It is hard to find a person who has no idea who J.K. Rowling is. This woman has reshaped the world of the entire generation, while introducing her own alternative reality into their lives. Her series of Harry Potter books were sold around 400 million copies worldwide, with the first book of the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, belonging to the top 5 best-selling books in the world. This is not about the commercial success only. J.K. Rowling has become a symbol of the strong personality who has managed to grow from the poverty to a high social standing. Her social impact is tremendous not just because she helped to bring up a generation of children, but has also taught them to care.
The Harry Potter book series has changed the lives of the millennial generation in several ways. First of all, thanks to Rowling and her magical world, young people, book nerds and socially active cool kids alike, started to read. Moreover, they started anticipating a new book as much as they anticipated a new game or new episodes of their favorite show before. Children, hungry for the continuation of the story, lined up in front of the bookshops hours before, just to get their copy among the first ones. Those, who were not so frantic, were happy to get their Harry Potter chapter on their birthday.
The appeal of the books lies not in the alternative reality and a chance to escape there, but in the similarity of this magical world to the reality we live in. The author did not introduce anything completely different from what the UK children are used to, but she managed to reshape the familiar into something more understandable and more appealing. It was a traditional boarding school environment with the rivalry between the faculties, although spiced up with obscure disciplines, magical creatures, faculty ghosts, and a twisted plot. The reality part helped children to relate, and the magical-world part served to appeal.
The most important feature of the Harry Potter books is that it allowed children to grow up with the characters. The three classmates, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, were ordinary kids, like everyone else in the UK and beyond. They had their kids’ problems, and they learned to solve them on their own and with each other’s help. The characters assisted children in learning about such values as responsibility and personal participation, tolerance, courage, and others. By watching their favorite characters employing and promoting them, children all over the world internalized them as well.
Apart from creating a super successful book series that has changed the world of an entire generation, J.K. Rowling has been engaged in the philanthropic activities as well. Before writing the first Harry Potter book, she was involved with Amnesty International. After becoming successful, she supported Comic Relief that fights poverty across the world, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain, One Parent Families, and she also founded Lumos, a charity organization which helps disadvantaged children and children living in institutions all over the world. She has done a lot to address a variety of children’s and women’s issues, and to help fight social deprivation of children. J.K. Rowling has approached all of these issues in her books while raising awareness towards them. With her actions, as well as her words, she has taught the generation of millennials to care, accept the differences and help to overcome the challenges that different people might face.
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