With the second and final part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows opening in theatres across the world, we are caught up, perhaps for the last time, in the whirligig of Potter mania. It’s been 14 years since the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, unleashed
JK Rowling’s boy wizard on the world. Seven novels and eight films later (whose staggered releases are said to be instances of a diabolical yet brilliant sense of timing), magic has invaded our vocabulary with as much force as merchandising.
It has spawned derivatives as varied as Harry Potter porn to Critical Perspectives on Harry Potter to the desi Hari Puttar and what have you, on what has essentially been the universal story of good’s triumph over evil, with an average, rather uncomplicated David triumphing over an apparently invincible Goliath.
Those who deride the Potterian success story forget that Harry’s magic spread beyond the unmistakably English setting on either side of the fictional platform nine and three quarters at King’s Cross station.
Children queuing up for a copy in a bookshop in India weren’t looking out for the heretical undertones of fighting evil with spells or the paganism in play in the novels, but were responding to the coming-of-age themes — friends, betrayal, love — that struck a common chord.
And surely, there is a place inside our less-tolerant-than-we-would-like-to believe heads (children, yes, but more importantly in adults too) where we wave magic wands, to ‘obliviate’ a painful memory, to ‘silencio’ the unabashed loudmouth or say ‘evanesco’ to vanish a bothersome pest.
Even as the actors who played Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley or Draco Malfoy move on with their Muggle-like pursuits in life, Potter fans would surely hope for Harry’s second coming, a resurrection from that perch of blissful domesticity where the novelist had left him in the end.
For in the end, Potter did manage to provide an escape from the dull and the dreary, and it was good while it lasted.