Are you a Potterwallah?

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Though I have never been a fan of Harry, I have always been an ardent devotee of pop culture, so Potter-mania interests me for that reason. I’m marinating in it here, but I’m tickled by what’s going on there, and by there, I mean India.

By 7 am, Strand Book Stall, Fort, Mumbai, who opened their doors at 6.30 am sharp on July 21, had sold 2,000 copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Queues of excited Potterwallahs, who had been in line since 6 am or earlier, wound themselves around the block in this busy Mumbai business district, where Saturday is usually a very quiet day.
Mothers and daughters, teenagers, young working people, plenty of youngsters with their parents and lot of oldies. all stood in a queue calmly clutching receipts for copies booked up to three months earlier.
The paan wallahs and chai wallahs nearby had seen this phenomenon before. “Yes it is for that book,” they said sagely. “I don’t know what the book is about.” [Rediff]

That is almost exactly what I said to a stranger, earlier today! ;)

And you muggle-borns? Did you skip to the last page, like the rowdy teens in Mumbai did?

103 thoughts on “Are you a Potterwallah?

  1. I know there’s a lot of unnecessary derision of the Potter books because they are “children’s literature” (though so are the Narnia books and I see plenty of adults reading them). But the Potter books are so much more. Like Star Wars was supposed to be the modern fairy tales for the Gen-Xers, the Potter series is the new set of fairy tales for the modern age. They’re allegories, and stories that track the growth and life of one boy into an adult. As the boy has grown, so have the stories. They’ve gotten more complex, darker, and more meaningful. There is a whole generation of children that read Harry Potter and are coming to age now with him.

    The themes tackled in these books are not light subjects: death of family, coping with living by oneself in a strange and distant land, away from all that is familiar, the discovery of one’s power, coming to terms with bad decisions and personal faults, the gifts of friendship, and the power of sacrifice. To boot, these books raise the issues of equality for all, and carry a feminist undercurrent.

    They’re great books, and people should not let either the hype or the movies dissuade them from picking them up. Honestly, you have nothing to lose from exposing yourself to some more culture. The first two books only take about 3 days to read in total.

    Give them a try.

  2. Written by Patricia Wrede, weren’t they, Camille? …

    Yes, and I’ve read the C&K series and Mairelon, but I still think I like the Dealing with Dragons series best. I really can’t think of anyone better than Cimorene as a protagonist (I also like Morwen, but my primary allegiance is to Cimorene and Kazul). This is in part based in my general dislike of Victorian-era kids’ lit, which seems to be increasing for some reason. It’s not straight fantasy, but kind of “period fantasy” that’s borrowing a bit from the Harry Potter popularity, in my opinion.

    I love love love the Abhorsen/Old Kingdom series. It’s one of the darkest and best written “new” young adult series that’s been released in the last 10 years. This is probably one of the best parts about more recent lit — the increasing portrayal of “sheroes.” I don’t think all of Tamora Pierce’s works are the best thing ever when it comes to this, but I do like her most recent series (Trickster..) for both the originality and the the personality of her heroines.

  3. The first two books only take about 3 days to read in total.

    I think it’s been established that this is a sliding scale.