From “Behind the Wizard’s Wand: Making the Harry Potter Films” (The Times), a review of “Harry Potter: The Exhibition” (which I saw last November in Seattle):
The Harry Potter films and books are suffused with a reverence for the past. They almost seem to be about the past. And in the exhibition, we feel its weight. ...
Ms. Rowling looks forward and backward simultaneously. The heroic figures are the hybrids, the orphaned, the outcast, the eccentrics, the true inheritors of a great and long tradition. The villains are the pure-blooded absolutists who threaten to overturn it all.
This places the Potter tales right at the center of the 20th-century fantasy tradition that grew out of the work of two British writers around World War II: [C. S.] Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. It also gives the series an almost touching nostalgia for a world about to be destroyed.