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There's Something About Harry

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Harry Potter, boy wizard. Cultural phenom. This generation's Boy Wonder. The seventh and final installment about Harry's last year at Hogwart's–Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows–goes to press on July 21st of this year. Author J.K. Rowling made the announcement recently, but remained tight-lipped about any of the particulars.


This leads Harry's legions of fans to speculate whether Rowling's literary send-off foreshadows Harry's actual demise. In recent interviews, Rowling has hinted she may "kill off" one of the saga's leading characters. Now, with the release of the final book imminent, and its foreboding title, the author has divulged that she will "kill off" two characters. This has fan speculation at a fever pitch.
The last of the books in the boy wizard's story promises to be the biggest of them all. According to Reuters, pre-orders for the new book were 547% higher than for that of its predecessor, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which sold more than 1.5 million pre-order copies in July 2005.
Harry Potter's story has been a great ride for many. He turned Rowling into a billionaire within a decade. He turned millions of children into readers; notwithstanding the fact that each installment of Harry's story has filled a tome, and today's kids would rather play video games and watch TV.
Harry has also made fans of many adults around the world, who have anticipated his latest adventures as eagerly as the kids. To the chagrin of the British literary establishment who have assailed Ms. Rowling's books, refusing to describe them as real literature, the rest of the world has gobbled up every word of every book.
Fast Company blogger Lisa LaMotta observed in her post, End of Potter Frenzy May be Bad for Business, that Harry has made his many licensees a lot of money.
With the Harry Potter franchise coming to an end, except for the movie versions that will follow, what else will seize the public's imagination at a fever pitch like this? Will the wily Ms. Rowling decide to keep Harry alive and write about yet undreamed-of adventures in future? Remember that once Arthur Conan Doyle, weary of penning Sherlock Holmes's adventures, killed him off at the hands of the evil Moriarty, only to bring him back due to endless public demand? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, Hollywood industry gossip has it that Universal Studios Florida is planning on building a Harry Potter Theme Park. If this materializes, all the fans who can't get enough of Harry will be able to indulge the fantasy endlessly.
There's just something about Harry... .


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Ted Mininni is president of Design Force, Inc. (www.designforceinc.com), a leading brand-design consultancy to consumer product companies (phone: 856-810-2277). Ted is also a regular contributor to the MarketingProfs blog, the Daily Fix.

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  • by Elaine Fogel Thu May 3, 2007 via blog

    Ted, I agree with you that there's something about Harry. My son hates reading anything - except for Harry Potter books. I aniticpate the movies as much as the kids do, being a fan of quality children's fantasy. Though I read many kids lit during a term of children's literature in college, I admit that time is focused now on business activities, marketing journals, blogs and such, otherwise, I'd be engrossed in the Potter books, too. The only thing I disagree with is the longevity of Harry's popularity. I do think new fans will emerge with each new generation, but as with everything else in popular culture, the long 15 minutes of Harry's fame will wane. Rowling's books will still be purchased and read, or taken out of school and public libraries just as kids' classics before him.

  • by Ann Handley Thu May 3, 2007 via blog

    Interesting that the book is being released a week or so after the release of the fifth film. From a marketing perspective, is the "All Potter All the Time" approach a good one -- or would it be better to have more measured release dates?

  • by Ted Mininni Thu May 3, 2007 via blog

    Hi Elaine, Thank you for your insights. Don't know why, but I feel as though Harry won't be allowed to ride into the sunset. Public pressure may induce Ms. Rowling to keep Harry going. Even if that doesn't happen, to your point: he'll become another classic figure even if he loses pop cult status. Still: Harry's been a favorite for quite a while now. He just might have more staying power than the average figure in popular culture. Good point, Ann. I suspect the book will be coming out right after the next movie installment to keep whetting the public's appetite for more. I mean, how can we forget about Harry: he's everywhere!

  • by Ted Mininni Wed May 9, 2007 via blog

    News flash of interest: the major news organizations reported yesterday that J.K. Rowling's "final" installment of the Harry Potter series has now tallied advance sales of 1 million copies even though the book won't be released until the end of July! That has to be a record breaker for any book to date! Is this hotly anticipated, or what?

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