Harry Potter at 20: Fans celebrate two decades of Hogwarts, witchcraft and wizardry

JK Rowling's first novel in the series published on 26 June 1997 and went on to sell 450 million copies in 79 languages

Laura Harding
Monday 26 June 2017 11:02
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Children dressed as Harry Potter at Smithills Hall in Bolton, before they broke Guinness World Record for the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as the boy wizard
Children dressed as Harry Potter at Smithills Hall in Bolton, before they broke Guinness World Record for the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as the boy wizard

Harry Potter fans around the world will today celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first book about The Boy Who Lived.

Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone was first published on 26 June 1997 and has since sold more than 450 million copies worldwide in 79 languages.

It has also led to a major movie franchise, a sold-out theatre production and multiple theme parks, as well as a booming memorabilia market.

Author JK Rowling had the idea for the stories about a young wizard and his friends and teachers at a school for magic while on a train journey and wrote the first book in a small cafe in Edinburgh.

The Elephant House has since become a tourist attraction for fans of the series.

Rowling's follow-up to The Philosopher's Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, was published the following year in 1998, while Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban was published in 1999.

They were followed by Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, The Order Of The Phoenix, The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows.

Daniel Radcliffe starring as Harry Potter in the first film instalment of the series

The first film, which propelled stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint to global fame, was released in 2001 and the franchise wrapped up in 2011.

Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, a two-part West End Stage play written by Jack Thorne and based on a story by Rowling, opened on 30 July 2016.

In honour of the 20-year anniversary, an exhibition celebrating the magic of Harry Potter will open at the British Library on 20 October, while Rowling's publisher Bloomsbury will release four new editions of the book, one for each house at Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft & Wizardry.

The covers feature the crest for each house and inside are fact files, character profiles and illustrations.

The Pottermore, the online home of Harry Potter, recently announced a Wizarding World Book Club, allowing fans to revisit their favourite books and discuss them online.

Press Association

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