By Blaine Hill
When J.K. Rowling wrote, “Every child in our world will know his name,” she had no idea how much of a reality that would become.
Since 1997, when the first book was published, the Harry Potter series has sold over 400 million copies, according to Scholastic.
“Everybody knows Harry Potter’s name, and everybody knows that he’s the boy who lived,” Elizabeth Pryor said.
In third grade, Pryor read her first Harry Potter book and years later she’s still a fan.
Pryor said she thinks the generation that grew up with Harry Potter is often more empathetic and accepting of differences. While she said she would love to attribute those characteristics to Harry Potter, because she knows that so many others grew up reading his story, it might not be the defining factor.
Rowling often emphasizes treating all individuals equally through the actions of the three main characters: Ron, Hermione and Harry.
“The story is kind of a prejudice tale about how there’s nothing wrong with coming from a family that doesn’t have magic or there’s nothing wrong with being someone who can’t do magic,” she said. “And, it kind of relates back to the real world where it’s like, ‘Hey I’m different than you, and it’s not necessarily better or worse. We do things differently, and I accept you either way.'”
The books have affected more than just people like Pryor, as ideas from Rowling’s books have started to appear in real life.
Dilan Freeman, a captain on the quidditch team at Texas Tech, said he loves playing the game because of his love for sports and for Harry Potter. The series was one of the first books he read on his own, and he re-reads them about once a year because he still enjoys them.
“There’s a lot of people out here who have never read the books — they just enjoy playing and then there are some who have read the books, but they’ve never played a sport in their lives,” Freeman said. “But, they think it’s a lot of fun and they get better at it.”
For Dane Codispoti, a junior mechanical engineering major at Texas Tech, the Harry Potter Series was also one of the first books he read on his own. He said he started out reading the series with his mother, but when the last few were published, he was reading them on his own.
He said since the books came out as his generation aged, he felt more attached to them.
“It helped us grow, but in an imaginative way,” Codispoti said.
For a few years, there was a lull in new Harry Potter related releases, which Pryor said was a frustrating time. With the release of “The Cursed Child” and the upcoming movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, she is looking forward to a new era of Harry Potter.
Whether it is a screen play or a prequel, she said she enjoys any new content related to her childhood, and adult, adventure.
“Because I’ve sort of grown up with it, I guess the story is kind of part of who I am as a person,” Pryor said. “I have definitely gotten a lot just from the friendship perspective.”
Hear more about Codispoti and Pryor’s Harry Potter love in this audio story.