The approaching movie playdate notwithstanding, some things about the books by J.K. Rowling are a classic, not bound by cultural trends or geographical borders. An insightful piece by Andrew Byrne sheds some light on it. An excerpt:
Imagine for a moment what these books could have been like. If you read the Arts and Culture pages of today’s newspapers, their reviews of books, plays, television, you get a constant flow of dysfunctional situations. The general message is one of depression at the state of modern society. In Harry Potter you get a completely different world view. Instead of a general mush of gloom and self-indulgence, you have a world of clear cut values. These values are not sugary and naive. The world Rowling depicts is very much a battleground, evil and good are locked in struggle, and often it seems that evil is getting the upper hand. Not a few succumb to its pressures. Or prefer to bury their head in the sand. But good wins out in the end.
We see this world through the eyes of a young orphan. He has a deprived home background (the Dursleys household, where he has been living and treated unlovingly since his parents were murdered shortly after his birth). From this background he has been liberated by being given a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Here he finds people who understand him and who offer him a home, a double home, both at school and in the holidays (the home of the Weasley family, a large and poor family, parents and seven children, all of whom have been students at Hogwarts).
In the meantime, I found some photos of younger Harry, Ron and Hermione.