20th Anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

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On the 26th June 1997 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published, making this year the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter’s publication.

20 years ago J.K.Rowling’s novel touched the lives of a generation, with the majority of us growing up alongside Harry Potter. Many adults at the time even fell in love with the story of ‘The Boy Who Lived’.

The book was finally published after many rejections and it is almost unimaginable what our lives would be like if J.K.Rowling gave up and admitted defeat. Instead, she persevered and Bloomsbury published the magical story. That in itself is an admirable feat.

It was even said that J.K.Rowling was told by publishers to find a day job because there was no money in children’s stories. In 2004, she was announced as the first author to become a U.S. dollar billionaire from writing books by Forbes Magazine. Yet again, she proved doubters wrong.

Harry Potter soon became a franchise. There has been much debate as to how it became so successful but many agree it is because J.K. Rowling created a new magical world.

This world, hidden deep within our own grey and bland ‘muggle’ world, created an escape for children and adults alike.

Hogwarts was a school where children would dream of attending, and far more interesting than the school they had to attend every day. Every 11-year-old would be disappointed when no owl came to deliver their Hogwarts acceptance letter on their birthday.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone the National Library of Scotland will host a pop up exhibition in Edinburgh. The library has a vast collection of Harry Potter material, including books with J.K.Rowling’s own personal notes, and it will all be displayed for free from noon until 7pm.

The British Library will also create an exhibition called ‘Harry Potter: A History of Magic’ which will be held from the 20th October 2017 until 28th February 2018. It will be held just across from King’s Cross Station in London.

The exhibition will include artefacts and materials that inspired the story, rare books and original manuscripts from J.K.Rowling’s personal archives and it will be based on the experience of studying at Hogwarts.

Bloomsbury have also released 20th Anniversary editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the house covers which are now on sale.

If you can’t make any of the big exhibitions then Waterstones in Aberdeen, amongst many other branches, are having a Harry Potter evening which is a free event hosted on the 27th June. Between 6 and 7 there will be a crafts and games sessions for the younger fans and between 7 and 8 they will have a Harry Potter quiz.

One can only imagine how boring the world would have been without Harry, Ron and Hermoine. 20 years on the story continues to inspire us and it will always be a timeless classic. Happy Birthday to a story that has touched millions and a very heartfelt thank you to J.K.Rowling for bringing magic into our lives.

Fun facts about Harry Potter:

  • It has sold over 450 million copies worldwide
  • Translated in 79 different languages
  • J.K.Rowling owes much to the publication of Harry Potter to Alice Newton, the 8-year-old daughter of the chair of Bloomsbury Publication who was given the first chapter and demanded to read the other ones.
  • Initially only 1’000 books were published and around 500 went to libraries across the country.
  • Non–English-speaking fans became impatient waiting for translations that they began translating the books themselves. In 2007, a 16-year-old was arrested in France for publishing a pirated translation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows online
  • Rowling decided that the Hogwarts Express would depart from King's Cross station because her parents met on a train to Scotland from King's Cross.
  • Rowling had to learn a lot about folklore and mythology when writing the series
  • Dementors represent depression which Rowling experienced when her mother passed away.
  • Rowling came up with the idea of Harry Potter during a four-hour train delay and always knew how it would end.

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