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Harry Potter’s long spell

It's been several years since the last book in the 'Potter' series was published, but judging by the fervor of fans, the boy wizard isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

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A scene from 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.'

Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. Pictures/AP

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In the book seriesHarry Potter is known as The Boy Who Lived. And despite the fact that the concluding “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” came out in 2007 and the final “Potter” movie was released in 2011, somehow Harry and his friends still live large in pop culture. 

It may seem as if author J.K. Rowling has moved on. She’s now releasing books as mystery writer Robert Galbraith. And the Cormoran Strike series is for a very different audience than the “Potter” books. The highly anticipated third installment, “Career of Evil,” is due out Oct. 20. 

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So why haven’t “Potter” fans moved on as well? The web of fansites, podcasts, fan conventions, role-playing games, landmark tours, documentaries, and music groups dedicated to Harry’s gang seems as strong as ever.

In fact, Rowling still tends to the “Potter” universe. She’s an active presence on Twitter, often revealing “all new” information about the world of “Potter” in pithy tweets. And then there’s the website Pottermore, where users are students at the wizard school, Hogwarts. (They are “sorted” into one of the school’s four houses, practice making potions, and participate in duels.) Occasionally, Rowling adds new content with a thoughtful essay.

Soon there will be more new stories set in the “Potter” universe. The screenplay for the coming movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” to be released November 2016, is by Rowling herself. The film tells the story of wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), who is an expert on magical creatures.

And of course, readers keep returning to the original books. Harry’s story is “a very powerful coming-of-age narrative,” Signe Cohen, who teaches a “Potter” course at the University of Missouri, says. “Everyone can relate.”

Ms. Cohen also believes another pastime has kept the “Potter” community engaged and active: fan fiction, in which budding authors write their own stories about the much loved characters. “The author has created such very vivid characters ... it appeals to their imagination,” Cohen says.


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