Worldbuilding Past the Screen and Pages

Harry Potter is without a doubt one of the biggest fanbases in America today, which has inspired dozens of transmedia extensions for the books and movies including video games, toys, an amusement park, and an online wiki named, “Potterpedia”. This wiki contains all of the possible information about the Harry Potter universe including detailed descriptions of every major and minor character, the places listed, the spells, the wands, the creatures, the potions, and virtually everything about the universe that either the book, movie, or both do not address.

                Potterpedia aids in the Worldbuilding Capacity of the Harry Potter universe. In the wiki, all of the content is categorized specifically based on information about the Hogwarts students and faculty, their age, their habits, which books they appear in, and so on. The wiki also discusses things mentioned in other written sources based off of the Harry Potter universe, such as The Tales of Beedle the Bard, increasing one’s desire to learn more. It has clearly been said by Henry Jenkins, “we are drawn to master what can be known about a world which always expands beyond our grasp.” The span of up to seven book with additions of other books that expand the already existing universe is a brilliant tactic planned by the original author to stir up excitement from fans.

                People always like a page turner, or something that will keep them constantly excited about something over an extended period of time. So it should come to no surprise that J.K. Rowling’s book series along with Warner Bros.’ film adaptations maintained Cultural Attraction and Activation on a nation-wide scale. This is accomplished primarily through the story of a boy learning about the wizard world and facing against the evil wizard that killed his parents, only to discover many terrible truths about himself in the process. Since the readers/viewers also learn about these secrets along with the main character, it adds to the storytelling suspense and makes them want to turn to Potterpedia to try and guess what will happen in the next story.

                People always refer to Potterpedia for answers because they’re led to look there after reading up on Migratory Cues that were dispersed through the stories. Whether if they find out that Tom Riddle is Lord Voldemort, or that Sirius Black is Harry’s godfather, or that Harry Potter is a horcrux, they always refer to the other books, video games, interviews with J.K. Rowling, or Potterpedia in order to figure out what will happen next. Janet H. Murray sums this up by saying that, “contemporary stories, in high and low culture, keep reminding us of the storyteller and inviting us to second-guess the choices he or she has made.” In other words, the wiki adds to the page-turning obsession that makes readers even more anxious about each book and movie that comes out.

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part II

Works Cited:

  • Jenkins, Henry. “Transmedia Storytelling 101.” Confessions of an AcaFan. Genesis Framework, 22 Mar. 2007. Web. 02 Mar. 2014.
  • Murray, Janet H. “Chapter 2: Harbingers of the Holodeck.” Hamlet on the Holodeck. New York: Free, A Division of Simon and Schuster, 1997. 27-64. Print.

Image Sources:

  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Digital image. Savvy Auntie. Savvy Auntie, n.d. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.
  • Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part II. Digital image. HD Wallpapers. HD Wallpapers, 14 June 2011. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.

One comment on “Worldbuilding Past the Screen and Pages

  1. The first paragraph does a great job setting up the Harry Potter franchise and the wiki discussed in the post. Providing some basic background information on Harry Potter might help an unfamiliar reader follow some of the points you make throughout the post. The post as a whole does a great job using examples of concepts within Harry Potter; however, defining these terms for a reader unfamiliar with these concepts would help the reader understand your points better and could improve the effectiveness of your arguments. Introducing the readings could provide context for a reader who might not be familiar with these texts. There is an opportunity here to discuss how the wiki might function like hypertext fiction, engaging with Murray’s text. Ending on a sentence or two that capture your main ideas would help the reader know what you want them to take away from your blog post.

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