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World Falls into Harry Potter’s Magic Again

Posted July. 16, 2005 03:05,   


How Strong will Harry Potter’s Magic be this Time? -

The world is excited in expectance of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” the sixth in the Harry Potter series that is to go on sale at 12:01 a.m. English time (8:01 a.m. Korean time) on July 16. The magic is expected to be more powerful than ever, with people lining up in front of bookstores anxiously waiting for the book to go on sale and events taking place in various corners of the world.

The World Embraces the Magic -

The official celebration party will take place at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland in the presence of J K Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. When Rowling starts to read the first page of the new book at 12:01 local time, sales will start at once in various places around the world such as Great Britain, the U.S., Canada and Hong Kong.

In front the big screen at New York’s Times Square, a huge crowd waits for the book to hit the stands. In the U.S. alone, four million people are lined up around 5,000 bookstores to buy the book. The streets are filled with people dressed up as characters in the book, and various events are taking place, such as magic wand workshops and magic potion manufacturing demonstrations. The world is soaked in a festive atmosphere, with San Francisco designating a “Harry Potter Night” for July 15 and a hotel in Taipei, Taiwan preparing a “Harry Potter Special Menu.”

Only London, still mourning from the July 7 terror, is an exception. A large event that had been planned at King’s Cross Station was cancelled, and all are quietly waiting for the book to go on sale.

A Harry Potter Culture Phenomenon –

Since the recent revelation of the fact that Pope Benedict XVI criticized the series when he was a cardinal on the grounds that it “tempts young souls,” a witch hunt controversy is rising. One English elementary school that had planned a school festival with magician costumes was compelled to cancel the event when local residents complained it would “lead children into the world of evil.”

Even civil movement groups have pulled Harry Potter into their crusades. American environmental groups are holding a campaign for buying the Canadian edition that is made of 100 percent recycled paper, asserting, “This book that greatly influences children should also contribute to the conservation of the environment.” Also, a Braille edition for the blind is expected to go on sale.

In China, a “counterfeit heaven,” pirated editions are already causing trouble. Because of the fact that the pirated version of the fifth edition, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” came out within a month of its publication, formal translators and pirate translators are raging a translation speed war against each other this time.

The Harry Potter series has been translated into 62 languages and 270 million books have been sold so far. The world is focusing on how many will be sold this time, with 10.80 million first editions already having been printed in the U.S. alone. Rowling, who had been a poor writer, earned $1 billion (about one trillion won) with this series and became one of the richest individuals in Great Britain.

Jae-Young Kim redfoot@donga.com