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Professor of English Discusses Harry Potter

The highly anticipated final book in the Harry Potter Series will be available at book stores everywhere this Saturday.

KSMU's Greg Leuthen recently sat down with Dr. Joel Chaston, Distinguished Professor of English at Missouri State University who teaches classes on author J.K. Rowling, to discuss the Harry Potter Phenomenon.

Leuthen: The seventh and final book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be on sale Saturday, July 21st. Why have children, teens, and adults of all ages embraced this series? What makes the series appeal to essentially everyone.

Chaston: I asked my students that question and they came up with a variety of answers. It's a fantasy series, a traditional hero tale, a story of magic coming into the real world and it's about another world.

Leuthen: What's next for the Harry Potter fans? Will another popular series emerge? What are J. K. Rowling's plans?

Chaston: It depends. Rowling has said different things. This is the end of the Harry Potter series. She is interested in writing both children and adult books. She wants to move on from Harry Potter. Other writers have written about similar tales that are available for the Harry Potter fans.

Leuthen: What are your thoughts on Harry Potter's impact on getting kids involved in reading?

Chaston: I wouldn't say this series has single-handedly changed reading habits of children. It certainly has had great appeal and gotten many children reading who previously did not. As the series has progressed, and has gotten them to think, and that is positive.

Leuthen: You've read all 6 books and have taught a class on Rowling, so what are your expectations for the final book?

Chaston: I think Rowling will explain questions to answer things that have arisen throughout the series. There will probably a couple of deaths since Rowling believes in heroic battles there always is some sort of loss that occurs. There will be mysteries resolved and I look forward to reading it.

Leuthen: That was Dr. Joel Chaston, Professor of English at Missouri State University.