It’s hard to imagine that 20 years has passed since J.K Rowling published her first Harry Potter novel back in June 1997. The series itself is magical but the story that took Joanne Rowling to become the author of the best selling book series in history is just as magical.
A rags to riches story sees J.K Rowling conceiving the idea for the Harry Potter series on a delayed train in 1990. Within the next seven years, she had to deal with the death of her mother, a miscarriage, the birth of a child, a divorce from her husband (who reportedly abused her), and no job with all this leading to clinical depression and contemplating suicide.
In 1995 J.K Rowling completed the manuscript of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and was submitted to twelve publishing houses; all of which rejected the manuscript. It took 12 months for London publishing company Bloomsbury to sign a deal with J.K Rowling after the 8 year old daughter of Bloomsbury Chairman requested more chapters after she was given the first chapter to review.
In June 1997, Bloomsbury published Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with an initial print run of 1000 in which 500 were distributed to libraries. (This print run are now worth between £16,000 and £25,000 today).
With additional books added to the series and a movie deal with Warner Bros in 1998, J.K Rowling went from living on state benefits to multi-millionaire status within five years. She is currently estimated to be worth £600 million and is the United Kingdom’s best-selling living author, with sales in excess of £238M.
She is also know as one of the most charitable UK celebrities giving away approximately 16% of her net worth supporting a number of charities in the UK. She has also founded a charity called Lumos (the name coming from a light-giving spell in the Harry Potter books) which promotes an end to the institutionalisation of children worldwide.
Twenty years on the Harry Potter franchise still continues to be one of the best series for children of today with more and more children picking up the series each year. The Harry Potter effect has also inspired kids to read. It is a series that keeps on giving with spin off books including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch through the Ages and The Tales of Beedle the Bard.
J.K Rowling also announced in 2016 that she is releasing three more Hogwarts-themed books. The books will revolve around the magical world in which Harry learnt his magical ways, and will explain a bit of the backstory relating to other characters.
The books will be available as e-books as part of a series called ‘Pottermore Presents’, and bring together new stories and first-person reflections on the wizarding world.
20 Fun Facts about the Harry Potter series
- J.K Rowling and Harry Potter share the same birthday-31st July
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone contains 77, 869 words and 1,100,086 words in the whole series.
- Fred & George Weasley were born on April Fools Day
- J.K Rowling seriously considered killing Ron Weasley mid series
- Both Daniel Radcliffe (Harry) and Rupert Grint (Ron) admitted that they had a crush of Emma Watson (Hermione) at one point. Emma Watson said she had a crush on Tom Felton (Draco), who admitted he had a crush on Helena Bonham-Carter!
- Daniel Radcliffe broke 80 wands throughout the series
- J.K Rowling makes about $8 ever second
- In most of the films Harry’s glasses don’t actually have lenses in them, Daniel Radcliffe just wore the frames.
- More than 17,000 British and American child actors auditioned for the role of Harry Potter including Tom Felton, the actor who plays Draco Malfoy.
- During the filming of the second movie — Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — a severe case of head-lice broke out among many of the young actors on the set.
- The inspiration for the Weasley family’s car was a real-life motor JK Rowling and her best friend used to own.
- Rowling revealed that Dumbledore was gay, but those involved in making Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince had known long before her announcement. During the making of Half Blood Prince, Rowling saw a reference in the script to a girl Dumbledore had supposedly had a crush on, which she insisted on cutting on the grounds that he’d only ever had eyes for Grindelwald.
- Fourteen Ford Anglias were wrecked in the filming of the scene where Harry and Ron crashed into the Whomping Willow.
- Hugh Grant was originally cast as Gilderoy Lockhart but due to other filming commitments, Kenneth Branagh was cast.
- Alan Rickman wore black contacts for his role of Snape.
- Harry Melling (Dudley Dursley) lost so much weight between the filming of Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban that he no longer fit the heavy-set character’s description. Instead of recasting him, though, producers decided to put him in a fat suit for the movie.
- Filming the “Seven Harrys” scene in the Deathly Hallows was insanely complex. Daniel Radcliffe counted over 90 takes just for that single shot.
- Dementors are based off J.K. Rowling’s time of depression in her twenties.
- Arthur Weasley was supposed to die in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but was replaced with Sirius.
- J.K Rowling admits that she regrets pairing Hermione with Ron. She predicted that the couple would need relationship counseling.