Sacred Time and Ritualistic Behavior at Harry Potter Book Releases and Film Premieres

  • Author(s): Tyler Dukes
  • When: 2016-04
  • Where: The Phoenix Papers
  • The Harry Potter books and films, with their pervasive international appeal and domination of contemporary culture for more than a decade (1997-2011), generated a modern mythical age, constructed and sustained by one dominant myth—the wizarding world and its function in the Bildungsroman of Harry Potter. Followers of the “myth of Harry Potter,” or fans, as they are usually called, were immersed in a culture that valued quests, heroes, rituals, symbols, and their hermeneutic significance. Many fans read and re-read the Harry Potter books and/or watched and re-watched the Harry Potter films in search of a deeper, sacramental meaning. Identifying and interpreting profound sections of the texts were common practices for Harry Potter fans, and cultivating a fandom whose values aligned with the “dominant myth” was a top community priority. Harry Potter fans valued community and participation, and these tenets were the foundation for the most important “rituals” in the fandom: attending the “release events” for new texts, in the form of book releases or film premieres. These constituted the most participatory events during the peak of Harry Potter’s cultural stronghold, and attendance by the “true Harry Potter fan” was practically mandatory. This study will explore the special sacredness afforded to these events and the religious implications for Harry Potter fans in attendance.

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