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An Essay on Magic
Magic is something that everyone has heard of, yet not everyone believes it exists. Magic is everywhere; It may disguise itself in all sorts of different ways, like in the presence of a book series that becomes a phenomenon, or a movie that takes you to a different world while you're still sitting in your seat; But it exists just the same.
One of the most popular types of magic in this day and age is movie magic.
Movie magic is the art of creating things for the big screen, that will take it's viewers though a whole new experience without ever having to leave their chair.
The most popular aspect of movie magic is called "visual effects." Visual effects are objects created by computer generated software that are designed to take movie goers deeper into the film industry than ever before. One highly successful movie series that uses visual effects in just about every aspect of the storyline, is the Harry Potter series.
In these movies, you get a chance to take flight with a fire breathing dragon, come face to face with a vicious werewolf, speak to a talking hat, and even soar through the air on an enchanted broomstick; All though the use of visual effects.
Another type of movie magic, is a director's ability to bring written words to life. Movies which are based on popular books seem to be the most best-selling tickets at the box office, because many people want to see how their favorite characters have evolved from page to screen.
The first Harry Potter movie was released on November 14th, 2001, introducing the actors and actress who would soon be known as the "Harry Potter trio."
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson have been the main stars of each of the six Harry Potter films that have been released so far. Through the years, fans have literally grown up with the three, just like they have grown up with the series. For many, seeing Harry Potter get turned into a movie is like real magic, because they never imagined they would be able to see him in person, instead of just seeing him in their minds when they read about him.
Harry Potter is the biggest worldwide phenomenon that has existed for more than 10 years. The books and movies have been translated into more than 65 languages, and are sold in over 200 different countries. (Wikipedia.com). British author J.K. Rowling first got the idea for Harry Potter in 1990, while she was on board a train going into London. "I was looking out the window, when I suddenly started thinking about wizarding children who go to a magical school on a train," Rowling says when asked about the day that the idea for Harry Potter came to her. (Hilary.com - Interview with J.K. Rowling). The author says that she began writing the first book in the series, Philosophers Stone that same evening; the night Harry Potter was born.
It took J.K. Rowling five years to finish writing her first novel, and then another two years to get it published:
"It took my agent, Christopher, a year to find a publisher. Many of them turned it down. Then finally in August of 1996, Christopher called to let me know that he had an offer from Bloomsbury. I couldn't believe my ears. After I hung up, I screamed and jumped into the air. My daughter Jessica, who was sitting in her high chair, enjoying her tea, looked thoroughly scared. And the rest as you may guess, is history." (J.K. Rowling)
The rest was indeed history. Through the 13 years that the Harry Potter books have been in print, over 600 million copies have sold; making the series the most popular books in history.
Even though the final book in the series was published almost three years ago, the magic of Harry Potter is still going strong. The latest magical event that Potter fans have to look forward to, is a theme park titled "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" which is an entire park designed to make it's visitors feel like they've literally just fallen into one on the books. Visitors to the park get to experience the village of Hogsmeade (a place from the Harry Potter books), by going into the unique shops to buy a flying broomstick, and restaurants to have a taste of butterbeer. The park also features a ginormous replica of Hogwarts castle, which can also be explored by guests. Inside the castle, there is a ride that features many visual effects, including holograms, talking portraits, and sound effects from the movie that seem to come from nowhere. Park creators describe the theme park simply as "Magic brought to life!" (Universal Park Designer, Thierry Coup).
In this day and age, Harry Potter is the most famous magician around, but many don't know that before Harry went to Hogwarts, their was another famous wizard that had to find his way through magic; His name, was Merlin.
The BBC television show titled Merlin, is set in the time around the sixth century, telling the story of the young Merlin as he learns how to control his magical abilities while living in Camelot working as a servant for Prince Arthur.
When Merlin first discovers his magical abilities, he leaves his home village of Ealdor to live and work with Gaius, an alchemist in Camelot. Gaius gives a home to Merlin, becoming a sort of father figure to him as he helps him to learn about his abilities. The only problem they face however, is the fact that all sorcery is forbidden in the city of Camelot, so they must practice in secret whilst learning about the mysteries of the city.
Much like Harry, Merlin has a destiny about him that he must fulfill before his lifetime ends. A prophecy was given to him by the imprisoned dragon under the kingdom, which stated that Merlin must protect Price Arthur at all costs, so that one day his reign as King will come, and sorcery can be returned to Camelot.
Merlin is an adventurous show that is filled with humor, romance, darkness, and of course, magic. Although both Harry Potter and Merlin are very alike in many ways, they're also very different as well.
Harry Potter is known for using his magical abilities to defend himself against his enemies and to help others, sometimes a little too much. Merlin on the other hand, although he uses his powers to save Prince Arthur in almost every episode of the series, he often uses them for humorous tasks such as making chores do themselves when he doesn't have enough time, or making items float around when people have their back turned.
Another difference between the two wizards is the way they administer their powers. Harry Potter uses a wooden wand that literally chose him; A wand that consists of magical artifacts spun together by magic, to use his powers. Merlin however doesn't use a wand, he simply holds out his hand while he says an incantation, and with eyes glinted gold, his spell is complete.
Merlin and Harry Potter are both fictional tales of magic set in different time periods; Making their stories differ from each other, but also showing the resemblances they partake in. Despite the diversity of the two stories, they are both based on the same concept. Magic.
Although the majority of magic most heard about is through tales found in storybooks and movies, everyday magic is a concept that more people can relate to.
Everyday magic can range anywhere from the slight of hand tricks that magicians preform in front of live audiences, to the simple things that nature brings in Springtime. This range of magic is the widest of them all, because so many people have different views on what magic really is. Magician's work is considered magic because it leaves people perplexed and full of wonder. Audience members are in full awe after a trick is done, and they can't help but marvel how it was done.
Many people consider nature to be magic because of how things seem to happen overnight, such as leaves changing from green to gold in the Fall, and flowers bursting into bloom in the Spring.
Magic appeals to people all over the world because it offers an escape from reality; One can simply chose to believe in it with no stings attached. When a person reads a tale of magic such as Harry Potter, they can leave their world behind by dropping into one where almost anything is possible; For a few short hours, everything is perfect. The only downfall of that however, is that eventually the story will come to an end, and everyone will have to come back to reality, where things aren't always so perfect.
Even if you don't realize it, magic has had an impact on your life in one form or another; Even if you don't believe in it, it's there nonetheless.
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter Series. New York: Scholastic. 1998-2007. Print.
Merlin. David Moore, James Hawes. Colin Morgan, Bradley James,
Angel Coulby. Shine Limited, BBC One. 2007-2010
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NA. Universalorlando.com n.d. April 16th, 2010