What if Harry Potter was a Religion? How Crazy Can You Go To Prove Yourself to be a True Harry Fan!
Harry Potter has become a universal phenomenon ever since the first book in the series came out more than 20 years ago. Since 1997, books got translated into over sixty languages.
People around the world bought more than 450 million copies and made into eight successful movies grossing over 7 billion dollars. The popularity of the Harry Potter world was so great that it turned the Harry Potter cast into overnight stars!
Over the years, it has gained almost unmatched popularity and spun fandoms of different ages, languages, and nationalities. It has resulted in thousands of Harry Potter fanfictions. If you are a Potterhead, then you get about what I’m talking.
The extent of popularity has been so great. Fans and even scholars are wondering if Harry Potter can be a religion. And if you think that it is a childish conception, then you are wrong. Spanning for about 20 years and more, the incarnations of Potter fandom are more adult than not!
Harry Potter Fandom
The fandom of the Harry Potter fantasy world is massive and ever-growing. Potter-heads have grown, both in age and in number, over the past 20 years. At present, the popularity has gained momentum through cosplay.
Fandom conventions like PotterVerse, PotterCon take place often. There are even podcasts like Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. Several Harry Potter fanfictions made viral over the years.
Harry Potter and Spirituality
Even if we set aside the Harry Potter fanfictions, the books, and even the movies provide valuable insights on real lives and problems, particularly concerning the Millenials. The Harry Potter world is a complete sanctuary of everything real.
But with an other-worldly subtext that enables its devoted readers to find solace, especially in troubling real times. It depicts love, friendship, sorrow, death, and sin. They show it in such ways that not only reach the young mind but also stay with them as they grow up. As the characters grow and age, so does the readers.
This growth might pertain to Rowling’s capabilities of presenting a story so strong, vivid, and full of wisdom while maintaining an entirely fictional world. But Rowling’s Harry Potter world has somehow overwhelmed the mere fictional world bringing spiritual understanding to a different level.
Harry Potter as a Religion
What will it be like if Harry Potter becomes a global religion? It is a possibility because Harry potter was himself touched by the evil incarnate Lord Voldemort. Moreover, the famous Harry Potter scar signifies him to be some Messiah. Or maybe it’s much more than that.
The United States had tried to ban all the Harry Potter books along with the paraphernalia related to the Harry Potter world. They banned Harry Porter because it portrays wizardry. The situation has often led to legal troubles because witchcraft is a government-recognized religion in the US.
The collaboration of something related to wizardry like Harry Potter was set to violate the church-state separation. But, apart from these, there are several religious debates about the Harry Potter world.
The global phenomenon of Harry Potter cast light on other religious levels. A few years back, two religious scholars of Harvard University had set up a podcast. They called it Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. They addressed the spiritual connotation of the Harry Potter world.
They try to understand how we can use the influence that the Harry Potter world had cast. The transcendence of the Harry Potter world into a spiritual understanding is a completely organic attitude. It depends on the perspective of the individual reader.
Beliefs and Practices
One of the most prominent things when perceiving Harry Potter as a religion is that there are no specific mentions of the practiced religious ideals anywhere in the book. Although people consider that, the religion practiced in the Harry Potter world is Christianity, Rowling made sure that her books remained devoid of any direct religious elements.
Over the years, many scholars and fans have tried to draw parallels between Harry Potter and religious belief. Harry Potter fanfictions have undoubtedly included such elements as well.
Recently, a professor of religious studies at the University of Sydney has found several parallels drawn between the fictional Harry Potter world and many traditional religious systems. She claims that there are certain similarities between these two, those that can potentially name the Harry Potter fandom as an individual religion.
She finds that the Harry Potter fantasy world transcends the realm of the sacred is perceived in traditional religions. As in all these cases, the readers imagine an outer-world that overwhelms reality. The devoted readers also claim to look for hidden meanings in the texts that can present wisdom and insights—a trait most familiar with traditional religious followers and devotees.
The Harry Potter fandom, again, implies a community based on shared beliefs. A characteristic of religious communities. Moreover, the whole Harry Potter paraphernalia, including Harry Potter fanfictions, fandom conventions are all similar in nature of religious pilgrimage.
Perceiving a fictional world like the Harry Potter fantasy world and deriving significance from the Harry Potter scar is neither uncommon nor childish. We can find similar traits in Jediism or Tolkienism.
An important aspect that stands out here is the fact that the Harry Potter world has transcended to something more religious. Not through divine revelations, but entirely through the ardent devotion of its readers and fans. It is through dedication and symbolic understanding of the world that resulted in the spiritual connotation that the Harry Potter world has cast.
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