Harry Potter and the Spell of Addiction


As the last Harry Potter book churned out last year it took away the magic from the lives of many Potter fans. Our beloved Mr. Potter is in the whirlpool of controversy after a group of researchers from Pennsylvania, ended up scrutinising 4000 Potter fans online and stumbled upon the fact that 400 of them were suffering from serious symptoms of depression, loss of appetite and sleeplessness while 20% of them were on the verge of addiction. To read the full article, please follow this link. The tests were spread out such that the children were studied before the last book was released, at the time of its release and after the children finished reading the book. What really took the cake was that addiction to Harry Potter series was compared to addiction to drugs, pornography and even the craving for cigarettes!!!

As per the report :

”After finishing the series, ten per cent of fans spent over four hours a day on Potter-related activities, experiencing interference with appetite and sleep, engaging in less physical activity, having a lower sense of well-being and being more irritable.”

As the series came to an end last year, many Potter fans are finding life very hard. There were participants who gave statements like – “I want Rowling to know that I hate her, as I have nothing to live for now.” Interestingly, those fans who turned their obsessions into creative outlets either through a fan rock band or a fan fiction ended up quite well and didn’t had the bouts of depressions after the last book got over. 

But, is it truly justifiable to use such a strong word such as Addiction in this context? And why only Harry Potter, wasn’t the Lord of the Rings series equally “addictive”? And then why only point fingers at books, aren’t movies equally addictive? As far as I can remember, I myself saw LORT around 30 times. :)

What is hard to understand is that how relevant can such a research be? When the report says that Harry Potter series have done a record sale of 400,000,000 copies then how relevant is the figure of the “addictive” children? Is this study a peek in the negative impact which the series had generated amongst the younger generation as it comes to a logical end or is it a classic case of making a mountain out of a molehill? And there have been no explanation of what “Potter-related activities” mean.

Personally speaking, I have not yet read a single Potter book as I am a huge fan of the movies and I don’t want to read the books and end up hating the movies because I know for a fact that they are much better than the movies. I wonder what will happen after the Movie series end. :(

I am already feeling addicted.

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37 comments on “Harry Potter and the Spell of Addiction

  1. I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    Karen Halls

  2. Loved the books, the movies…
    I do think that they could have taken a cue from New line cinema and P. Jackson with LOTR though.
    (And seeing Warner Bro owns N.L. I dont know why they didnt.)

    What am I talking about?
    Extended versions. If P. Jackson can do a 3 1/2 hour extended dvd edition, why not H.P.

    Now Im not talking this cut it up in pieces and watch after the movie…no way, I mean full integration.

    Alas it didnt happen. Maybe the last one will be like that…

    From Harry Potter I suppose we will need to do what happened with LOTR…
    Go deeper (back history, future, etc.) and/or find another new adventure…surely the adventures are not over, surely something else is ready to captivate us. ;)



  3. Yet another case of researchers who have nothing better to do. Most of them are in tension after health reports declared that mobile phones aren’t harmful after all. So basically they’ve run out of things to do researches on nowadays. And then, these people believe that it is upto them to explain all the depression in the world. Half the kids on this planet are depressed because of one thing or the other and a majority of them don’t ear proper meals anyway. Addiction to the Internet, addiction to porn and now addiction to Harry Potter.

    What is this research trying to prove? Okay, agreed that children are getting depressed, so what now? Make them stop reading books which are being written by authors who are gonna end the series? Or is it another reason they wanna give to the parents to stop their children from reading Harry Potter? If that is the case, then this is really small in front of reasons like Dumbledore being gay, Hermoine being a Lesbian and marrying Ginny(announcement yet to be made!) and Harry Potter having a fetish for giants and hence end up having a live-in relationship with Hagrid. :P

    Yeah right, depression. Pfss.

  4. I’ve neither read HP boooks nor seen any of the movie in the series. But some of my friends are just crazy if not addicted to HP books.
    Anyways, ff someone gets addicted to something, i believe its lesser the fault of the object of addiction than the addicted person.

  5. @Karen : Thanks a lot Karen. :)
    @dAlen : Yup, I got your point. A full integration would have been great. Maybe they will do it after the full series is over. And, we do need another adventure after HP gets over. Life would be so dull. :)
    @Ish : Somehow they are undermining the fact that the book instilled reading habit in so many children. And, yes we can’t stop people from reading books, so what positive is coming out of such study? And BTY, have you seen the movies or read the books??
    @Anand : The movies are good. Why haven’t you seen any yet??
    And, yes I too agree with this. If someone gets addicted, then its his fault. You can’t blame a book if it is being liked so much.

  6. As a die hard Potter fan, I can tell you that I experienced each and every of these symptoms. My life came to a stand still when I realized that the series is over. The entire July—all I could think about was Harry Potter. Don’t believe me? Take a look at my posts written in the month of July 2007. :| I became insane. I hardly slept the entire month.

    Now, I’ve gotten over it, but yes, I must say that it was quite difficult :) I don’t know if there ever will be a series as addictive as HP.

  7. Well nt really addicted but i would say i was quite taken up by the HP books but now tht they r over i dont have to worry over wats gonna happen next.

  8. I’ve read the books and watched the movies as well. And I’ll be no exception to the people who say that the books were better. I guess you should read them if they interest you. They’ll need a good lot of time though..till the 3rd part, they are reasonable sized. From Goblet of Fire onwards, they are huge.

  9. @Ruhi : Just saw your july 2007 archive. Oh My GOD!! 8-O You are way beyond addicted. Its insane. :lol:
    @Shruti : But didn’t you felt bad when it ended? I know that I will really feel bad once the movie series end. That’s for sure. :(
    @Ish : I will definitely read the books once the movie series is over. Before that NO WAY!! I am in love with the movies right now. :)

  10. 2 more movies to go then. By the last movie, I’m afraid Daniel will be looking way too “Uncle-Ji” to be playing an 18 or 19 year old…whatever age he’s supposed to be in that one. :P

  11. I don’t think you can really understand the movies properly unless you’ve read the books. They’ve not shown lots of things in the movies. I can’t wait for the next movie to be released. The last time when I went to watch Order of Phoenix in a theater here na, people are so crazy (incl. me), we had brought along our Potter stuff- Books, costume etc. :lol:

  12. Frankly speaking.. I too was and am a die hard fan of J.K rowling.. and of course Happy Potter and I often wondered what she was going to reveal in the last book of hers.. spent one or two sleepless nights too. I must say it is addictive.. why else wud it feature on yur blog too??.. and u got it right man.. if u compare movies and books .. u wud end up hating movies.. so dont read the books.. :-)

  13. i guess onw should enjoy thr movie and the plot and all the magic in the movie.. ti is bad to get addicted and people should rather blame themselves for beong addicted rahter than blaming rowling for that matter.

  14. @Amit: If you wanna read Harry Potter fan fiction, I’m a member of one such blog on Blogger. It’s called fELIX fELICIS and from whatever I’ve read on there till date, I can tell you it’s brilliant. I’ll leave the link if you are interested in checking it out. Otherwise you can also find it on my “about me” page.

  15. @Ish : I have heard that he is already looking way old than the charecter is supposed to look. And I’ll definitely check the link on your page as soon as I escape this darn office. :(
    @Ruhi : So cute. wearing a Harry Potter costume while watching the movie. :) And I too went mad when the movie was about to release. My friends were like completely shocked. :lol:
    @Sujani : I remember what you did. First you read that fake book and then the real one. I wonder how it must have felt. :)
    @Rajneesh: Yo Raj. You are absolutely right. The person who gets addicted is a bigger sinner. :) Ha Ha.
    @Bharat : Yieks!!! Ok. Ok. I should not panic. Will do it as soon as I reach home. :)

  16. yes people are insane….. :lol:
    i had written a post on harry potter spoilers..and with in 10 minutes after i published the post… the post was alreayd viewed 500 times..
    and it continued the whole day perhaps 2-3 days…

    my blog was fastest growing blog :mrgreen:

    and even i haven’t read all the books…. their would no fun in watching the movies..once the movie ends i might read the remaining parts/…

  17. @ Amit
    nt really i was more lik glad tht HP no longer had 2 fight Voldermort n d deatheaters
    @ Ruhi
    yea u r right books show the details….u always hav to refer back to what have happened in the past. The lenght of the movie dont allow this freedom

  18. Hey Amit, I know how much u love movies but reading Harry Potter series will be damn good man. I can assure you as I dont remember how many times I have read those books (including fake version). Me and Sujani used to fight to complete every time we used to read those in our beautiful module freshly. And i think Rowling will surely continue her series because in the last book Epilogue title is ’19 years later’, so surely she will write a book which shows HP`s life in those years. She gave an interview just before releasing last book and some part of that is ‘”I can’t promise anything to anyone,” she said to speculation about a possible continuation of the Potter series. First of all, she needed a break now, Rowling said.’. So I am expecting some more HP novels from her. If she is not going to write, some body will as there are people who got experience in writing fakes for her novels. And one more thing is can you ask ur friend Ruhi whether she read fake version of last part or not as I saw her liking of HP in comments, if not, i will send you that one.

  19. @Arvind: Wow. Must be something. Thats how history is written. I have planned to buy all seven once the movie series end. :)
    @Shruti : I had really bad experience when I read a book and then watched the movie. They cut so much details and somehow you are constantly comparing the two and end up not enjoying the movie in isolation.
    @Ruhi : Do you want the fake version of the last novel?? (refer to Vijaya Bharat’s comment) :)
    @Vijaya Bharat : Yes sir, I remember the look on your face when you realised that the book you have just finished was the fake one. The expression was priceless. Now you guys are really going to make me buy the books. Everyone is so strongly recommending it. :)

  20. Yes Amit. If you want to be in magical world in your imaginations, u must read it. HP is a great treat to those who love Fictions.

  21. Amit- Fan fiction doesn’t interest me. I remember Ish telling me about Felix Felicis earlier too…but there are just too many other good books to read. :) That’s one of the reasons I seldom read short stories on blogs.

  22. @Ruhi: Understandable. Felix is basically for Potter fans who just can’t live with the fact that it might just be over and hence they write their own fan fiction and about other Potter stuff. The stories in there are really nice if you ask me. There’s one about Fred and George Weasley where Fred comes back somehow. But yea, since you’re not that interested in it, it’s okay.

  23. @Vijaya Bharat : Okaaay!! Are you J.K.Rowling in disguise? :)
    @Ruhi : Hmmm..but you must sometimes. It will surprise you at times. :)
    @Ish : I wanted to ask you this from a long time. Where did you get this logo from? Its really creative.

  24. There’s an entertainment group called “Ish” which organizes events and stuff. It’s their logo, I stole it and am gonna use it till they file an copyright infringement case or something on me. :P

    I just Google Image searched the word “Ish” and it came up. The joys of the internet! :D

  25. @Amit Yes, I should, probably after I get done with these crazy exams. Right now, I’m not getting any time to read any book…forget about fan fiction :(

    @Ish about the fan fiction, one thing that I would like to change would be Harry and Gina marrying :( How the hell did this happen?!! Bwhaaahaa :( And Fred and George together..wow :)

  26. @Amit: Yep, that way. It’s been 4 years since I’ve been using it now. Dead End are this avatar are two things that have been with me from my Yahoo! Messenger days.

    @Ruhi: Yep, Fred and George together. It’s called Weasley and Weasley(deceased). And in the other story based on HP, Harry and Ginny haven’t married yet. They are romantically interested but Harry is way too busy.

  27. bhai u know me dear.i haven read this.tu kitna vela hai re.main nai hu itni veli.boht zada likha hai.thoda km likhta to main pad leti.ha ha ha ha ha .
    tk care.ur honest sis.

  28. love the site, keep u the great work! im a die hard potter fan, and yes books are much better then the movies (isn’t that true for most cases though?). i still think u should read the books though because i personally feel like anyone who doesnt read them is incredibly deprived. potter manias always been crazy, so im not surprised after reading this article. i was sad when i read the last book too. i didn’t go mental though. i got the last book and at first i had planned to drop everything for the rest of the day and just start reading, i would have done it in the car if i could drive and read at the same time. but i got home and i didn’t read the book until a couple hours, instead i just stared at it because i knew once i finished it the craziness that had taken over my life for the last couple of years which i had spent obsessing over these books/movies, and drawing them as i read along would be over. anyway long post ending, read the books! if you loved the movies you’ll love them even more after reading the books! third is my favorite, and unfortunately its the only movie i didn’t like (prisoner of azkaban).

  29. @Abeer : Thanks and welcome to the blog. :) Yes I do agree with the “incredibly deprived” thing, but my point is that
    1. I know the novels are much more better than the movies.
    2. I love the movies.
    So, I would wait for the movie series to get over and then read the books.
    I haven’t read LOTR also for the same reason. What to do?? I am madly in love with the movie. :)

  30. Totally irrelevant research and expenditure. Every phenomenon has its own obsessive fan following and repercussions while its there & when it ends. whats the point? that such phenomena be it a band (eg beatles,pink floyd) or book(eg HP) should not be there? Such time and money should be invested in research on other sociological topics.

    Hey U have not read them yet??????? Ofcourse books are better but I felt reading helped me enjoy it more .And of course there are many wonderful descriptions and events left out in movies. U r missing out on those.

  31. @Reema : Yes, they should have donated the money to some poor country instead of wasting it like this. There are many more serious issues which need our attention.
    I will read the books, no doubt about that. I am just waiting for the movies to get over. :D

  32. Do you think that Obama is going to win because the Republicans have such a bad candidate?
    Why did John McCain make his final argument against Obama… coal?
    That’s his closing argument? William Ayers, Rev. Wright, spreading the wealth, Born Alive, meeting dictators without preconditions, etc. all have to take a back seat so that McCain can go to Colorado and New Mexico to talk about coal? Does this more or less explain why he’s going to get his clock cleaned Tuesday?

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