Harry Potter and its unfavorable effects on our culture

When “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two” came to theaters in July, our culture experienced something incredibly unique.

People of all ages, disguised as their favorite characters, flocked to local theaters in anticipation of something they had been anxiously been waiting for: the conclusion to the massively successful, theatrical epic that is Harry Potter.

ASU is no exception to this chaos; according to The State Press, over 4,000 Harry Potter fans attended the movie’s premiere at the Tempe Marketplace.

There were so many in attendance that the night had to be planned in advance. In fact, most preparations took place well before the night of the premiere.

The revenue the movie generated certainly demonstrated to motion picture companies everywhere that large investments can lead to absolutely unimaginable returns.

Yet amid the Harry Potter hype and chaos, we have to ask ourselves: is this good for society?

Personally, I have never been a very big Harry Potter fan. I have seen the movies, and it is understandable why so many people enjoy the series and the depictions of the colorful characters on the big screen.

When I see grown men dressed as teenagers, however, I can’t help but wonder if something has gone terribly awry.

Of course there is nothing wrong with dressing like that; we are free to dress as we please as long as it doesn’t violate common decency.

I am more concerned about the thought process that goes along with such actions. It’s almost as if some are wishing for a different reality instead of embracing their own here on planet earth.

Don’t confuse your reality with some sort of fantasy. The last thing society needs is individuals who hinder their own development by clinging to a fairy tale.

The elaborate costumes are one thing, however; it is another to teach a class based on this fantastical reality. This is precisely what ASU did last semester. “Harry Potter Inside and Out,” an honors class, was made available to honors students interested in the Potter universe.

Upon discovering the class was available, my initial reactions were mixed. Yet after doing some thinking, having a Harry Potter class is definitely OK.

No, it’s more than OK; it’s great.

II  It’s no secret that the novels are thought provoking – the story is extremely colorful and the language can often speak volumes more than what is actually written.

So why not study the novels and understand the literature? Studying literature is not only healthy but encourages even more creativity. So bravo to ASU for doing that.

The series’ effect on society, however, beckons caution.

It is quite all right to escape the hardships and trials of this reality with a good book or movie. Harry Potter is not the first sensation that has captured our generation’s hearts and it won’t be the last.

Do us all a favor, though: live your life as a student of ASU, not Hogwarts.

 

Reach the columnist at spmccaul@asu.edu