He was born in Britain, but he belongs to all of us now, young and old.

J.K. Rowling introduced her boy wizard to the world in 1997, and before decade's end, Harry
Potter was a global icon. With his seven-volume saga complete, the tragedy-scarred orphan
stands as an inspiring hero for our times.

It was thrilling to follow his progression toward maturity - from bewildered yet bedazzled
youngster to flawed and angry adolescent to wise, self-sacrificing young man. (Of course, Harry
wouldn't be Harry without the support of best chums Ron and Hermione, the guidance of
Professor Dumbledore, and the soul-stirring challenge of villainous Voldemort.)

In an interview with EW in 2000, Rowling explained the great theme embodied by Harry and all
her characters: "What's very important for me is when Dumbledore says [in
Harry Potter and the
Goblet of Fire
] that you have to choose between what is right and what is easy... What is easy is
often not right."

In 2001, Harry Potter became a cinematic hero as well, played by Daniel Radcliffe in an always
winning and ever-deepening performance.

The actor, now 20, believes the character's main legacy is the Potter fan base, "a new generation
of incredibly literary nerds, of which I am one!"

Still, Radcliffe imagines - half-jokingly - that his contribution to Harry Potter might someday be
obsolete. "[The books] will be around for decades to come, which makes me wonder if in 30
years' time, we will be seeing remakes of all these movies," he says with a laugh. "I have a very
dark suspicion that that will happen, although I don't particularly want it to!"

5 Questions with D. Rad:

You were 11 when you were cast as Harry Potter, who was already a global phenom. Did you
feel pressure?

If I had been older and slightly more self-aware about the following that Harry had, I would
have been slightly more intimidated. Ignorance and confidence of youth - it's enough to
transcend that.

How did you go about creating Harry? And how has your preparation changed over the years?

In the beginning, creating the character was all about the costume and the look. That's how
people thought of him. In terms of what I did to prepare, it was very much: Just learn the lines.
I'm aware now that there are so many different ways to play any one line.

What makes Harry interesting to play for you?

That he is not perfect. He's capable of being quite arrogant, quite stubborn, pigheaded, and a
little bit selfish. He can make himself something of a martyr when he really doesn't have to. All
those characteristics are wonderful because it separates Harry from the archetypal superheroes
that you so often get in children's literature.

Has JK Rowling offered you any advice on playing Harry since the first film?

I did ask for some advice on the fifth film. I talked to her about Harry's emergence as the leader
of Dumbledore's Army. She said it was very important because it's the first time we see Harry be
a leader, and eventually he's going to have to lead large numbers of people.

If you could have spent your adolescence playing any other character, who would it be?

I was always unbelievably jealous of Tobey Maguire playing Spider-Man. I do think Spidey is
the coolest of superheroes.
In Entertainment Weekly's June 4/11, 2010 double issue, they name who they think are the 100
Greatest Characters of the last 20 years. They ranked
Harry Potter as number two (right
behind Homer Simpson, if you were wondering). Here's a copy of the article by Jeff Jensen
including Q&A with Daniel Radcliffe.
#2: Harry Potter
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