“Mr and Mrs Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
And thus began the story of boy wizard, Harry Potter, 20 years ago today. The first novel of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published by Bloomsbury Books on the 26th June 1997.
Conceived by the, at the time, unknown author J.K. Rowling, the novel tells the story of an 11 year old boy who discovers that he has magical abilities, and is enrolled into the Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The story took the world by storm, the novels having now sold over 400 million copies worldwide, and the film adaptations being one of the highest-grossing film franchises of all time. As well as this, the books have been translated into 67 languages, have seen multiple editions published, including fully illustrated copies.
In more recent years, spin-offs of the series have also seen major success. These include the new film series Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, set 70 years before Harry Potter and following the life of magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), and the West End play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, set 19 years on from the original series.
20 years have past, and the love of the series and the vast expanse of dedicated fans has grown in leaps and bounds. There are still so many facets of the series that fans want to explore, and Rowling is still releasing new information about the world of the books via the Pottermore website. Potterheads, it would seem, cannot be tamed, and never will be.
Happy birthday Harry Potter. May the magic long continue.