by Caren Crane
As some of you know, I have a high school senior this year. Most of my “free time” (snork) is spent nagging her about filling out college applications and scholarship applications. The remainder is spent searching for scholarships for which she is eligible to apply. This seems innocuous enough, but let me tell you friends, it is a sure path to madness. Most scholarships have stringent criteria applicants must meet. The few who meet them must then contort themselves to slither through a series of elaborate hoops in order to complete the application. After that, it’s months of nail biting, finger crossing and endless waiting.
The upside to the search is that there are some really amusing scholarships out there. My favorite is one sponsored by AntiqueTrader.tv called The Big Dig Scholarship. I decided for fun (and since I couldn't get my daughter interested in applying) that I would answer the questions that constitute the scholarship application here. Sorry to disappoint the sticklers, but no annotated bibliography is included. :)
1. What is the item you are going to bury?
A first American Collector’s Edition of the book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.
2. Where could you purchase the item today?
This edition is currently available at Quill & Brush booksellers, accessible on the internet.
3. How much does the item cost?
The book is listed for $100.00 (though I saw it at another rare book dealer for about $250.00).
4. What made you choose this item?
The Harry Potter book series came to mind because of the recent release of the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. It made me remember how much I enjoyed reading the books aloud to my daughters. By the time the last book was released, the girls were too old to tolerate being read to (though I was willing) and they read it on their own. I have seen every Harry Potter film when it was released in theaters and own them on DVD. Harry Potter has been part of my family’s life for the past 13 years, so it is no surprise the first book is a treasure I would bury in the backyard.
5. Why do you believe that the item will have immense value 200 years from now?
J.K. Rowling’s series of books about the Boy Who Lived and his friends at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry have made history as the fastest-selling books of all time. According to Reuters, the series of seven books has sold more than 400 million copies. That is frankly astonishing. The series spawned a series of major Hollywood films that have set box office records on their opening weekends. The series has been translated into 67 languages, so it is a global phenomenon. It has also inspired myriad spin-off books (both authorized and unauthorized), academic studies, spin-off movies, spin-off TV shows and more fan fiction than you can shake a stick at. It famously inspired A Very Potter Musical, which I heard about from my teenagers. It has been watched many, many times at our house both in full and in part, thanks to YouTube. (As a side bonus for Gleeks, the guy who plays Harry in the musical is none other than Darren Criss, who plays Kurt's mentor and possible love interest on Glee!)
Believe it or not, high schools and colleges now have Harry Potter Clubs. I know, because my daughters are in the one at their high school. Many of these clubs have Quidditch teams and, yes, one of my daughters is a Bludger on her school’s team. The girls are also planning to attend a Yule Ball that is being planned by the Harry Potter Club at another high school and fretting about what to wear. My younger daughter will be going on a combined-school Harry Potter Club trip in February to – you guessed it – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.
Harry Potter inspires maniacal fandom in both young people and adults. Those book release parties sponsored by local bookstores drew out a huge and varied throng of people, costumed and breathlessly waiting to buy their copy of the next installment at midnight. Yes, friends, they did this for books. I know of no other series of books that has swept the world and captivated all ages in such a, well, magical way. Harry Potter is more than a pop culture blip. I think he has permeated the global ether in a way that will be lasting and remembered for centuries to come. In 200 years, a first American Collector’s Edition of the first book in Harry’s tragic saga will be worth a bundle of money. I hope my heirs will cherish it and that it helps make their lives much more magical!
Isn’t this a fun game? I had a great time with it. So what would you bury for your family to dig up in 200 years, and why? If you just want to geek out and talk about Harry Potter (or Darren Criss), that’s okay, too.