Living in la-la land
BUTTERBEAR, PLATFORM 9 3/4, Muggles, Dumbledore, Dobby, NEWTS, etc.—this list of all things Harry Potter-related could continue almost endlessly. It’s safe to say that every HP fact will always remain close to any Potter fanatic.
It’s a series, penned by English woman J.K. Rowling that had millions of Muggles spellbound, making the last instalment of the franchise the fastest-selling novel of all time. Spawning eight blockbuster films, countless Harry Potter memorabilia and merchandise, and even an amusement park, it’s hard to remember a time without the bespectacled, raven-haired, and lightning-scarred hero. The Harry Potter books may be over, but it seems fans were more than ready to graduate from Hogwarts and move on to the next big thing.
The Hunger Games arrived in cinemas this past weekend, but not before the trilogy sold millions in print. The movies were met with the type of fan frenzy that had rarely been seen before, likening it to other massively popular book-to-movie franchises, such as Twilight, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings. But what was it about the post-apocalyptic, gladiator-type book that resonated with audiences? What is it about Harry Potter, or even Twilight, that makes our generation dizzy with delight?
Well, it’s all about escape. I remember being a kid and dreaming of fairytales, far away lands, corrupt rulers, saviours, and all the other characters and necessary ingredients for a fantasy world.
This way of dealing with our own lives transforms as we grow older. Look at our society’s obsession with reality TV—our voyeurism and need to pry into other people’s lives is a way for us to take a break from our own.
Fantasy literature is a perfect example of how that need manifests. The genre is rich with the extraordinary—no boring book about the ho-hum life of a 30-something librarian, please—and the impossible, both things the human psyche craves.
Take The Hunger Games’ kick-ass protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, for example. The teen finds herself battling it out against other kids her age, in a kill-or-be-killed environment. Alongside the grotesque elements of the novel lies deeper, more complex issues of oppression, death, and Marxist elements—all sandwiched between an epic love triangle.
Sometimes our lives become complicated, stressful, and too much to face. Novels that immerese us in an undiscovered world of adventure becomes a way for anyone to call a time-out on their own troubles. It’s comforting to root for a character, who reminds you of yourself, watch them fall and stumble, and eventually succeed.
It’s simple why The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and any other massive book-to-movie franchise makes it big. We all like to escape and we all like to be entertained—and these franchises know how to make us hungry for more.