The Harry Potter series has now sold more than 450 million copies, making it the 5th most popular book of all time. Harry is a superhero with universal appeal, both in terms of geography as well as age range. And few concepts have ever reached as far into the consciousness of so many around the world.

But the impact of Harry Potter is much larger than the scale of its sales. It’s a pop cultural phenomenon that’s transcended into the media, and global conversation. It captured the imagination of its audience, and has captured the shared imagination that is popular culture. From varied fan art to thousands of pages of fan fiction, the Potterverse has been expanded to vast interactive proportions through the Internet.

And for my generation, its impact is particularly large.

I was 6 years old when the first Harry Potter book was released.

By the time the final one launched, I was 16.

The gradual progression of Harry’s story throughout my generation’s childhood has created a sense of fandom in the most extreme sense.

So eager were we for the next installment of Harry’s story, that we waited outside bookstores until midnight on launch day, and would race to be the first to finish the book.

And it’s this genuine impact on popular culture and the lives of fans worldwide, that make Harry Potter a true icon of our time.

Rhonwen Lally @Rhonwenlally