Harry Potter: Remixed
The media in today’s society has people wondering, “Is anything even original anymore?” The Star Wars saga was based off of scenes from other movies and Twilight was based on vampires, of which there are plenty of other vampire films. Rappers drop the same beat, singers use the same templates for their songs, and investigative television shows such as Bones or CSI are created at every turn. One concept is linked to another, interconnecting another, and yet another. It is a never-ending cycle. One could argue that everything is a remix. Yet there is one idea that started off as an original but was later made into remixes. Harry Potter started as a unique concept, but was later morphed and mutated. It set fans into a remixing frenzy. Joanne Rowling did not just create a best-selling book, she created a whole new world that went viral. Due to the books, movies, video games, websites and attractions, Harry Potter is a prime example that everything is a remix.
Harry Potter is a series of seven books about a boy wizard. These books have turned into movies, video games, YouTube parodies, Saturday Night Live skits, theme parks, and much more. Harry Potter has taken over the world as if it were an epidemic. The books weren’t what started it all, however. The life of the author was the true inspiration.
Joanne Rowling’s life was not as glamorous as it is today. She was born in England and had a mother, father and sister. She always had a passion for writing, and some of the ideas for Harry Potter were drawn from her youth. She had a difficult childhood and was brought up in the suburbs just like Harry. She even had a cupboard under the stairs just as Harry lived in in the first novel. Her birthday, July 31st, is also Harry’s birthday. Later on in her life her family moved to a small village on the edge of the Forest of Dean. It was filled with creatures and beautiful landscape that was magical for any young child roaming its paths. She incorporated the forest into many parts of her books. These similarities are minor compared to all the tragic events she endured.
The two biggest influences on the Harry Potter series were her relationship with her father and the slow loss of her mother. Her whole life had been an up and down battle with her father. They never had a good relationship and she was always frightened of him. For this reason, Joanne created fatherly figures in Harry’s life, such as Dumbledore, Sirius Black and Hagrid, since she never had one of her own. Her mother was involved in her life, but not for too long.
Joanne’s mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when she was fifteen years old, and it took a toll on the whole family. Her mother had a steady decline in health and passed away. “I had been writing for six months before she died and, the weird thing is, the essential plot didn’t change after my mother died, but everything deepened and darkened,” Rowling said. “Harry was always going to lose his parents. And it was always going to be a quest really to avenge them, but to avenge everyone against this, this creature — this being who believes that he can make himself immortal by killing other people. So that’s, that that’s something I’d created before she died, but yes, it’s seeped into every part of the books. I think, in retrospect now I’ve finished I see just how much it informed everything” (A Day in the Life). The sadness of her mother’s death grew into a depression later on in her life.
The Dementor, which first appears in the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, was created to represent Joanne’s depression after she divorced her first husband. The book describes them as such: “Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places. They glory in decay and despair. They drain peace, hope and happiness out of the air around you. Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you.” Just reading that description can give a reader chills.
The Harry Potter books take place in a magical, somewhat scary and unrealistic place, but are still filled with all the trials and tribulations of real life. They bring up serious topics like love and family, trust, loyalty, integrity and the fight against evil. They are no longer just books, but rather a global phenomenon. The idea that Kirby Ferguson relayed in his video, “Everything’s a Remix” is very appropriate to Harry Potter. Ferguson’s definition of remixing is the act of combining or editing existing material to make something new. It originally had to do with music, but has since spread its wings to cover basically every creative product. Harry Potter is no exception.
The first novel was released in 1997. The books were the first product one could consider to be remixed. J. K Rowling’s life experiences were shaped into her books, and twisted around so they would capture the reader. Then, her books were being altered for the movies. Just four years after the first novel, the first movie was released. Several scenes in the book were changed to make the movies more thrilling, and some scenes were added that weren’t in the original manuscript. The title was changed from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The remixing of Harry Potter did not stop there.
Many a YouTube user has fed off of Harry Potter and the outcome has been some highly entertaining viral videos. Harry Potter Puppet Pals depict the characters as puppets. The most famous, The Mysterious Ticking Noise, has 145,799,671 views and provides the audience with a catchy tune. That video, which is a remix of Harry Potter, now has its own remixes. Another famous YouTube rendition is Harry Potter in 99 Seconds, where the plot of Harry Potter is told in just 99 seconds through song. Harry Potter- How it should have ended is a popular cartoon video that completely changes the whole plotline and uses crude humor to do so. Looking up Harry Potter in the YouTube search engine would get you pages upon pages of parodies, cartoons, interviews and much more. You might discover Saturday Night Live skits about Harry Potter that Daniel Radcliff, the actor for Harry in the films, performed in. Videos are not the only form of remixes that are out there, though.
Pottermore.com is an interactive site designed to let the user live through the books. If you are a member, you are put into a house at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and you live the life of a witch or wizard. This includes casting spells and making potions. The description on Pottermore.com states that it is, “a unique online experience from J.K. Rowling, built around the Harry Potter books. Pottermore is the place to explore more of the magical world of Harry Potter than ever before and to discover exclusive new content from J.K. Rowling.” Other interactive games are video games. Like Pottermore.com, the player lives vicariously through Harry Potter characters. Several games were conceptualized and released after the series proved worthy and are still available for Xbox, Nintendo, and other gaming consoles.
What is available on the shelves or on the Internet for Harry Potter is plentiful and never ending. J. K. Rowling never thought that the world would take to her books so well. Universal Studios added a new section to its theme park, called The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. YouTube shows Harry falling in love with Hermione in one video, and in love with Ron in another. Harry is seen singing parodies of Rebecca Black’s Friday and Macklemore’s Thrift Shop. Even Voldemort has his own Twitter account, saying things like “A psychopath is better than no path!” and, “#thingsihatemost muggles.” Harry Potter is well known for its books but equally known for all the other spin offs created. It is proof that everything is a remix. The magic never dies.
The Mysterious Ticking Noise- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx1XIm6q4r4
Harry Potter in 99 Seconds- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y57sYHIDP_Y
How it should have ended-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GweaS_8xcc