by Marcus Sakey
Fourteen million. That's how many copies of the new Harry Potter were printed. Actually, Scholastic started at 12 million, but within ten days of the book's release went back for two million more.
Two million more.
It's become fashionable to roll your eyes at the series, but I can't go with that. I'm not a fan, either. I've read a couple of the books, and liked them fine. She's a wonderful fantasist and has a lovely touch with the characters. Overall, though, my hair remained forward and my socks stayed on.
Obviously, I'm in the minority. 14,000,000 copies.
Which has me wondering — and I really want to know — what is it about these books that so grabs people? The appeal transcends age, gender, and sophistication. People who read a book a year love 'em; people who read a book a week love 'em. People who don't read fantasy love 'em. People who hate children love 'em.
Is it the universe? The fantasy of empowerment? The fight against ultimate evil? The camaraderie of the characters? A wish for magic? An identification with the misfit kid in all of us? What has drawn so many people into this series, and held their attention through something like 6,000 pages?
I'd really like to know. Partly out of curiosity, and partly because I intend to let the answers inform my own writing. Whatever she's doing, it works, and it's worth learning from.
So those of you who love the series, can you explain what it is that moves you? And while we're at it, you eye-rollers out there, what bugs you?