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No one thought 'Harry Potter' would be a successful franchise when it first debuted. Yet it's still one of the biggest franchises in media history. Why?

The Secret To Harry Potter’s Success: How It’s So Popular

There are very few movies based on books that have become so popular and so ingrained in our culture the way that Harry Potter has done. Even before the movies, there were fans who would wait overnight to buy the book as soon as it went on sale.

Then, the movies took off as soon as they were released and have not slowed down at all since then. In fact, the popularity has grown so much that the author, J.K. Rowling has become a billionaire.

But, what made it so popular and so quickly? How did it capture the imagination of the entire world? It spawned a Harry Potter quiz that people share on their social media and even has people dress as the characters for conventions and even memes. There’s several reasons that explain why Harry Potter is so popular.

No one thought 'Harry Potter' would be a successful franchise when it first debuted. Yet it's still one of the biggest franchises in media history. Why?

It hit the right age audience

The preteen market is huge and they are just becoming aware of the things that they like. As such, they actually have quite a bit of spending power. Either through their allowances or from parents that want to encourage reading so were happy to buy the books.

Their reading level was good enough for them to get immersed into the stories and appreciate the language used. And it also is an age where they recognize the characters in the sense that they know people that fit the personalities in the book.

People could recognize their peers from school and relatives that matched the characters in their book. They may have even seen themselves as one of the characters. This helped them immerse into this alternate reality. If the book were for younger kids, I doubt it would have gotten quite as popular as it was. 

No one thought 'Harry Potter' would be a successful franchise when it first debuted. Yet it's still one of the biggest franchises in media history. Why?

It was funny

J.K. Rowling hit all the right notes when it came to humor in the books. The humor wasn’t slapstick or juvenile even though it was written for children. She wrote with respect to the reader’s intelligence that they could understand more refined humor and didn’t need to descend into juvenile and immature jokes for the sake of a laugh.

This helped the reader identify with the characters and made them more real. They weren’t just caricatures of what an out of touch adult would think an adolescent is like.

No one thought 'Harry Potter' would be a successful franchise when it first debuted. Yet it's still one of the biggest franchises in media history. Why?

Adults enjoyed the stories too

Although they were written for kids, the books had a massive appeal with adults, too. The key factor in this is that the author didn’t pander. As I said, the characters seemed like real people and not stereotypical kids. This helped adults enjoy the stories, dialogue and adventures of the characters.

The writing was clever and the storytelling could draw people in and keep the pages turning. Once the movies came out, the appeal crossed over into pop culture history and has not looked back at all. With the additional merchandising, it created fanatics and not just fans. 

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