The Wizarding World of Harry PotterIf you asked most people in 1997 if they thought this new, magic-themed
children’s novel just published in the UK would become an entire universe,
complete with eight movies, a London studio tour experience, a massive
amusement park, and more, they probably would have said no. In fact, when
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
was first published, many parents and teachers did not want this book in
their schools, homes, or libraries. At. All. The book promoted “witchcraft,
the occult, and anti-family themes” just to name a few. It was successfully
banned from thousands of places. How could this so familiar, childhood
staple, much loved book series, go from ban after ban
to world-renowned family favorite?
book was published in the United States in 1998 and was immediately
challenged. Challenging a book means that someone raised the idea that the
book should not be readily available for the public audience. After a
challenge is voiced at a school, library or bookstore, that entity may
choose to ban the book or dismiss the challenge.
Even though it was published at the end of the decade,
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
made the list of top 100 challenged books of the decade (1990-1999), ranking
at number 48. Of course, the series continued to be challenged into the new
millennium where it topped the most frequently challenged list for
2000-2009. Reasons for challenging the book included: glorifying witchcraft,
promoting the occult, tones of death, hate, lack of respect and sheer evil,
leading children to hatred and rebellion, confusing children, and leading
them astray. Some were also concerned about the increasing dark tone in the
later books but overall, most of the challengers’ reasons based on religious
beliefs. Luckily for us fans, libraries and intellectual freedom fighters
fought censorship attempts and eventually overcame them. According to the
American Library Association,
books are now the most challenged books of the entire 21
century. The books continue to be challenged and banned across the United
States, the most recent occurrence in a Nashville Catholic school in 2019.
Take a look at
Harry Potter and the Bible: The Menace Behind the Magick
for more in-depth reasoning about censoring this series.
Since its initial publication, the
series has been translated into over 79 different languages, the most recent
translation being into Scots in 2017. TLCPL has most of the series in
French, Spanish, and German. If you want a different language, just ask your
local librarian — they can probably get it for you.
Over 500 million copies of the
books have sold worldwide, with more than 180 million in the United States.
the bestselling book series of all time.
universe can be found in almost all aspects of life and entertainment.
Besides Rowling’s seven-novel series, there are screenplays, guides, and
spin-off books. Authors have gone wild writing about Harry Potter’s world
in many facets. There are cookbooks, knitting books, craft books, guides,
quiz books, indexes, and much more published all regarding the Harry Potter
universe. Video game companies have created action, adventure, and puzzle
video games for all ages. LEGO has a whole line of Harry Potter universe
buildable toys. Companies have created collectible (and edible) merchandise,
toys, clothes, costumes, candies, foods and more.
One of the biggest, most stand out creations of this universe is the
Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort (Florida). At
this massive theme park, you can shop for your wand at Ollivanders’, enjoy
butterbeer with your lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, ride the Hogwarts Express,
see a fire breathing dragon on top of Gringotts Bank, buy a prank at Weasley
Wizard Wheezes, and much, much more. It brings Diagon Ally, Knockturn Ally,
and Harry’s world to life.
Discover the magic of filmmaking at the Warner Brother’s Studio Tour: The
Making of Harry Potter (London, UK). Props, costumes, and entire scenes fill
your eyes as you walk through the studio where the magic happened. The Great
Hall is ready for a feast, see the robotic Dobby the Elf, a Miniature of
Hogwarts Castle that magically lights, and of course, enjoy some butterbeer
as you sit outside Number 4 Privet Lane, the night bus, and the flying car.
Wizarding World (previous known as: Pottermore), is the website where all
things Harry Potter (& Fantastic Beasts) reside. JK Rowling herself
communicates with fans via this website, answering questions, sharing
unpublished writing, and offering up news and events. The site is also
famous for its Sorting Hat Quiz which will leave no doubt as to which
Hogwarts House you belong (I’m a Ravenclaw, if you were curious).
As we consider book censorship and celebrate our freedom to read, why not
read or re-read the most challenged and best-selling series of all time?