My first encounter with Harry Potter was when I was substitute teaching. At the end of the day the teacher was reading to the class: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. I've never seen kids more enraptured or a book so quirky. I enjoyed both. This led me to the question: why?
As a species we love order, we love to make sense of things and when literature, or art, or anything creative accomplishes this, we call it divine. Was J.K. Rowling touched by the Gods? Maybe, and I'm happy it happened in my lifetime. Just as Dickens was able to play the lyre of our hearts, so to did Rowling.
But what is it that entranced us so? Was it the story of an orphan boy? That's been done, many times before. Was it the battle between good and evil? Or of love and sacrifice? Done, many times over.
You've heard of Quantum mechanics? Well, I don't know much about it, but what I do know is that you can't observe it, because the moment you do, you effect its behaviour. The feeling inspired by the Harry Potter series is like that, you can't explain it. It was, is, and will continue to be magnificent.
It created within me the desire to write something in that milieu, not because I wanted to write like Rowling, or create a world like she did, but because I wanted to extend that 'quirky', enjoyable experience I had when I read her books. So I wrote the 'Colin' series: Colin and the Rise of The House of Horwood, Colin and the Little Black Box and (I've just finished it: and will release it on Smashwords.com) Colin and The Revenant.
I would be so brave as to say that Rowling has affected a generation of readers and writers (I should say generations, because 'The boy who lived' will be around for a long time.