Many years after the last line was written in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the youth literature movement seems no signs of letting up.
Back in the early 2000s, Harry Potter was seen as a unique – and rather curious – phenomena. At the time, the literary world had gone decades without anything really motivating the younger audience to read. It was often thought that fiction would perhaps die out one day and be replaced by YouTube, blogging, and of course television.
Something interesting happened though when J.K. Rowlings‘ tales of a young wizard gained record-breaking appeal amongst a new generation of young people. It sparked a renewed interest in reading, and in storytelling. What some may have thought was a fluke, a one-trick pony, an aberration in the natural decline of more sophisticated entertainment, quite the opposite has happened.
Before Harry Potter ended, Twilight came into pop culture and established another niche in the young reader world. His Dark Materials, Abarat, The Hunger Games, Vampire Academy, Percy Jackson, The Immortals and about another dozen or so series have captured the imagination of the younger audience.
That audience is has grown up by ten years now, and are starting to read more. No, they didn’t stop when Voldermort was finally defeated or when Bella finally turned into a vampire, they continued reading older novels, more adult novels, and of course the latest popular teen lit series.
This is promising for the future of entertainment as far as writing and reading are concerned. Books on the other hand, may still be doomed. Even with the rise in reading, the traditional book may be going the way of the cassette tape pretty soon.
Books will probably never go away completely. There is a core audience of readers who relish paper over pixels, but as many big chain book stores are closing, it may be only a matter of time when the actual physical book becomes a rare (and expensive) indulgence.
Whatever form literature takes, it’s good to know it’s not dying any time soon. Nor should anyone have thought it would. Storytelling, in all its forms, has an audience – and most other forms of storytelling often have their roots in fiction. Musicians cite authors or lines from novels, television and movies notoriously adapt the printed word into the visual world.
The only call now would be to originality. We don’t need anymore vampire love stories. Let’s get a bit more creative and perhaps make new monsters, new love stories, new ideas, and keep the art of storytelling vibrant and healthy.