Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Magic Exists by Donna Hosie

If I said the word “Muggle” to you, what would you think?

Book cover reproduced here under Allen and Unwin's site licence.  More information about this book here.

If you thought I was making a strange noise, then you probably aren’t going to want to read this post. But if you immediately thought of wizards and wands and good versus evil, then you might want to keep on reading.

Before I became an author, I worked on a Harry Potter website called The Leaky Cauldron. Now this wasn’t just any old website. This was J.K. Rowling’s favourite website. A website that – during the height of Pottermania – was getting millions and millions of hits every month.

Warner Bros, who had the rights to make the movies, and EA Games, who had the rights to adapt those movies for your computer screens, knew that they had an active fan base at their fingertips. So they decided to ask the Harry Potter fan websites if their staff would like to get involved as consultants on the computer games.

And I was the lucky staffer who was asked.

Imagine walking into a Great Hall, decked out with Hogwarts House banners. Imagine seeing images from the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix film and video game before anyone else. It was as if an owl had delivered my Hogwarts letter and I was in on a secret that the whole world wanted to see, but only a select few were being allowed in.

As fan consultants, we got to play the games before anyone else. We got to say what worked, and what didn’t. We got to wave a Wii controller and yell “Expelliarmus” at total strangers, and the people around us didn’t think we had lost our minds! I interviewed the creators of the game and the interviews were heard in Podcasts around the world. It was a very exciting time. The internet was being used to engage the fans of a book series in a way that had never been done before.

The Harry Potter books have captivated children and adults alike. They remain a publishing phenomenon. At first it was word of mouth. Children knew about these amazing books before their parents, but then adults started reading them and the world exploded. Each book release was greeted by midnight parties with thousands of people queuing around the block to buy a book.

A book!

I was in Edinburgh for the release of the final Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with other staff members from the website. It was a bittersweet moment for everyone who was involved. There were so many questions we knew were finally going to be answered: would Lord Voldemort be vanquished? Would Ron and Hermione FINALLY get together? And the big question everyone wanted the answer to – was Snape good or bad? But once we reached the end of the book, that was it. The Harry Potter books were over.

But...were they?

I was lucky to be part of the phenomenon. We lived the releases and the excitement that came with them. But every year, thousands of children all over the world discover the wonder of Harry Potter for the first time. And that is a lasting legacy most authors would give their wand arm for.

Because while there are children (and adults) discovering the magic, it will never be over.

You can find out more about Donna's books here.

About the author

Donna Hosie is the author of Searching for Arthur, The Fire of Merlin and The Spirit of Nimue.  She is represented by Beth Phelan of The Bent Agency in New York, and her forthcoming releases include The Ring of Morgana (2014) and The Devil's Intern (Holiday House, 2015). 

"My favourite books when I was growing up were ones with magic and adventure in them. I loved the Enid Blyton Famous Five series, but my all time favourite, and one I still adore today, is The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.  I can't be the only person who ever climbed into a wardrobe in search of Narnia!  And I would definitely recommend the Percy Jackson series to budding fantasy fans."

You can find out more about Donna on her blog, musings of a penniless writer.


  1. Fun fact:
    The number Arthur Weaselly uses to get into the Ministry of Magic
    would spell out magic using the keypad on a telephone

  2. Lovely post, Donna. I remember when you reported on your visit to EA. Such a wondrous time it was. It still makes me smile when I think of the fully grown wizards, ur adults arguing about whether or not Dumbledore was really dead. Siriusly, the quality of those discussions and and caliber of the contributors (physicists, attorneys, college professors, teachers, geneticists, etc.) just proves that a book for "children" can be so much more.

  3. Did you know that Mundungus means 'stink tobacco' in Spanish?

  4. Thank you Donna. Once I got over my envy, your post reminded me that reading can take us places - literally as well as figuratively - and that if you're passionate about something, you have more chance of working with the things that interest you. Knowing stuff is better than not knowing stuff! And books are a great way to learn about stuff...