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.: Can Harry Potter save the world :.

"(...) And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive
Comfort in morning joy in the noon day."
The Little Black Boy, William Blake

"He's a hero". "But he's just a schoolboy". "He has survived Voldemort's Avada Kedavra". "He's not that talented, though...". "Is he a... killer?"

Certainly, a lot of questions pop into our minds when it comes to the final ending of the series. The most obvious one (but still tricky) is: "Will Harry Potter be able to save the world?" For sure, few of us bet he won't. The problem is how he'll be able to do it. Anyway, we'll have the answers to all our inquiries this month (we hope so). However, in the meantime, I want to come up with another question: "Can Harry Potter save our world?" I mean, not just the wizarding and the muggle worlds in the series, but our real round planet. Can the books help the world be a better place to live in, even if through our hands?

Throughout this month - that is probably the happiest one of all the Harry Potter fans' lives (or not...) - I'll be trying to show you how the series can bring a bit of welfare and prosperity to the world, whether by giving people a good reading or by helping out the ones who are in need. This will be the "Harry Potter Around the World Special Edition", due to all the releases in this month. My intention is not to prove or convince you of anything. Yet, I want to show you all a different side of the books. A part that is hidden underneath people's fast-speed routine, and once that layer comes out, pure selflessness emerges. Perhaps it may unveil your altruism, too...

Books usually make people dive into a world full of fantasy and glee. The mixing of information and entertainment is one of the keys to improving our world. Mario Quintana, a Brazilian poet, once said that "books give us the unique double sensation of being alone along with someone else". When it comes to the Harry Potter series, this sensation is deeply enlarged. By sinking into the story, we're not just with Harry, the Weasleys, Hermione, and other characters that make us laugh, cry, and forget all about anything that passes by us for a couple of days; by doing it, we open the doors to a brand new world, where fans from all over the globe are connected, sharing their experiences and anxieties, creating a net of amusing amity, the so-called "Harry Potter mania". "That's a giant leap for mankind", paraphrasing Neil Armstrong.

The Harry Potter mania sure creates a halo of comfort and coziness around everyone who reads it. Once I saw an article stating that the London crime rate lessened quite a lot, in the first week after the last two books' releases (I can't find this article anywhere, sorry!). Obviously, it seems that people during the first days of the release prefer to stay at home reading their books, which soothes everyone around. This is not a surprise for the fans, though. The magic that is around the books helps people undermine their problems, and ease their pain for some time. It's like escaping from the "real world" to one that is pain- and duty-free.

One great example of it was depicted by Scholastic, the American Publishing House, that came up with a national essay contest on "How Harry Potter Changed My Life", a couple of years ago. The 10 winners wrote about how they had surmounted their difficulties with a little help from the books. Tyler Walton was one of them. He has leukemia, and the books have helped him get through its onerous treatment. Tyler's Dad used to read the books aloud for him, before he went to bed. According to the article, "[this moment] became a special time of bonding, a sacred connection to another world amid the needles, chemo drips, and stark hospital environs." He identified himself with Harry, a boy who "(...) was forced into situations he couldn't control, and had to face an enemy that he didn't know if he could beat."

Being one of the 10 winners of the contest allowed Tyler to meet our beloved J.K. Rowling! He and his mother were picked up by a limo, received a Gryffindor robe, and were featured on the Today Show. There, the boy talked to Rowling and got from her hands an autographed book. The author also whispered to him a secret about Fred and George Weasley that would happen in the fifth book, and sobbingly hugged Tyler's Mom. The last words of Tyler's essay have been materialized, then, shifting completely his life: "I know I will do fine and so will Harry Potter because good always wins against evil."

Not only have the books brought hope and joy, but they have also reawakened the will of reading on people. Many may disagree with me, but before the series the Literature world was much of an adult place, seldom attractive to teenagers and kids. Harry Potter has changed the whole concept of it. According to a Time magazine report, "kids with a fear of fat books and dyslexic kids who have never finished a book read Harry Potter not once or twice but a dozen times. Parents report reading levels jumping four grades in two years. They cannot quite believe this gift, that for an entire generation of children, the most powerful entertainment experience of their lives comes not on a screen or a monitor or a disc but on a page." Experts are dumbfounded by this "gift", and some even keep denying its efficiency (just like others keep denying that the man landed on the moon...). The truth is that Harry Potter is indeed bringing a lot of people to the amazing world of reading. And more: making them stay there, urging for more and more books to know of.

I'm not sure whether all these facts have made the world be a better place, but after the first Harry Potter book was released we definitely live in a different world. Each individual story shows that the magic surrounding the books is fictional just if we want it to be. And there's much more. Some days before you rush to the nearest movie theater, I'll tell you how this magic can turn into concrete acts. There are people around there that not just feel comfy by Harry's presence, or discover the beauty of reading; they actually do it! We'll see each other soon. Until then, try to figure it out: has Harry Potter saved your world?

See you soon.


Bruno Miquelino

bruno at thesnitch dot co dot uk Send me an e-mail!

P.S. Thanks Dixie for your support. ;)

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