It was 20 years ago today the world was first introduced to a bespectacled young wizard named Harry: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first released by U.K. publisher Bloomsbury on June 26, 1997.
20 years ago today a world that I had lived in alone was suddenly open to others. It’s been wonderful. Thank you.#HarryPotter20
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 26, 2017
(The U.S. met Harry a year later; Scholastic released Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in September 1998.)
And how Harry’s world has expanded in the past two decades. The seven books in the Potter series have sold more than 450 million copies in 79 languages around the globe.
Plus, they’ve spawned eight movies covering Harry’s story; a play in London (and, come April 2018, New York); theme parks at three Universal Studios locations; a new five-film series set in the same world, focusing on Newt Scamander; tie-in books with proceeds benefitting charities; coloring books; video games…and that’s before you look at the contributions of a thriving fandom or the charitable and other work by Potter author J.K. Rowling.
Celebrating 20 years
Just in case you need an excuse to re-read the Potter series, Pottermore has started a Wizarding World Book Club in honor of the Philosopher’s Stone 20th anniversary.
The book club kicked off last week, and will host discussions on Twitter at @WWBookClub every Friday at 4 p.m. London time (that’s 11 a.m. on the East Coast, 8 a.m. in Phoenix). The discussions will cover different topics each week, starting with topics covering Philosopher’s Stone for the next five weeks, then moving on to each book in turn.
You can register to see each week’s topic by signing up for a Pottermore account.
As long as you’re reading Philosopher’s Stone yet again, why not do so with a brand new edition that puts your house pride on display?
Bloomsbury has released special 20th anniversary house editions, with four different covers for each of the four Hogwarts houses. Each edition also includes facts and profiles of noteworthy characters from that house.
(For instance, MuggleNet reports the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw editions reveal Professors Sprout and Flitwick used to be in a relationship.)(UPDATE: This Sprout-Flitwick tidbit was actually sourced from a fake J.K. Rowling tweet, ended up in the books by mistake and was removed from subsequent editions, according to The Rowling Library.)
If Hermione is your favorite Potter character, you’re not alone.
National Book Tokens and Bloomsbury asked readers to vote on their favorite character in honor of the series’ two decades in print, and Hermione got the largest share of the 10,000 votes cast. Check out the rest of the top 20 on the National Book Tokens website.