jk_rowlingJune 26, 1997, exactly 20 years ago from today is the day that the wizard world and muggle world finally intermingled.  Today marks the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s in the U.S.) Stone, being published. Despite how well known and loved the series is it’s hard to believe that it didn’t have the quickest start up. In J.K. Rowling terms she received “loads” of rejections at first.  It wasn’t until a small publishing company, Bloomsbury, took to the story and spells from the boy who lived and decided to take a chance on Harry and his gang.

The Harry Potter success rate is nothing short of magical.  Originally, only 500 hardback copies were released and around 300 copies were distributed to libraries.  The book didn’t receive much uproar until The Scotsman wrote a notable review that drew some attention. It claimed that the story had “all the makings of a classic,” and that it did. It took over a span of 10 years for the full series to be published. More than 450 million copies of the novels have been sold since the first release date. They have also been translated into a little over 60 languages.  The eight films show a success rate all on their own as well with raking in more than $2 billion dollars. Collectively, the novels and films are valued at around $15 billion dollars. Universal Studios with its two locations in Orlando, FL and Hollywood, CA have also had huge success rates with the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  The parks depict the favorite locations such as King’s Cross Station, Hogsmeade village and even the Hogwarts castle. The sections host rides, stores, walk-through interactions and eateries all mentioned in the novels.

So many people have taken an appreciation for the series and are celebrating today. Facebook and Twitter even casted a few spells of their own to make today even more magical. When the words “Harry Potter,” “Gryffindor,” “Ravenclaw,” “Hufflepuff,” or “Slytherin,” are typed in a post they will show up in their prized house colors.  Also, if those Harry Potter-related words are touched a magic wand appears and sends a few sparks. Twitter has also shown its commemoration by using the hashtag “#HarryPotter20” with its own crooked glasses and lightning bolt emoji to add.  Some are posting on Twitter in reply to well written tweet by J.K. Rowling saying, “20 years ago today a world that I had lived in alone was suddenly open to others.  It’s been wonderful. Thank you. #HarryPotter20.”  Rowling has already received over 10,000 comments on the tweet from loving and appreciative fans.

Bloomsbury, the publishing company, has taken its own efforts to celebrate the boy in the cupboard under the stairs. A few days prior to the anniversary they organized a gathering to break a world record. They invited local kids of Bolton, UK to gather at Town Hall and asked them to dress as Harry Potter with robe, glasses, and wand.  With at least 700 kids in attendance, the Guinness World Record of “Largest gathering of people dressed as Harry Potter” was broken. Bloomsbury has also taken today to release four new editions of the first Harry Potter book each one decked out in the colors and crest of each Hogwarts house.  The paperback and hardback are decorated with different designs. There is also content in the in the new editions that was not featured in the original copies.

20 years ago a true idol was introduced to the muggle world and is celebrated today for all of the amazing things that he has brought.  Harry Potter showed the world bravery and introduced empathy. He also taught lessons on bullying, friendship, and perseverance. His legend has lived on for 20 years and it will continue to do so.  People will ask “Harry Potter is still successful? After all this time?” and there will be just one response: Always.

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