First the books, then the movies. The Harry Potter series has ended on a stratospheric note, giving JK Rowling and Warner Brothers the kind of record that will be hard to beat in the years ahead. Now that the last book, milked into 2 movies has finally run its course, there is sadness that the wizard will no longer cast a spell. Potter defined the ultimate escape. The wonder of Potter is not that there was a School of Magic that all ‘Muggles‘ yearned to belong to. It’s that one solitary Muggle – Rowling, held the whole world in her tight-fisted grasp and took them along on a journey that lasted 14 long years. Once they entered her world, they never left. It was like mass hypnosis on a scale never before experienced. When the last of the series was published, the security and the logistics were akin to transporting bars of gold – and they were for the publishing world that had never seen anything like it before. This is the global Harry Potter generation. This is the defining image, much like ‘Woodstock‘ was of music and rebellion was in the 60s.
I am a Muggle and will always remain one. I read the first of the books with interest, but I wasn’t a convert. The fantasy of the Potter world was never the window I wanted to look through for long. I was eternally grateful to Rowling that my kids who were addicted to TV devoured every one of the titles and the movies with avid interest – though it did not result in sampling any other authors. It’s as if they wanted to attend the Potter party and nothing else. Rowling knew her world – and her web was woven with finesse and exquisite charm. There aren’t too many authors who define the world their characters inhabit with such depth and intimacy. Or who grow to be superstars having fan sites devoted entirely to them
Rowling retained tight control over the films from her books and all the merchandise that went with it. She has proved to be an extremely shrewd negotiator, getting a slice out of every bit of merchandise and extension of the Harry Potter brand. Along with becoming the highest-paid author in the world, she also has ensured that every brand extension is at her bidding and her supervision. With the launch of Pottermore, timed perfectly to keep the franchise going for much longer is an interactive environment where her e-books will be sold – without going through Amazon or any of the other ebook stores. The truth is that the real brand is Rowling – but she’s put a global mask on it in the form of Harry Potter. And when she waves her wand, the whole world stays magically smitten.