Why is Harry Potter still so popular in the Muggles world?

Harry Potter with Hedwig -''Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone''

Few fantasy fiction books have the ability to truly spellbind readers' hearts and imaginations. Harry Potter stands out among them. For once, the term "phenomenon" is an understatement.

The magical world of Harry Potter was created by Joanne Rowling, better known by her pen name, JK Rowling, who has succeeded in casting a powerful spell that enchanted readers and viewers worldwide. For decades, “Harry Potter,” both the books and the movies, have managed to hold the top place. So, the real question is: what sets Harry Potter apart from other movies and books, and why does it still amaze non-magical people (also known as Muggles)?

Fans raise their wands in remembrance of Michael Gambon

Harry Potter, an orphaned boy brought up by his unkind Muggle aunt and uncle, learns on his eleventh birthday that he is actually a wizard and that he is the son of two powerful wizards who were killed by the dark evil wizard, Lord Voldemort. Harry had escaped from the same attack with nothing more than a scar on his forehead when Voldemort’s curse, instead of killing him, rebounded upon its originator. Everyone thought Voldemort was dead, but it turns out he wasn’t. He came back multiple times but was defeated by Harry time and time again. The reason Voldemort wasn’t dead is that he split his soul into seven parts and placed them in different objects, which had to be destroyed to kill him.

Throughout the series, Harry faces various challenges with his friends whom he met at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He also fights against the dark lord and loses many loved ones while doing so. The story explores the magic of friendships, bravery, and pure love.

Harry receives his Hogwarts letters, ''Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone''

The first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was published in 1997, followed by six other best-selling books: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007). The books have been translated into 85 languages, won numerous awards, and sold more than 600 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling book series in history.

In 2001, JK Rowling and Warner Bros. brought the world of Harry Potter to life with eight films based on the author’s blockbuster books, starring Daniel Radcliffe as Harry James Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Bilius Weasley, and Emma Watson as Hermione Jean Granger. However, many people argue that the movies were nowhere near perfect adaptations of the books. Many details from the books were missing in the movies, and fans of the books were visibly upset by that. Nevertheless, the movies managed to be one of the most successful series in the history of film, earning a substantial profit at the box office.

Harry Potter with his parents James Potter and Lilly Potter

The Harry Potter movie franchise has been enormously profitable since the first film was released. It is one of the most rewatched movie franchises globally. The places where the movies were filmed have become tourist attractions, attracting visitors from all over the world to experience where all the magic began.

Even after the Harry Potter franchise ended, the love for it never faded. In the wizarding world, it is a tradition to raise wands in the air as a mark of respect and tribute when a wizard dies. When Michael Gambon, who played the role of Hogwarts Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, died in 2023, fans of the series gathered and remembered him by raising their wands. Similar gatherings took place in 2022 and 2016 when actors Robbie Coltrane and Alan Rickman, who played the roles of Rubeus Hagrid and Severus Snape respectively, passed away.

Harry and the Knight Bus - ''Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban''

In 2016, a team of arachnologists paid tribute to the beloved Harry Potter series by naming a spider “Eriovixia gryffindori” after the sorting hat’s original owner and the co-founder of Hogwarts, Godric Gryffindor, as the spider bore a striking resemblance to the sorting hat, a hat that determines which of the four school Houses was the best fit for each new student. These four Houses were Gryffindor,Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. In 2017, a Harry Potter fan turned entomologist named a wasp “Lusius malfoyi” after the fictional character Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter series. ‘’Lycosa aragogi’’ is another species of spider named after Aragog, the enormous spider that appears in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In 2020, a snake was named ‘Trimeresurus salazar’ after the fictional character Salazar Slytherin in the Harry Potter books.

Quidditch is a wizarding sport played on flying broomsticks, the most popular and well-known game among wizards and witches, according to Harry Potter. It is the wizarding equivalent of Muggles' passion for football. The game is played by two teams with seven members each (3 chasers, 2 beaters, 1 keeper, and 1 seeker). In 2005, Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, United States, inspired by the fictional game, made it into a real game. Quidditch is now played in over 40 countries by 25,000 players.

Whether the wizarding actually exists or not, we still eagerly await a Hogwarts letter to inform us that we do not belong in this world and that we are actually wizards. We continue to buy fake wands and cast spells, hoping one of them will work
The Sorting Hat - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

In April 2023, Warner Bros. Discovery confirmed a new era for Harry Potter fans. The company announced a TV series, with each season focusing on one book in the Harry Potter series, consisting of seven novels. The series is expected to air in 2026.

Harry, Hermione and Ron in ''Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1)'

One of the best things about the wizarding world and Harry Potter is their loyal fans, also known as Potterheads. The last movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2), was released in 2011, yet the fans have managed to keep the hype alive even in 2024. After becoming fans of the series, many of them believe that they are also part of the enchanting, bewitching magical world. Grown-ups who watched or read Harry Potter as children still love it as much as they did before, proving that Harry Potter books are that rare thing—a series of stories adored by parents and children alike.

Whether the wizarding actually exists or not, we still eagerly await a Hogwarts letter to inform us that we do not belong in this world and that we are actually wizards. We continue to buy fake wands and cast spells, hoping one of them will work. The hidden but magical world of Harry Potter is not much different from our own world. It is shown that wizards are living with Muggles, or “non-magic folks,” and they are unable to realize that.

After winning Quidditch - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

It leads to thinking further about whether, in reality, such a world actually exists. What makes it so successful is how it combines action, fantasy, friendship, and, of course, magic, along with exceptional storytelling, compelling characters, and timeless themes.

Nufaiysa M Rahman is an 10th grader at Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, Dhaka