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The Harry Potter Magic Lives On

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The Harry Potter Magic Lives On Empty The Harry Potter Magic Lives On

Post by yvaine on 2009-10-26, 23:14

By: Patricia Manuelle S. Taboada
This article was originally published in Sun Star Cebu (Weekend Edition) on October 10, 2009.

Beejay Bautista wasn’t much of a reader of anything science fiction and fantasy, but all it took was one look at the trailer of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone back in 2001 for him to change his mind.

“I had a hard time imagining stories’ magical and seemingly out-of-this-world events,” the 27-year-old Java analyst shares. “After seeing the scenes for the Quidditch match in the teaser for the first movie, I started reading the first four books, which were the only ones in the series released as of that date.”

The tales of Harry Potter and his adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by author J.K. Rowling fascinated him so much that it only took a couple of weeks for him to finish all novels.

Quidditch refers to the most popular sport in the wizarding community, played by wizards and witches all over the world. Hogwarts is a boarding school where children go not only to learn and practice magic, but to control their abilities. And of course, Harry Potter, the central and the most pivotal character of Rowling’s 7-part series, is a wizard orphaned at the age of one by the evil Lord Voldemort.

Harry Potter has become very popular with children and adults alike, contrary to the common misconception that the books are only for kids. Frances Sangil, a professor of the De La Salle University in Manila and a fan of the series, questions whether the presence of teen characters automatically classifies a book as juvenile literature. “What about the presence of serious themes such as death and sacrifice and bullying and intolerance, and the sober way it is handled in the narrative?” she says.

The popularity of the series is a worldwide phenomenon, and the books have since expanded to film adaptations, merchandise, and an upcoming theme park , making it one of the most successful franchises of all time.

The Philippines is no exception to this phenomenon. In 2001, an online community called Hogwarts Philippines was established to bring together Filipino Harry Potter fans and create a venue for them to explore and share their love for the series. The members of the forum mostly interact through their message board. Apart from discussion on the books and the films, they also talk about other common interests such as literature, film, television and hobbies.

The activities of Hogwarts Philippines are not limited to their online portal. They have established a tie-up with a local bookstore for the launch of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which later went on to include the releases of Half-Blood Prince and the final book, Deathly Hallows. In 2006, the group had an activity with the orphans of the Jesus Loves the Children Foundation called Magic Works. Some of their members have been speakers at events such as the Manila International Book Fair in 2007, and they have also been facilitating book discussions, forums and storytelling as part of their outreach programs.

“I believe Hogwarts Philippines is more than just a fan group,” shares Marivic Aguilar, a senior specialist from the Department of Trade and Industry. “It is a partnership of enthusiasts who actually would like to do good for the community, to try to live up to the positive values embodied in the books.”

Hogwarts Philippines has over 1,000 registered members, most of which are coming from the Greater Manila Area. “We do have members from other cities and provinces,” says Meann Ortiz, a forum moderator. “But every time we have events, they get a little lonely. We want to meet Harry Potter fans from around the country!”

Bautista adds, “Hogwarts Philippines is a place where you can actually be special in a way. It’s an escape from your daily humdrum of school and office work. It’s a group to share your interest in anything Harry Potter, and it’s good to know that there’s so much in Harry’s universe that you will get to discover more by joining the group.”

“Just visit our forum and participate in our events.” Sangil quips. “We don’t bite, promise!”

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