The Harry Potter Generation

Allison Smith

Students grew up on books, movies

I got into the Harry Potter phenomenon a little late. The first three books had already been published when I read the opening paragraph of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” By the end of it, I was convinced I was going to get a letter saying I had been accepted to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

I’ve grown up with Harry, Ron and Hermione. I was 11 when I read the first book, the same age first-year students begin Hogwarts.

With the release of the movie version of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” fans flocked to the University Plaza Theatre in Kent to see the movie at midnight.

Jerin McIntosh, junior fashion merchandising major, works at the theater and said the movie was sold out. It opened the movie on two screens, filling 460 seats, McIntosh said. She said she’s a big fan of Harry Potter, as well, and she pretty much grew up with the books.

“My teacher started reading the fourth book, the ‘Goblet of Fire’, and I’m like, ‘Wow these books are amazing, I need to figure out what’s happening,'” McIntosh said. “So, I borrowed the books from my friends, and after I read the first one, I was hooked.”

I was wowed by all of the brilliant costumes of the Harry Potter fans. Everywhere I looked there was Harry, Hagrid or Luna. I ran into a group of Kent State students who were dressed as a variety of characters.

“I started reading Harry Potter in third grade, and I read the first three books, and I’ve seen every movie here,” said Casey Dykes, a sophomore math major. “This is my third or fourth midnight showing.”

But Harry hasn’t only shaped fan’s lives, he’s also modeled the lives of people who haven’t had anything to do with him.

Ty Kellogg is a former Kent State student and remembers his first taste of how Harry Potter has influenced popular culture.

“When I worked for Black Squirrel Radio, one of my first interviews was with the band Madison East, and like any other music-related interview, the discussion of influences came up,” Kellogg said in an e-mail. “They rattled off a few local bands, some national bands, and out of nowhere mentioned Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.”

Kellogg said he has never been able to grasp why things find their way into pop culture, music and ultimately, news. He said he was amazed band members older than 25 were talking about Harry Potter and how the story’s simple theme of good versus evil influenced their music.

“I’m not entirely sure why everyone is so hooked on Harry Potter,” Kellogg said. “Maybe the series is just the right mix of fantasy, imagination, reality along with genuine fun and humor for all ages and demographics to appreciate it. I just happen to be one of those people that doesn’t get it no matter how often I see it or who talks about it.”

I’ve been wondering myself why Harry Potter is so addicting. It really is a perfect combination of a lot of things.

“I was obsessed,” McIntosh said. “I absolutely love the stories because it’s like you’re walking around with the characters.”

I think she said it right; you really feel like you are friends with the characters. It just feels so real.

I have yet to see the movie, I’ve heard it’s somewhat of a disappointment for those of us who have read the books. Even so, if it’s bad, it won’t ruin the books for me. I still feel like Harry, Ron and Hermione are my friends. And I’m still waiting for my letter…

Contact principal reporter Allison Smith at [email protected].