Deccaboo (deccaboo) wrote in hp_essays,
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Media-Hype and Cashing In within the Wizarding World

Media-Hype and Cashing In within the Wizarding World


Throughout each novel in the Harry Potter series, we are repeatedly told that Harry himself is a one-of-a-kind. He's the Boy-Who-Lived, the messianic child who defeated You-Know-Who. These days Harry has been dubbed The Chosen One. These names and titles have been spread throughout the Wizarding world and Harry appears to be very famous around the globe - in Goblet of Fire, the Bulgarian Minister for Magic certainly knew exactly who Harry was.

Why is it then, when Harry is splashed all over the papers, has been famous for his whole life, does incredible things year after year…he hasn't had an unauthorised biography published? The papers are perfectly happy to cash in on Harry's fame, Gilderoy Lockhart knew that a photograph of the two of them together would be fantastic publicity for Flourish and Blotts, even two successive Ministers for Magic, Fudge and Scrimgeour, recognised Harry's pulling power - if people believed Harry supported the Ministry, they would offer their support too (Goblet of Fire; Chamber of Secrets; Order of the Phoenix; Half-Blood Prince).

The only example of mass cashing-in is Gilderoy Lockhart, who firmly believes in his own hype and brings out new 'must-have' books in rapid succession which many witches (and less than impressed school children) then have to buy. As far as celebrity goes in the Wizarding world, on the face of it, Lockhart appears to be more of one than Harry. If Harry had been the Boy-Who-Lived in our world (laying aside the magic for now which certainly would cause a stir), there would be at least a dozen unauthorised books out about him, a good few documentaries on the TV about him, he would have to open a few nursing homes and supermarkets and there would be, most likely of all, a charity single.

We've seen through Lockhart and the effects of the Daily Prophet on Harry's dormitory mates (Chamber of Secrets; Goblet of Fire) that mass hype does affect the Wizarding world. It even affects Molly Weasley, who seems to be one of the most level-headed of her clan.

Perhaps that between the time Harry was left on the Dursley's doorstep and the time he came to Hogwarts, the market was flooded with unofficial biographies of Lily and James Potter and the subject was exhausted? But then, why would the 'Harry-Phenomenon' take off so rapidly in the papers if the subject was exhausted? Also, if there were biogs of Lily and James out there, Harry would have been able to get his hands on a couple…and probably turned into Capslock!Harry at the exploitation of his parents' sacrifice.

In RL, we can see that the death of Princess Diana has intensified the media scrutiny around her sons. The papers want to know exactly how they feel on the anniversary of her death, they want pictures of them out with their girlfriends, they want pictures of them out with their family. There is clearly a market for this stuff, people are interested, people will buy papers that discuss Diana's death and the aftermath e.g. the controversy over the circumstances of her death. In the Wizarding world, we haven't seen that until Harry has been in Hogwarts for just over three years. Maybe this is what Dumbledore wanted by sending Harry to live with the Dursleys, he wanted to prevent Harry from experiencing media attention until he was old enough to deal with it himself. Still though, on the anniversary of Voldemort's downfall, we haven't seen Harry being targeted by the papers for his reaction. When Harry goes into Hogsmeade with his friends there are no long lenses in the bushes snapping his every move. He is relatively safe from the glare of the media.

If there is a market for Lockhart's anti-dark arts books, why hasn't Harry been approached with a book deal? The closest Harry comes to recounting his actual story is when Rita Skeeter questions all the Triwizard Champions in the fourth book (ultimately coming up with her own story in the process), but by then Harry has prevented Voldemort's return twice, destroyed the Beast of Slytherin and was heavily involved in the capture and later escape of the convict Sirius Black. Clearly those stories are book-worthy because we've all read about them!

Perhaps because of what Harry has been through, his youth and his status as the Boy-Who-Lived he's seen as above documenting? This approach was taken towards Royalty and movie stars way back when. If something damning had been discovered, Fleet Street felt honour-bound to keep a lid on the gossip and protect reputations. Yes, they wanted to sell papers, but papers were sold without resorting to gossip. By Goblet of Fire and then Order of the Phoenix, however, whatever honour the Daily Prophet accorded to Harry's actions was clearly not as important as selling papers and staying on the right side of the Ministry.

It puzzles me greatly that there have been no cash-ins on Harry's name and fame throughout his life. If, indeed, Harry is so famous that everyone knows his name and his scar…why wouldn't someone write a book about him and a book about his parents? Harry Potter paraphernalia would be, I would have thought, a pretty lucrative business to go into, judging by his lifelong fame, yet, the Wizarding world seems unchanged by his actions. There isn't an army of boys called 'Harry' born within the years 1980-1985 coming up to Hogwarts, yet in post-war Britain there were loads of boys named Winston! If Harry is so famous in the Wizarding world, all people must do is discuss that fateful night between themselves, because there are no books on the subject and no programmes on the Wizarding Wireless Network about him! As far as we've seen, there wasn't even a Daily Prophet Harry Potter Coming to Hogwarts Commemorative Edition the way there are Commemorative Editions for historical milestones in our world; the Queen's 80th Birthday, 60th Anniversary of VE Day, Royal Weddings etc.

Any and all comments, gratefully received!
Tags: wizarding world:economy, wizarding world:general, wizarding world:society
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