For the past ten years, adults and children alike have been captivated by the adventures of the bespectacled wizard, watching him grow from a scrawny young boy, into a brave and courageous young man. Only those strange individuals who have not journeyed with Harry could disagree with me, that Jo Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, deserves the title of person of the year.J.K. Rowling’s story has been told many times—sometimes thrown into the clichéd “rags to riches” tale. But what J.K. Rowling did was unprecedented. Lord of the Rings enthusiasts may take offense, but no author has even captured the world like Rowling did. I read that every thirty seconds, someone somewhere is reading Harry Potter for the first time. Internet sites, such as The Leaky Cauldron (www.the-leaky-cauldron.org), Mugglenet (www.mugglenet.com), HPANA (www.hpana.com), and countless others, blossomed all over the world wide web, claiming thousands of devoted Harry Potter fans, myself included. The movies, whatever you think of them, have broken box office records. The books have been published in dozens of languages. This isn’t just a fad, it’s a cultural phenomenon. Whenever a new book was set to be published a ripple of excitement coursed through all of us. Countdowns on websites and widgets alike only fueled our anticipation of the next book. Midnight book releases weren’t just a necessity for the diehard fans, they were just…incredible.Have you ever heard of a book’s release being discussed on the news? Have you ever seen staunch security around the printing of a book? And even though spoilers leaked out onto the net, most fans went on an internet and media blackout, ensuring that they would not find out the end from someone else. And what an end it was.Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone in the US) was published in 1997. And after ten years, Harry’s final story, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was published on July 21, 2007 and quickly smashed the record of fastest selling book in history (which was Half-Blood Prince, published two years previously). Not only was the book a phenomenal hit, but it answered so many questions, and left us feeling not only satisfied, but glad that we made the adventure with Harry, Ron, and Hermione.Her world is rich, her writing spectacular, her characters so real. Did she change the world with communist or capitalist policies? No. Did she find the cure to a horrible disease, or invent a new fancy product? No. But she brought joy to countless millions of people for ten solid years. She gave us all something to talk about, to love, a connection with other Potterites, and a story we will all read to our children. Surely that must be worth something.To Harry Potter, the boy who lived, and to J.K. Rowling, who gave him to us.
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