‘Harry Potter’ in the Real World: How Fandom Has Brought the Wizarding World to Life

     July 27, 2016

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Most people may not realize the significance of July 31st. Heck, I had to look it up myself. But for Harry Potter fans like 25-year-old Jessica Jordan, it’s the day The Boy Who Lived came into this world, as written by J.K. Rowling in her acclaimed series.

“My sister read the [Harry Potter] books first, and decided they were the best thing ever. She loved them so much she didn’t want me to read them, so she could keep them all to herself,” Jordan tells me over email. “But this was the year 2000, and Harry Potter was everywhere, so I read them in secret and fell in love. The rest is, as they say, history.”

About 12 years later, Jordan saw “a call for volunteers” on the Twitter account of MuggleNet, now self-dubbed “the world’s #1 Harry Potter fan site.” She recalls, “I sent in my application, which was a test post written in HTML, and was soon accepted as a member of the news team. I’ve been working with MuggleNet ever since!”

Jordan, who currently works as a bookseller as she prepares to start a PhD in Literature in the fall, is now one of more than 90 Harry Potter lovers who contribute to MuggleNet on a volunteer basis, driven by their love for Rowling’s world.

Harry Potter changed Jordan’s life, but MuggleNet is just one of many fan-run websites and organizations that have popped up since the book saga first hit shelves. The Potter-specific fan club trend may have lost some of its luster over the years as other franchises build their brands, but there are still groups, conventions, and even bands paying tribute to the teen wizard with the lightning bolt scar.

With more Fantastic films on the way, a Cursed Child stage production premiering in London, and Harry Potter theme parks, it may even get a second wind.

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