Thursday, 7 July 2011

Farewell Harry Potter

Today is being called the day that Harry Potter 'ends'. The premiere is going on as I type, and my inner geek is very tempted to watch it live on YouTube! 

There are people who genuinely don't understand the hype that surrounds the franchise, but for people my age it is very obvious - it is a definitive end to our childhoods. I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone when I was seven years old, before it became a worldwide phenomenon. I remember sitting on the sofa with my dad, reading aloud as part of my homework, and him telling me I was pronouncing Hermione's name all wrong (wisdom I passed on to a teacher who read it to our class a year later, and made the same mistake as me.)

I then continued to grow up with him. 

My mum had to allocate time slots for my brother and I to share a new book on the day it came out. We'd be up at seven, waiting eagerly for the delivery man from Amazon to ring the doorbell... At school, after endless speculation about who was going to die and what was going to happen, it became a race to finish before your friends. My violin lessons went by without playing a single note as my violin teacher and I debated whether or not Snape was a good guy.

I wrote a short, fun article earlier this year, 'Harry Potter: A Decade in Numbers' which I intended to send to a magazine. The magazine went under and I never did find another market for it, so I've decided to post it here in celebration!

Want to know the oldest person to play a student, the number of words in Order of the Phoenix, or the number of named characters in the Harry Potter universe? You'll have to click below to see it, because I'm feeling playful :) 

1: Position of the series on the Top-100 list of most banned books between 2000 and 2009.
Reasons for this include 'anti-family' values, 'occult/Satanism'/'religious viewpoint', (meaning they don't like the magic,) and...'violence.' I'm sure Harry would also prefer it if the murderous dark wizard out to get him didn't resort to violence...

5: UK box office records broken by Deathly Hallows Part 1.
These include most sales in a single day, most sales generated in the first three days of opening, and the biggest Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Previous holders of the records were the James Bond film Quantum of Solace and The Goblet of Fire.
9: Position of The Philosopher's Stone on the list of highest earning box office hits worldwide.
Closely followed by The Deathly Hallows pt 1, The Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince. All the films have made it into the top 30.

9 - 12: Publishers who rejected Rowling's manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
J.K Rowling has never been specific about the number, saying it was 'plenty' but probably not as many as a dozen. Still, that's 'plenty' of publishing companies who missed out big time. 
14: Years since The Philosopher's Stone was first published.
Can it really be that long ago? Time works in a peculiar way in the world of books - Harry was born in 1980, which would have made him 27 by the time The Deathly Hallows was published.
37: The age of Shirley Henderson when she played Moaning Myrtle in The Chamber of Secrets - the oldest person to play a Hogwarts student. 
Not that you would have guessed it looking at her; being translucent really takes the years off.

66: Languages the series has been translated into.
This includes everything from different English dialects in Canada and Australia to Japanese, Russian, Urdu, Hebrew, Tibetan and, weirdly enough, Ancient Greek and Latin.

786: Named characters and creatures within the Harry Potter universe.
This means from the books, JKR's website, on chocolate frog cards, in interviews, and the ITV documentary 'J.K Rowling...A Year in the Life.'

257,045: Words in The Order of the Phoenix, the longest Harry Potter book.
That's a whopping 180,101 words longer than the first book, which is only 76,944. And yet the film of The Order of the Phoenix is 14 minutes shorter than The Philosopher's Stone...

11,000,000: Copies of The Deathly Hallows sold in the first 24 hours of it's release, making it the fastest selling book in history.
That meant midnight launch parties, bunking off school and reading until our eyes could no longer stay open. The book it beat to earn the title was...yep, Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince.

picture credit: found here

No comments:

Post a Comment