Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Harry Potter Addiction

Here's an essay I wrote about a year ago, about my Harry Potter addiction. The topic: What are some of the ‘modern addictions’? In what ways do they harm us? What are their saving graces?

             It’s funny how people always find something to be addicted to. In the Middle Ages people were addicted to chess. After that, when the printing press was invented, people were addicted to adventure stories. When television was invented, no one could let go of great TV shows, and now, video games play a big part. It seems that people go looking for addiction to release stress and forget about their routine schedules.

             What is the modern addiction, then? There are so many addictions that people can find today, and the most widely common one is the Internet as people can find “a sea of information” about subjects they’re interested in. But here I’d like to discuss a more unusual addiction which is nevertheless as strong. It’s the most loved fantasy of the 21st century.

             The Harry Potter series is a collection of seven books written by Joanne K. Rowling, about a young hero named Harry Potter who is a wizard and goes to wizarding school. When the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, received worldwide attention, Rowling moved on to write six other sequels to the book, and the series earned a worldwide fandom of millions. The series has been made into eight movies by Warner Brothers, starring Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter. The series is creating an endless row of new Harry Potter contents in the world, such as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park(WWoHP) in Orlando, Florida and an online Harry Potter experience called Pottermore: by J. K. Rowling.

             Many people who have read the Harry Potter books find the magical world of Harry Potter in their everyday lives. What makes the series stick to your mind is not the characters, not the plot, but the places. In the series, Harry goes to a wizarding school called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Fans find Hogwarts to be warm and happy. They love the Great Hall, where they give out extraordinary food in golden plates. They love the Quidditch field with its fresh, green grass and flying balls. They love the Common Room with its crackling fire and colorful tapestries. The magical places make people’s love for Harry Potter even greater because if what you like is the character, then all you can do is dressing up like the character. But if you like the places in a novel, you visit there in your dreams. You want to decorate your surroundings so that you could feel as if you’re living there. And because the setting is a school – which Rowling has made so real with her beautiful details – fans can enjoy an online experience in which they can become students of Hogwarts. Most of all, they want to visit the WWoHP, where they can buy magical items from wizarding shops and enter Hogwarts Castle. That’s why fans are showing so many symptoms of Harry Potter addiction.

             The Harry Potter addiction is known to occur mainly with young children, but that’s not true. Many students and even adults are immersed in the world of Harry Potter. Having all seven books in your home and having read them more than two times is a start. If you’re younger than eleven, you wait for your Hogwarts admission letter. Once you get addicted to Harry Potter, you begin wanting to buy lots of things in the Warner Brothers’ online shop, things like replica broomsticks, collectible hero wands, school robes, house scarves, parchment, and Hogwarts t-shirts. You download all eight movies in your laptop, and you download all the Harry Potter movie soundtracks. You join Pottermore, and your wish for your birthday is going to WWoHP. You go through Potter-related videos on YouTube, and soon you reach the stage of listening to Harry Potter soundtrack while you play Pottermore, reading a Potter book or watching a Potter movie whenever you get tired from an array of continued dueling. If that gets tiring (although it most certainly won’t), you scroll through the Warner Brothers online shop and dream of all these items being delivered to you in a huge Hogwarts trunk. You subscribe to a Pottermore-related blog to get some tips on your potions and duels, or if you’re a bigger fan you might have a blog yourself. You read all the comments, being ready to invest thirty minutes of your living time on them, and post one of yours when you’re finished. You like Facebook pages of all the Harry Potter characters, and join a Facebook group of Pottermore players. After your busiest time of the year, such as final exams, you spend an entire day devoted to Harry Potter. In the movie, Ron arrives to Hogwarts Castle in a flying car with Harry and tells him “Welcome home,” and you automatically respond by saying “Thank you.” You would like to have an owl for your pet, and your nickname, or maybe your English name itself, is the name of a character in Harry Potter.

             And I’m doing all of this. It is fun.

             The harms of Harry Potter addiction exists, of course. First of all, you lose a lot of your time. Second, you will be teased by your friends for being so unrealistic. They are simply amazed by how much you can love something that doesn’t exist.
The third harm, which is the most detrimental, is that the addiction pains you from time to time because Hogwarts Castle and Harry’s magical world is part of a fantasy and doesn’t exist in the real world. If you’re addicted to existing things like an idol stars, at least you can go to their concert and see them, although it might be from a long distance. Fans of Harry Potter are sometimes hurt because deep down in their hearts, they know that it’s not real. They can’t stop thinking that they’re nothing but a stupid muggle(a muggle is a word in the series used to indicate a non-magical person).

As Rowling tells us through Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” If you dream too much about nonexistent things, you might easily go crazy. But if you moderate your fandom and try hard in real life to make it as happy as your Hogwarts life, you can experience the saving grace of being a Potterhead: the ability to return to your childhood, into the world of dreams and hope, where the magical home of Hogwarts Castle awaits. 

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