Appreciating Potter

It’s nearly here!

-The final installment of the massive Harry Potter movie franchise opens at midnight on Friday, July 15. The excitement has been building for weeks and the queues will be forming soon.

The newspaper chain Metro, which publishes in major cities around the U.S. as well as abroad, took a moment to reassess the frenzy with Wheaton English Professor Michael Drout, a scholar of Anglo-Saxon and Medieval literature as well as an expert on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and other fantasy writers.

“What makes people go ga-ga over Harry Potter?” the newspaper asked, perhaps expecting Professor Drout to talk about author J.K. Rowling’s marketing juggernaut. Instead, he praised the books’ author.

“Rowling doesn’t get enough credit for being a decent writer,” the professor and chair of the English Department told the newspaper.

Drout’s appreciation for Rowling’s fictional wizarding world is not so surprising, given that he has regularly taught classes on fantasy literature.

For many of my students, Harry Potter has been their reading childhood. Things like that happened with the “Star Wars” movies, but it has never happened with books. And despite the crassly commercial marketing, Harry Potter has been a force for good. He has gotten young people reading and thinking about good and evil.

And he knows his audience. This year’s college seniors would have been eight or nine years old when the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was published in the U.S.

Read the whole story in New York Metro. »