Twenty years ago, a writer took book lovers across the world on a magical journey with a boy wizard and his two friends, changing the face of children’s literature forever. J K Rowling sat all by herself in a coffee shop in Edinburgh to write about Harry Potter and his fight for survival against arch nemesis Lord Voldemort, a tale so enchanting that it continues to be an integral part of the growing up years of many. Looking back on her spectacular journey, Rowling tweeted, “20 years ago today a world that I had lived in alone was suddenly open to others. It’s been wonderful. Thank you.”
The seven-part book series — “The Philosopher’s Stone”, “The Chamber of Secrets”, “The Prisoner of Azkaban”, “The Goblet of Fire”, “The Order of the Phoenix”, “The Half-Blood Prince” and “The Deathly Hallows” — became so popular that children would queue up outside bookstores hours before they hit the shelves. The massive popularity of the story soon piqued the interest of major Hollywood producers.
It was Warner Bros which gave birth to the eight-part money-spinning “Harry Potter” franchise, starring young Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.
Just like Rowling, who became an overnight star, the popularity of the movie’s three main leads — Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Watson (Hermione Granger) and Grint (Ron Weasley) — was no less than an A-list Hollywood star. The last film “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” released in 2011. The world of Harry Potter, much to the delight of fans, however, did not end with the culmination of books and movies. Rowling’s pen continues to weave magic with the spin-off stories – “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” and “Quidditch Through the Ages”.
A play titled “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two” was also conceived and penned by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany and Rowling. Rowling provides interesting details about the Potter universe through Pottermore, Twitter as well as media interviews. “Fantastic Beasts” is being turned into a five-part film series, the first of which, starring Eddie Redmayne in the role of Newt Scamander, released last year. Both Johnny Depp and Jude Law will be a part of the second film in the series.
Fans of Harry Potter took to social media to celebrate the milestone with ’20 years of Harry Potter’ trending on Twitter while Facebook introduced a special feature for all Potterheads. Publishers Bloomsbury celebrated “house week” by releasing special edition of the first book in the colours of the four houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry — Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw.
Even after 20 years, Harry Potter lives on in the hearts of fans. To this, Severus Snape would have said, “Always”.