Harry James Potter is a fictional character and protagonist of a series of fantasy novels by J. K. Rowling the first of which was released in 1997. The books are primarily aimed at children, but have fans of all ages. There is a series of films based directly on the books, the first of which was released in 2001.

According to the author, the stories appeared in her head, fully formed, while she was on a train from Manchester to London. The sales from the books have, according to unsubstantiated rumours, made her richer than Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

Each book in the series chronicles one year in Harry's life at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he learns Magic. Seven books are planned, each gradually a little darker than its predecessor as Harry ages and his nemesis, Lord Voldemort, gains power.

The books have been compared to Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea, the novels of Diana Wynne Jones, and the works of Philip Pullman; they also fit into a British genre of novels about boarding school life, and the sections involving Potter's relatives the Dursleys remind some readers of Roald Dahl's works.

Certain aspects of the Harry Potter series have even entered the real world as products to be purchased by fans of the series. One example is Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans.

Several unpermitted derivative books have been written, either directly featuring Harry Potter, or using similarly named characters. J. K. Rowling and her publishers are currently making attempts to stop the distribution of these books.

Table of contents
1 Synopsis
2 Novels and films
3 Controversy
4 See also
5 Parodies of Harry Potter
6 Unauthorized books featuring Harry Potter
7 Fan Fiction
8 Trivia
9 Actors and Characters
10 External Links


According to the series Harry was born on July 31, 1980 to James Potter and his wife Lily, née Evans. Harry was orphaned on October 31, 1981, when the evil Lord Voldemort murdered his parents. His mother died trying to save him; her sacrificial love gave him some power to resist further attacks by Voldemort.

Harry was put under the supervision of his Muggle (non-magical person) relatives, namely his mother's sister Petunia and her husband Vernon Dursley. They lived in Little Whinging, a suburb of London, along with their spoiled son Dudley Dursley (born June 22, 1980). They carefully concealed from Harry any knowledge of his magicalal abilities, saying that his parents had been killed in a car crash. They also treated Harry with great disdain and cruelty, always being biased against him in favour of their own son, Dudley. A week before being eleven, Harry received a letter from a unknown identity, but his Uncle Vernon didn't let him read it (he knew it was from the Magic World). Several more letters appeared but even so, Vernon managed to keep them away from Harry (he even tried to "shake" the letters, renting a house in the middle of the sea). Finally, in the first hour of his eleventh birthday, a mysterious man, Hagrid, appeared in that hut and delivered the letter Harry should have read a week ago. The letter invited him to enroll at a magic school; much to his Uncle Vernon's displeasure.

This school is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, commonly abbreviated to "Hogwarts", and it is where most of the action in the novels takes place. It is a castle in the middle of a ring of mountains, usually reached by taking the Hogwarts Express from Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross station, London. It is in Scotland, according to a margin note in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Rowling's own comments in an interview.

His closest friends at Hogwarts were Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. He had a constant rivalry with and dislike for Draco Malfoy. Another constant of school life was the increasing threat of the wizard Lord Voldemort.

According to the rules above, the Philosopher's/Sorceror's Stone would be set between 1991 and 1992; Chamber of Secrets would be 1992 and 1993; Prisoner of Azkaban would be 1993 and 1994; Goblet of Fire would be 1994 and 1995; Order of the Phoenix would be 1995 and 1996. The next book is 1996 and 1997. The seventh and last book would cover 1997 to 1998, and Harry should've left the school in 1998, aged 17.

Novels and films

2001 also saw the publication of two books supposedly reproduced from copies held in the Hogwarts library (complete with notes scribbled in the margins by Harry Potter and friends). Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (written by J. K. Rowling) and Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp (also written by her), with proceeds going to Comic Relief.


The books have provoked various kinds of controversy, in which feelings run unusually high.

Accusations of promoting witchcraft

The American Library Association tracks the number of challenges (formal written complaints made to a library or school about a book's content or appropriateness) made to books annually. The Harry Potter series are among the most frequently challenged from 1998 to present. The complaints allege that the books have
occult or Satanic themes, are violent, and are anti-family.

Some Christian groups in the United States have denounced the series for promoting witchcraft or Satanism. "It contains some powerful and valuable lessons about love and courage and the ultimate victory of good over evil," said Paul Hetrick, spokesman for Focus on the Family, a national Christian-fundamentalist group based in Colorado Springs. "However, the positive messages are packaged in a medium — witchcraft — that is directly denounced in scripture."[1]. See Christian views on witchcraft.

Some groups have burned or attempted to burn (such burnings require permits in most locations) J.K. Rowling's books, often with other books deemed to contradict Biblical teachings. See: Harry Potter censorship, book burning.

In contrast, the Catholic Church gave the series its approval by saying that it is imbued with Christian morals and that the good versus evil plot is very clear. Christian Congregationalist minister John Killinger also argued that, rather than corrupting children's minds, the novel encourages young readers to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Accusations of plagiarism

Rowling was sued by Nancy Stouffer, writer of The Legend of Rah and the Muggles. Published in 1984, the book featured a protagonist named Larry Potter, and also included such characters as Lilly Potter, Larry's cousin. Stouffer alleged copyright infringement, but U.S. District Judge Allen G. Schwartz rejected Nancy Stouffer's claims that she was plagiarized and fined Stouffer $5050,000 for "submission of fraudulent documents" and "untruthful testimony." Stouffer was also required to pay a portion of the attorney's fees incurred by Rowling, her U.S. publisher Scholastic Press, and Warner Bros Films.

Comic book fans have noted that a comic book series first published in 1993 by DC Comics called The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman shares many similarities to Rowling's book. These include a dark haired young boy with glasses named Tim Hunter who discovers his own potential as the most powerful wizard of his age after being approached by magic wielding individuals, the first of whom gifts him with a pet owl. Rowling officially denies being aware of this series, and since AOL Time Warner is both the producer of the Harry Potter film adaptations and the owner of DC Comics, legal action is considered highly unlikely.

See also

Parodies of Harry Potter

  • Barry Trotter, by Michael Gerber - a series of Harry Potter parodies published in the United Kingdom.
  • Porri Gatter (Порри Гаттер), by Andreyi Zhvalevskiyi (Андрей Жвалевский) and Igor' Miyt'ko (Игорь Мытько) - Belarusian series of Harry Potter parodies.
  • Tanya Grotter (Таня Гроттер), by Dmitri Yemetz (Дмитрий Емец) - Russian series about a magical schoolgirl, described by the author, as "a sort of Russian answer to Harry Potter."
  • Welcome Back, Potter - a Saturday Night Live sketch combining Harry Potter and the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter.

Unauthorized books featuring Harry Potter

Fan Fiction

Fan fiction is basically stories written by fans. There are innumerable fan fiction stories on the internet about Harry Potter, and several sites dedicated to Harry Potter fan fiction (such as The Sugar Quill and FictionAlley).

When asked about Fan Fiction, J. K. Rowling said "I've read some of it. I find it very flattering that people love the characters that much." She generally supports fan fiction (except for ones that have sexual themes).

Many fan fiction stories "pair" different characters together in a romantic relationship, in order to show the author's support for that "ship" (aka relationship). The relationships fans support and write about run from completely canon-based (such as Lily/James or Arthur/Molly), through the realms of the quite possible (such as Ron/Hermione)- and there's even a significant fan base for pairings that, if the currently available evidence is weighed without preference or wild speculation thrown in, don't look like they have much of a chance of occurring in canon (such as homosexual relationships, incest and Harry/Hermione (Which the author confirmed are "very platonic friends")). For those curious as to the popular opinion of who Harry will eventually be with, an ongoing poll in Fictionalley currently stands at 45.96% believing it will be Ginny, 23.83% who believe that J.K. Rowling has been deceiving her audience with false statements and red herrings and it will be Hermione, 13.19% believing it will be Luna, and 8.94% maintaining that it will be nobody at all. When Rowling was asked if there would be any unusual pairings in the forthcoming books, she said, "I don't really want to say as it will ruin all the fan sites."

Fan-fiction and fan-cognition in general tend to have an interesting derivative view of themes and characters in the books. For example, the online fan crowd has much more sympathy for Draco Malfoy than the average fan.


Actors and Characters

External Links