The Harry Potter universe

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If you are looking for Harry Potter reviews then this post is not for you. You will however find all kinds of information and fun facts about the books. You should take a look here for the book reviews:

So there are 7 books, as we all know, and 8 movies (they cut the last book up into two movies). It’s about Harry Potter, a young orphaned wizard and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Every book represents a school year at Hogwarts, the school of Witchcraft and Wizardry and they are fighting this big bad evil wizard Lord Voldemort.

The books were originally published as children’s books but they were also very successful with adults. The first book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books in June 1997 (under the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the USA). The second book came out a year later in July 1998 and the third book another year later in July 1999. The Goblet of Fire was published simultaneously in Britain, the USA, Canada and Australia in July 2000. It had a record first print of 1 million copies in the UK and 3.8 million in the US. In the first weekend of sales, it already broke records for the biggest number of books sold. The fifth book, the longest in the series, appeared three years later in June 2003 and the paperback was released in July 2004. It also broke records: for the fastest selling book in history (the previous record was set by the fourth Harry Potter book by the way). The penultimate book was released in all English-speaking countries in July 2005 and it also broke sales records. The final book was also published in all English-speaking countries at the same time: in July 2007 and it then became the fastest selling book both in the UK and the USA.

Besides the seven books, Rowling also wrote two accompanying volumes for Comic Relief. She published a spoof version of Harry’s school books: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and also Quidditch Through The Ages complete with doodles and notes supposedly done by Harry himself.

In 2008, Rowling also wrote a Harry Potter prequel. She published it online after auctioning off the original hand-written copy for charity. It’s only 800 words and it’s set three years before Harry’s birth. Furthermore, she also released The Tales of Beedle the Bard in 2008. This is the book given by Professor Dumbledore to Hermione Granger upon his death. The back reads:

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers’ attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger’s new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J.K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore. Never before have Muggles been privy to these richly imaginative tales: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot”, “The Fountain of Fair Fortune”, “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart”, “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump” and of course “The Tale of the Three Brothers”. But not only are they the equal of fairy tales we know and love, reading them gives new insight into the world of Harry Potter.

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  • FUN FACT: the Harry Potter books have been translated into 77 languages

Like I said, there are 8 movies. The first movie came out under the British name: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and was directed by Chris Columbus. It opened in the UK in November 2001 and broke all box office records. The second film came out only a year later in November 2002, also under the direction of Chris Columbus. The third film however was directed by Alfonso Cuarón and was released simultaneously in the UK and USA in June 2004. The fifth book, under the direction of Mike Newell, came out in November 2005. The Order of the Phoenix appeared in July 2007 and The Half-Blood Prince in July 2009, both under the direction of David Yates. The final two films were also directed by David Yates and were released on November 2010 and July 2011. The Deathly Hallows Part 2 is the highest grossing instalment of all Harry Potter films and the third highest grossing film of all time worldwide.

Rowling has been recorded saying she will not write anymore books about Harry. She did say she might publish background information about the magical universe she has created. It became clear in 2011 that this information would be released through Pottermore: a website launched in 2011 that became available to the public in April 2012. The website lets you live the story in a new way by taking you through the books, chapter by chapter. You can unlock information and exclusive content by playing.

Besides that, you can also learn a lot about the Harry Potter universe by reading her interviews. But if you surf the internet at all, you know that. For example, she caused quite the stir when she revealed Dumbledore to be gay. If you want to know more, check out this transcript of a web chat with the author. Here are a few interesting titbits of the interview that I really liked!

  • Harry and Voldemort are distantly related through the Peverells (the brothers from the Deathly Hallows story)
  • Harry became an Auror and eventually came to lead the department
  • Ron went to work with George at Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes
  • Ginny became a professional Quidditch player (for the Holyhead Harpies) and when she retired to have her family, she became the Quidditch correspondent at the Daily Prophet
  • Hermione started at the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures and then she moved to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
  • George Weasley calls his first son Fred, after his twin brother
  • After Harry returns from the dead (and is no longer a horcrux), he is no longer a parseltongue
  • Harry, Ron and Hermione get their own chocolate frog cards

And there are more Harry Potter stories coming up, which I will tell you about in a later post.

So that’s it! This was an overview of the Harry Potter universe so far with some fun facts and the like. I hope you enjoyed it! Be sure to take a look at my reviews of the books if you want to know what I thought of the stories. So what do you think about these fun facts? Did you know all of this? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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