THE MARKETING OF HARRY POTTER

Indeed it is the road to wealth which is why Potters 8,9,10 and 11 are very likely being brewed up as we speak, in dark places, by dark minds that never see the light of day. Under the streets of London, far, far away. What a prolific writer that Rowling is! Just doesn’t want to do anything but write, write, write… eh? Ask your mum and dad if you don’t believe us.

My, you could swear there are at least a half-dozen hacks working on the stuff couldn’t you?: all trying to outsmart each other with their profundities, all lamenting the fact that they can never come out and say things like; “Snape? My idea, old bean. Leafing through a Dahl book one day and he just popped into my head, fully formed. Dementors? Popped into my head fully formed too. Bad night on the tiles… you don’t know what it’s like until you’ve been through it. Am gonna pack in the booze one of these days! ” There are none so loyal as those whose loyalties have been bought.

Without boring you to death and going into immense detail about the marketing of Harry Potter let us begin with a few simple observations, for your benefit not ours, as we all know the whole score. You will too if you read on. Firstly, the genres and conventions that make up Potter are commonplace as world famous children’s fiction expert Prof. Jack Zipes has pointed out. Jack, like us of course, is probably wasting his time but he does try.

On a single shelf in any kids’ library you will find them all, one form or another: witches, gremlins, goblins, warlocks, demons, vampires’ et al. Barry Cunningham who used to be marketing manager for Penguin’s fiction – the children’s Puffin wing, knows them all inside and out.

Indeed Barry, if left to himself long enough could come up with an idea like the “Dementors”, for instance, between drinks. He was Rowling’s editor on her first book and we suspect her first three books at least. You have to admit, they do appear rather quickly. Boom, boom, boom.

Have to establish the market you see, as quickly as possible, then they could time over the rest. Make them nice and fat too, so folks don’t get to thinking they are not the real deal. Even he, Bloomsbury’s man, freely admits, that once you have kids hooked into a story it is game, set and Quidditch.

You can tell them then whatever you want and like parrots they will mimic it and make it their own. The writing is, according to Stipes, if we may pass gently to somebody with some moral sense, “formulaic”, the characters two-dimensional. Too true.

How does it all work then? Wherein lies the alluring, magical reading experience?

Primarily in the style of writing and if you wish to know more about that let us refer you to Travels with Li Po.

The author of that work knew his book had global significance and developed the style so that it could be translated into many languages, easily. It was a style moreover that reflected accurately how a child and many adults actually think and dream. The author also hoped that Amnesty would market the series and use the profits for needy children world wide. A noble pursuit that came to nothing. Rowling made off with the lot. Little held the bag.

What drives the story is the engine – the character of the hero and his mission. Yes, it is all about Potter. How could you have missed it? That’s why Rowling harps on about Hermione, Hagrid, the obligatory bad guy Voldemort and any other of the sorry derivations, because they need to throw you off the scent. And Rowling does what she is told, even when she is told not to do what she is told. She never created Harry you see. She nicked him from elsewhere. A lot of people know this using their common sense; but, we KNOW it. That’s the difference.

So do the Adrian Jacob’s team fighting the Willy the Wizard case incidentally who have to find £2,000,000 to have the extraordinary privilege if being allowed to present their evidence in court. We have presented them with enough evidence to have the Rowling gang filleted and stuffed, a fate they truly deserve; a fate indeed they inflicted on many others ruthlessly, in the company of her now partner, The Smirk Blair. They will be supping in Downing Street soon to try and stop the Jacob’s people for good using their wealth, political “for-the-common-goodspeak”, and judiciary supporters, while democracy, principles, morals, rights, honour, honesty and self-respect can all crawl off to Iraq and find a hole there to bury themselves. You lift the bonnet on a ‘moral epic’ and what do you find? The demons of greed and self interest. Nothing new there for any of us. Plus ça change… as they say. But history records all.

changed March 25, 2012