Is Harry Potter Immortal?

untitledThe heroine of my novel has a thing for Harry Potter. So do a lot of us; we’re not ashamed.

That’s why I was a bit taken aback when one of my writing group members asked, when critiquing a chapter, whether I was “dating” my book with all the Harry Potter references. “Will future readers even know what you’re talking about?” she wondered.

My response: “Well, of course! Well, I should think so. Well, jeez. Well…”

I decided to try a little perspective, projecting myself

into the future. Kids now know all about the characters in Narnia and The Lord of the Rings, right? And those books were written long before I was born! (Not saying how long.)

But. Those books were made into movies within the last decade. The Harry Potter series was Hollywooded so fast, it’s already done. No new blockbusters will appear in thirty years to sweep new generations into Hogwarts Castle.

And Star Wars? Since there’s no original book involved, each generation can inherit its own new

What, no dementors? (courtesy Author Lynn Kelley, WANAcommons)

What, no dementors? (courtesy Author Lynn Kelley, WANAcommons)

crop of movies, to savor (young Luke Skywalker’s big baby blues!) and/or ridicule (Jar Jar Binks).

Which brings me back to my friend’s question:

Will kids still read or watch Harry Potter in 2057, 50 years after JK Rowling gave us The Deathly Hallows?

“Why WOULDN’T they?” my heroine would demand. “Who could ask for a better combination of imagination, adventure, good v. evil, coming-of-age, suspense and humor in a story?” I would add. “Not to mention all that free fake Latin you get to learn.”

A few clicks on the web shows we have plenty of company in this thought. For a taste, try

It contains recipes for Butterbeer, and tabs like “Alohamora Forum,” featuring such discussions as “Could a Patronus Be a Dementor?” 

And for the truly adventurous, steamy stories about Snape and Hermione. Seriously. There are some FANS out there.

But I couldn’t help noticing that, while the number of posts about Books One through Three totalled, 5,709, posts on Books Four through Seven totalled exactly…zero.

Maybe everyone was too busy reading about Snape and Hermione to bother checking in about the Deathly Hallows.Maybe my friend is right!

Of course, you can still weigh in on “What Would Your Animagus Be?” on Flikr:

But for how long???

Star Wars, meanwhile, is the gift that keeps on giving. Gotta love this tagline, “Your Daily Dose of Star Wars” on

So…doesn’t anyone need a daily dose of Potter?

I could just ask, “What do you think?” But I have a question that gets more to the heart of the matter, I think.

Who’s the most heroic hero: Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, or Frodo? And tell me exactly WHY you know you’re right.

I’m hoping your answers will tell me if Harry is truly immortal.

12 thoughts on “Is Harry Potter Immortal?

  1. Even though I love Harry, I think I have to go with Frodo on this one. Harry had a lot of personal issues at stake in his quest and he has since birth, practically. I like that Frodo is jut given a task and he does it. Sure he has a personal interest (if he fails they all go down), but it hasn’t been hammered into his head for six plus years that he is different and special. He’s an ordinary guy (hobbit!) who didn’t have anything to do with the ring before Bilbo left. Harry is an amazing hero, but Frodo seems a little more noble. But he also didn’t have to go through puberty while his ordeal was going on, either haha.

  2. Hah, Becky, I might have guessed I’d snag you with this one! And I might have predicted the layers of thoughtfulness in your answer. Hard to argue with Frodo’s selflessness. And he is a bit of a young ‘un too, though not pre-pubescent like Mr. Potter. That does add an interesting wrinkle. Wonder how old Luke is meant to be? 18, maybe?

  3. I read books where they reference things I don’t recognize. Spanish writers tend to do this ad nauseum. They reference obscure history I don’t know anything about. It doesn’t bother me so do what feels right for you.

  4. I have to go with Harry. Why? Because at the end, Frodo claims the ring for himself. It is Gollum’s greed (and sharp teeth) that end up saving Frodo. He didn’t have the huevos to do the right thing when push came to shove.

    Harry, on the other hand, had many opportunities to turn away, but he doesn’t. Plus, as Becky says, he was going through puberty at the time. Harry loses his Godfather, loses close friends, loses Dumbledore all to death – but he triumphs, and he does get his girl in the end. Frodo doesn’t lose anyone close to him, and he doesn’t even look at females his own size.

    In Frodo’s story, Sam is more the hero than Frodo. And I’m thinking, hell YEAH the Potter books will be around 50 years from now. I’ll be reading them to my grandchildren, and they’ll read them to THEIR children, and so on and so on.

    Great post!

  5. Harry has entered the public consciousness – he’ll always be immortal! Older siblings are passing the books to their younger ones, and parents who loved them as kids are waiting to pass them on. And those of us without kids feel like one at Harry Potter World, which is totally awesome and you should go, like right now.

    I have to agree on Frodo, though. Frodo had no special powers, no personal stake, and received no reward, but he made the sacrifice because it had to be done.

  6. Hi Gretchen 🙂 I think the Harry Potter books will be around for a long time. It’s a good story with characters we care about in struggles that keep getting worse. It hits all the right buttons. I think Lindsay is right, teenagers that loved the stories will share them with their children and keep Harry alive. My favourite hero is Hans Solo 😛

  7. I don’t know, maybe because it’s such a post my-generation sort of thing, I never read the Harry Potter Books, Gretchen. Never saw a single movie… and neither has Ron, my husband…maybe it’s because of the Bible’s admonition to put away childish things, and I have no children of my own, but I would have to go with Indiana Jones, Han Solo’s alter ego. I’m also wondering why no one has suggested a female character? A cross of Anne of Green Gables, Nancy Drew and Batgirl!

  8. A different thought: The Great Gatsby has been done how many times now? Romeo and Juliet? Pride and Prejudice? I’m not saying that Ms. Rowling’s talents are equal to classics like Austen’s, Fitzgerald’s or the Bard’s,but Tolkien wasn’t a great writer: he was a great storyteller, as was the anonymous author of Beowulf (whom the vast majority of high school youth in Brit or World Lit) have been exposed to… we don’t know who s(he) was, but we all know about Grendel, his mother and Beowulf. So maybe, if she is an iconic storyteller in the mode of Chaucer or Dickens, she will survive. In my high school experience as a World Languages and English teacher, Dickens may not be the best of the 19th Century novelists, but the mutations of Oliver Twist (book, movies,musicals,video game hero) lead me to believe that it will live forever. Bram Stoker’s Dracula will live forever.I think there are a million thrillers and comic pieces that have ld people “back to Drac”–or something Draculaic, like Interview with the Vampire. Who knows what the world will look like in 2057? They may need to re-do Harry Potter for a generation 50 years younger because of language issues, contemporary style, cultural norms. I like the idea of a girl having a “thing” as you put it for Wonder Woman! K-12 books with LGBT characters have hit the shelves/electronic transmission modes of libraries in more liberal urban/suburban neighborhoods. i think it would be nice to see a girl or a boy who had the same “thing” for a same-sex character. But, it is your book!

  9. Well, if we’re talking heroes in general, yeah, that discussion could (and should) go BIG. With the three that I proffered, I was thinking more narrowly of the adventure epic genre. It sus something right there that no female characters jump to mind there. Maybe that’s why I’m writing the trilogy I’m writing, which is about a girl who can fly. But she’s also a very normal girl, which I guess is why she relates more to Harry than to Wonder Woman. (Does WW even have a real name? All I can think of is the name of the actress.). Oh, and my protagonist isn’t LGBT, but her best friend’s mom is, which comes up (or out) as an issue in Book 2.

    But Jay, your comments are so wide-ranging and thoughtful…keep ’em coming!

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