The magic of communication
The world is divided into people who think of condiments when they see the letters ‘HP’ and those whose first thoughts will be of the wizard with the lightning scar. Today marks the 20th anniversary since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released, so HP superfan (the book, not the sauce), Sarah Woods takes a look at the series with her comms hat on…
Across the country people will be celebrating today. Perhaps not quite to the level of when Volde… He Who Must Not Be Named was finally defeated, but parties, exhibitions and events have been organised to mark the day that Harry Potter first became a thing.
And it most definitely is a thing. With combined sales of more than 500 million copies worldwide, Harry Potter is the most successful book series of all time.
It’s hard to put into words what makes the books so addictive. Whether it’s the way the story cleverly weaves together; the depth of the detail that transports you straight into the magical world; the characters, who are so relatable, even to us muggles; or perhaps it’s the little piece inside you that hopes it’s all real.
In so many situations the Magic community seem to have better, or more advanced ways of doing things. Take for example, their ability to transport instantly by apparition, the photographs where the subjects actually move, or having the power to repair something with the flick of a wand. Magic generally means things are more efficient. Broken glasses? No problem. Occulus Reparo will mean no traipsing down to Specsavers for you.
But over the years, especially with the advances in muggle technology, the gap between the way wizards and the rest of the world communicates has widened.
Technology doesn’t seem to really exist in the wizarding world. There are no phones and no computers. Communication is through a mixture of owl post, faces appearing in fireplaces and the wizarding newspaper, the Daily Prophet.
If you’ve read the books you’ll know that at school, Hogwarts students are expected to write essays on scrolls of parchment rather than on PCs, they head to the library when they have a question that needs answering and in the Ministry of Magic, forget emails – memos travel by paper aeroplane.
It’s worth remembering that the first book is meant to be set in the early 90s, so before we became as reliant on email, text messages and social media. But even so, wizarding communication can only really be described as basic, even if it is a bit more fun.
So just what would the books have looked like if wizards had WiFi and mobiles and social media?
Here are a few ways the books could have been… ***WARNING – potential spoilers ahead***
• The Philosopher’s Stone would have been half the size if Harry had just been able to find Nicholas Flamel on LinkedIn, rather than the hours he spent searching in the library with Ron and Hermione.
• Rather than playing Quidditch, students would be too busy posting pictures of their epic Hogwarts feasts on Instagram. #foodenvy
• Harry could have saved himself some embarrassment if he’d seen that Cho Chang and Cedric Diggory had made their relationship ‘Facebook official’ before asking her to the Yule Ball.
• If Harry had just given Sirius a quick call to check whether he was safely at home or at the Department of Mysteries, the books would have taken a very different turn. *sob*
Luckily, J.K Rowling knew what she was doing when she created the world of Harry Potter. Technology would have totally ruined it.
Similarly, when it comes to real world comms, going down the digital route might not always be the right option. It’s about making sure that what you’re doing works for your audience and realising that sometimes the magic can happen in other ways… whether that’s through company magazines, roadshows, poster campaigns or events.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help with your internal communications, send us an owl… or alternatively give us a call.