Twenty-two years after the publication of the first book in the series, Harry Potter is still one of the most beloved literary franchises in Ireland.
JK Rowling's fantasy series dominates the list of the most borrowed books in Irish libraries, as revealed by the Local Government Management Agency, with three of her Potter novels in the Top 5.
The first three books in the seven-book series - 'The Philosopher’s Stone', 'The Chamber of Secrets' and 'The Prisoner of Azkaban' - come in at first, fourth and fifth place on the list respectively.
This raises the question, what is the magic world’s magic formula for ongoing popularity? Here is the list of the top reasons why the love for Harry, Ron, and Hermione is still going strong, more than two decades later, as compiled by an original Harry Potter fan.
One of the main reasons for the universal appeal of the famous series is its relatable situation for a younger generation. Every child and teenager has to go to school on a daily basis, and almost all of them wish it was just as magical as the world of Harry Potter. The castle, the different houses, the magical subjects and sports all add up to a daily life in school that we all wish we had. Some of us to this day, are waiting for their letter with the invitation to Hogwarts.
Let's face it, friends come and go over the years. Only a select few stick around no matter the situation and no matter the backlash it could mean for them. Harry Potter is in the luxurious position of having several of them. Ron and Hermione, but also others like Neville or Luna are facing the powers of darkness alongside our hero and pick him up when he is down.
Just like the generation that grew up while the Harry Potter books were first published, today's children and teenagers can relate to the personal struggles that Harry is facing throughout his school years. From fitting in and finding friends to the troubles of puberty and dealing with loss, the issues are universally applicable and timeless. Growing up alongside our hero works just as well today as it did in the late 1990s.
While everyone can grow up alongside Harry and his friends over the years, we also have to face similar challenges and learn the same lessons that they do. We learn how different social backgrounds can shape a child's career prospects, and realise that racism and bigotry are just as difficult a problem in the world of magic as they are in ours. There are lessons about long standing grudges, forgiveness and misjudgement when it comes to character. All are easily relatable and applicable to our own lives, no matter the generation.
It is probably the simplest of all the reasons on this list, but it is also the easiest to understand. Harry Potter manages to capture the imagination of entire generations as strongly as very few youth books ever have. The description of this incredible magical world that surrounds us all but is still hidden from the eyes of the "muggles" is as fascinating to the young readers of today as it was to the generation who first grabbed "The Philosopher's Stone" back in 1997.