Twilight” that have significantly enriched contemporary literature (Walkowitz 25). This has been made possible since the momentum of Rowling’s “Harry Potter” has propelled such publications to try to captivate similar target markets. Moreover, Rowling’s “Harry Potter” has prompted a new generation of literature readers. Rowling’s characters have acted as many reader’s role models, compelling them to seek new fictional role models from other literature materials. As a result, some readers have opted to write their own fictional stories for young readers, further contributing to the already existing literature materials.
During the period when more literature readers were changing to other media forms and reading lesser books, “Harry Potter” books served to stir a deep and lasting public interest. It is this interest that translated into huge sales of more than four hundred and fifty copies of the book globally, compelling the book to be translated into more than sixty languages (Walkowitz 27). Beyond just selling the copies, Rowling’s “Harry Potter” changed book releases into most important events, changing the entire new generation of adults and kids into avid readers. In so doing, Rowling’s works turned reading literature works into something more than cool, making it something magical.
Overall, the literary works of Rowling have made rich and significant contributions to the world of literature. To begin with, her works led to the popular rise of young adult literature. While what is contemporarily referred to as YA has always existed, its mainstream awareness as a genre was influenced by the broad appeal of Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books. Though “Harry Potter” books are not directly attributed to the creation of YA titles, they were they were influential to the positioning of the books to be accessed by a wider audience. Additionally, Rowling’s works made movies for books for young adults possible. Just like in popular literature, there was a tendency among producers, to classify some films for adults and others for children. If it were not for Rowling’s works, probably these books could have been left untouched by film. Furthermore, through her works, Rowling established a literary world that felt supernatural enough to thrill, which was also close enough to touch. She achieved this by her skillful blend customary stories and traditional fantasy elements, creating a robust balance of comfort, thrill, fantasy, and familiarity.
Heilman, Elizabeth E., ed. Critical perspectives on Harry Potter. Routledge, 2008.
Van Coillie, Jan, and Walter P. Verschueren. Children’s literature in translation: Challenges and strategies. Routledge, 2014.
Walkowitz, Rebecca L. “Unimaginable largeness: Kazuo Ishiguro, translation, and the new world literature.” Novel: A Forum on Fiction. Vol. 40. No. 3. Duke University Press, 2007.