Week 1: The Impact of the Media

Harry Potter – those two words create an infinite number of different images, emotions, thoughts, views, and memories in the hearts of millions around the globe. For one girl, it would change her life. That girl is me.

I’ve read the books five times over, and I feel a deep (although one way) connection with the characters, both pro and antagonists. I grew up reading; it was something that I loved more than anything. I enjoyed meeting new fictitious characters, traveling to new places, and learning new things about myself.

I believe that is one reason that the Harry Potter series has affected me so much: Every time I re-read it, I discover new things. Sometimes, it’s things about the plot or a character that I never noticed. Sometimes, I gain a new appreciation for a place or location mentioned in the book. Every time, I gain a little more insight into who I am as a person. When you read, you analyze the characters, their motives, their backgrounds, etc. Whether you agree with their actions or words depends on your own identity and beliefs. You take this amazing journey with this character and learn to apply their experiences to your own life, even if you haven’t been in the same or similar situation. I suppose you could say it’s a way to live and learn vicariously.

I feel as though some might not consider books media, as compared to television shows, advertisements, newspapers, etc. However, Harry Potter has extended well beyond its book form. There are websites, bands, newspaper/magazine articles, stores, and even a theme park dedicated to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In my opinion, Harry Potter has permeated through every single form of media. It’s been through this media that I’ve been able to connect with other Potterheads. I know there are many, many others who share the same view of Harry Potter as I have, and many of them have brought up points (similar to the ones I discussed before) that I never had thought of. The variety of media provides an even wider gateway into self discovery for myself and every other person who chooses to expose themselves to JK Rowling’s masterpiece and it’s media support. Who do I want to be? How do I want to act? Harry really has integrity; maybe that means I can make it through my struggles as well. Draco has emotions; maybe antagonists aren’t all bad. Discussing these characters and their dynamics question ethics, beliefs, and world views when you chose to look farther into them.

In chapter one, media literacy is discussed. One point that stuck out to me while reading was the multiple points of access paragraphs. Harry Potter, looking at only the books and/or movies, can be interpreted as simply a means for entertainment with no underlying messages or themes. However, the media brings to life new perspectives. If a person has media literacy, they should be able to delve into deeper meanings simply from the books or movies, but multiple media provides so much more for both the literate and illiterate.

Jasmine Dierenfield