It's been more than 12 years since Harry Potter and his friends first made their way to American shores, which means an entire generation has been born since the boy wizard first made his impact on the world. Author J.K. Rowling published the last volume of her series almost three years ago, and now the adaptation of that novel is making its way to the big screen in two parts.
But that means that when "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II" comes out on July 15, 2011, the adventures of Harry Potter are officially done. Though the series has made a lasting impact on literary fiction — in particular the young adult genre — and shown the success adapting book series into films can have in box-office revenues, "Harry Potter" could begin to fade into memory.
The folks at Universal Orlando are doing their best to stop that, and hope that their soon-to-be-opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter will bring the series a resurgence of popularity. The park is an almost literal re-creation of Hogwarts castle and Hogsmeade village as it is described in the books and seen on film, and art director Alan Gilmore is glad that a new generation will be able to view the world of Harry Potter as a place they can visit for themselves.
"I would hope it opens the franchise to a whole new audience, really, and it really introduces this whole magical world as a real experience," Gilmore explained. "People have had to imagine for themselves up till now, or take in the films, but now we've created a world where they are in the films. You now are part of the whole story, which is probably the best part of the whole experience for everybody."
Scholastic, the publishing company that picked up the "Harry Potter" book rights in the United States, is also looking at ways that it can revamp the series' image. Though Harry Potter's story is about as well known in the U.S. as that of Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars," Scholastic is arguing that "no matter what you think you know, the real magic of 'Harry Potter' lies within [the books]."
The new ad is all part of a campaign to get children and pre-teens to start reading "Harry Potter" the way the same age group did when the series first came out. Scholastic has redesigned their Web site to include quizzes to test "Potter" knowledge as well as a sweepstakes to give four lucky fans a chance to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Are you excited for the Wizarding World to open? What goodies from the "Harry Potter" world do you want to see in the park? Let us know in the comments!