Exactly 20 years ago today, something happened that changed the lives of many people, I would go so far as to say it changed the world. I know that it definitely changed my life in so many ways and it is sure as hell changed the publishing world.
On June 26th 1997, Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone was released. I first read it in 2000 and it was the first book I ever truly adored. I still have all 7 books in my book cases at home, joined by a wand, a Hufflepuff scarf, pictures of the Harry Potter exhibit, all 8 DVDs and more. This was also the first fandom I was a part of, even before I knew what a fandom was. Ask me what my favourite book is and I will tell you I don’t have one, that what I like to read depends on how I’m feeling, what I’m doing and so much more, but I will also always say that one of my all-time favourites is Harry Potter. And to make it even more special, they were also some of the first big reviews I worked on for this blog right here. So many memories!
Rowling’s masterful idea that she got while on a train changed not only her life but the lives of so many readers, both young and old. The books have been translated into over 80 languages, inspired a major movie franchise and theatre productions and is even now continuing on with a new chapter: Fantastic Beasts. Everyone in the world knows of Harry Potter, whether they’ve read the books or seen any of the movies, and it has brought together so many people. It was also one of the first popular books where the publishing world realized they could sell children’s books to adults and when the publishing world showed how powerful it was. A supermarket chain in the UK thought that £17,99 was too expensive for the Harry Potter books so they sued Bloomsbury over the price. Bloomsbury reacted by cancelling their order of 50.000 books, after which the supermarket quickly ended the suit since they couldn’t afford not to be a part of the Harry Potter craze.
So obviously, this magical event needs to be celebrated. Rowling’s publishing house Bloomsbury is definitely doing so. They are releasing four special editions of the first book, styled according to the four Hogwarts Houses (I’m a Hufflepuff by the way, in case somebody doesn’t know and wants to buy me a present…):
On top of that, together with the British Library, they are planning a new exhibition about the magical world of Harry Potter. This exhibition will open on the 20th of October 2017 and it is the first British Library exhibition ever inspired by a single series of books by a living author. What will we be able to see there? Everything from medieval descriptions of dragons and griffins to the origins of the Philosopher’s Stone. More about that, right here!
Naturally, articles have been popping up everywhere in the last few days with the most outrageous, spectacular, interesting Harry Potter fun facts. Here are some of my favorites:
- Harry Potter books have sold over 450 million copies and turned Rowling into a billionaire. She has been on top of the richest people list a few times, but usually loses her place quickly again because she donates so much to charity.
- A Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone first edition is very valuable and can be sold for over £30.000 at auction!
- Since Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, translations weren’t started until after the English book had been released, for fear of leaks. So as soon as the English books hit the shelves, translator teams worked around the clock to get their translation done, proofed and published because every second saw them losing money in favour of the English original.
- Rowling won’t tolerate anyone publishing work set in Hogwarts or in her magical Harry Potter world (obviously), but she does understand the appeal of fan fiction. So she has officially given her seal of approval to fan fiction, as long as you don’t publish or otherwise make money off it (because that would be violating her copyright and, you know, illegal) or turn it into smut.
- Rowling’s books have made reading fun and cool again.
- She was rejected by many publishers before finally being accepted by Bloomsbury.
Want more? Then check out this collection of stories by Buzzfeed about #HarryPotter20. You can also reread all of my reviews and everything Harry Potter-related right here. Be warned, there is a lot, it is one of the biggest categories on my blog after all. And finally, enjoy this history of the Harry Potter books and editions by Bloomsbury. Afterwards, be sure to let me know what Harry Potter meant for you, I’d love to find out.