Why is Harry Potter so popular? As a hardcore Potter fan myself, I have recently started to wonder why the series has become so huge. Over 400 million copies have been sold worldwide, and the New York Times created a children’s bestseller list because the Potter books had a monopoly on the top spots. The series itself, plus movies and video games and many other products, have caused the author, J.K. Rowling, to become the first billionaire author. But the question remains: why is Harry Potter so popular?
I don’t think it is the writing. To me, Rowlings’s writing seems merely okay. Sure, her writing flows together and all that, and the plot is quite interesting. But the way Rowling writes is definitely not the reason I waited desperately for a letter to Hogwarts, knowing that there had to be some mistake that I didn’t get one. Nor is it the characters. Yes, they are believable; yes, they are sometimes interesting. But at the same time, the main trio just seem kind of boring. Harry never lets go of his hero complex, which in my opinion leads to some very stupid decisions, and Hermione is always the smartest of the smart. Ron is the only of the main three characters that seems at all different in the series; his hate of being the loyal sidekick plays out to create some really believable subplots.
But I think the main reason that the Harry Potter series is so popular is the world that it is set in. The world that is just underneath the surface of our boring, mundane world, the world that is filled to the brim with magic, intrigue, and crazy awesome monsters. I think this is why people read: to get distracted from a world that could be much better, and Rowling serves up a world that is so close to ours, but so different, too. And I think that is the world that people want to travel to.