By Alison Smith
When the history books look back on our generation, what will they name us? It’s possible that we’ll be thought of as the post-9/11 generation, or the generation who had to make the transition away from fossil fuels. But it’s also possible that our generation will be known for something much more lighthearted: Harry Potter.
The first Potter book was published in the US in 1998, and last movie, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II,” will be released on July 15, 2011. For this year’s seniors, Harry Potter brackets the time span between kindergarten and the summer after high school graduation.
“We are the Harry Potter generation. It’s one of the biggest things that’s happened to us,” said senior Avni Gupta.
Harry has grown up as today’s high-schoolers have grown up. While the first books were more childlike, the material became increasingly adult over time. This generation of high-schoolers has read about Harry’s adolescence while experiencing their own. As a group, we can relate to Harry. Whether it’s making friends at a new school, falling in love for the first time, or narrowly escaping being killed by Voldemort, all teenagers have all been there – more or less.
Harry Potter also provides a common bond for our generation. Senior Clark Cunningham put it simply:
“It’s the one thing we’ve all read,” he said.
As the media specialist at East, Julie Paladino has seen the effects of both the series of books and movies on today’s high-schoolers and the rest of the world.
“There’s a world before Harry Potter, and there’s a world after Harry Potter,” Paladino said. “It’s something that seems to reach both kids and adults.”
Anyone in need of more proof that we are in the midst of the Harry Potter generation needs only to look to the series’ impacts in popular culture. The hype over Harry premieres set the precedent for later hype over the Twilight series and other teenage fiction series. Quidditch is now a club sport in colleges and high schools across the country. In fact, East had a team last year. There’s even a Harry Potter theme park, called “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” in Orlando, Florida.
When the last movie is released this summer, the parade of Harry Potter book and movie premieres will finally come to an end.
“We’ve always been looking forward to the next one so it’s going to be weird when the last one’s over. I’ve been reading them for my entire life, really,” senior Michael Yang said.
Although Harry Potter will remain popular among future generations, the experience of growing up alongside Harry Potter is one that belongs only to today’s high-schoolers and college students.
“It will be different for future generations who don’t get to anticipate every book and movie,” sophomore Simone Leiro said. “The experience won’t be the same without the anticipation.”