As Christmas is less than eight weeks away (scary, I know), Sky On Demand has made the exceedingly wise decision to make all the “Harry Potter” films available to their viewers, as well as adding a temporary channel which exclusively shows the franchise’s films on repeat. This is nothing out of the ordinary; The American channel ABC has an almost endearing habit of airing all “Harry Potter” movies at the mere mention of a seasonal holiday, whether it be Christmas, New Years, or even the summer holidays. However, “Harry Potter”, for some reason, seems to be especially popular and comforting during the winter months.
First and foremost, the generation which grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione is now reaching adulthood, meaning that the films primarily bring back a sense of nostalgia, as does the holiday of Christmas. The excitement and innocence, particularly in the both “The Philosopher’s Stone” and “The Chamber of Secrets”, acts as a reminder of the wonder we, as young children, felt on Christmas morning. Building on a sense of wonder, both the holiday, and the franchise, has the theme of magic running deep within them. Of course, although Christmas is a Christian holiday, due to both an integration of cultures, and commercialisation, the festival means different things to different people. Though the Christmas of some is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, all who celebrate Christmas, religious or not, recognise it as a time to be selfless, loving, and spend time with those who love you. Love is yet another theme which is heavily present in the “Harry Potter” stories, being characterised as so powerful that it can literally protect someone from death. This now-appearing parallel seems to provide an answer as to why both “Harry Potter” and Christmas are so closely linked.
One of the most predominant reasons for the franchise’s popularity during the darker seasons, however, is the notion that even in the darkest, coldest, most miserable times, happiness can still be found. In the Wizarding World of War, uncertainty, and tragedy, that light can be found in the comfort of family and friends; in real life, during the most cheerless months of the year, optimism, hope and warmth can be found in the same place. This seems to be the most likely reason for the seasonal support surrounding the “Harry Potter” series; the constant, defiant optimism that we celebrate during Christmas, every year.
At the risk of sounding cliché, “Harry Potter” defined a generation. Since 2005, the names Draco, Sirius and Bellatrix have appeared on the list of new UK baby names! The familiar feeling of childhood and comfort inspired by the franchise seems to be one which all fans of “Harry Potter”, young and old, search for, during those long winter months.