Is Harry Potter seriously turning 25? Riddikulus!

·2-min read
Harry Potter stars (from left) Ruper Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe
Harry Potter stars (from left) Ruper Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe

Harry Potter turns 25 next month which, as well as making a lot of people feel very old, is going to put everyone’s favourite boy wizard back in the headlines thanks to a slew of new publications and commemorative events

When is the big day?

June 26 is the date to circle on your wall calendar if you’re a Potter-loving Millennial (and in Gryffindor red, if that is your wish). It was on that day in 1997 that Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone first hit the bookshops and introduced a generation of young readers to Harry, Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, Hogwarts and the rest of it. Six more novels would follow and by the time the last was published in 2007 both Harry and his creator – Edinburgh-based author JK Rowling – had become a cultural phenomenon. People actually used to queue outside bookshops when a new instalment was about to be issued.

A long time ago then?

Yes indeed. Tony Blair had just become Prime Minister, Cool Britannia was in the offing, Teletubbies premiered on UK television, Titanic was bringing audiences to tears in the country’s multiplexes, the UK had just won the Eurovision Song Contest (imagine that!) and a small company in Dundee launched a video game called Grand Theft Auto. Oh, and though the Spice Girls were the band on everyone’s lips, Hanson were at number one with MMMBop.

So what’s happening in 2022?

Well, you can buy a boxed set of all the novels in the house colours of your choice (go Hufflepuff!), there’s an exhibition of all things Potter at The Story Museum in Oxford, and on the day of the Silver Anniversary itself a Harry Potter Fans Film will be released on social media featuring Potter-heads talking about their love of the series and their reader experience of the novels. Ahead of that, on June 9, publisher Bloomsbury are bringing out a special limited edition hardback version of the original novel complete with Thomas Taylor’s now-iconic cover art. It shows Harry standing next to the Hogwarts Express on Platform Nine And A Half, rubbing his chin in a way which says: ‘I wonder who’ll play me in the movie?’

And who did?

Daniel Radcliffe of course, though that was a few years away. He was only seven when the book was published and 11 when the first of the films was released. He’ll turn 33 in July, which is older than Rowling was in 1997.

Fun fact?

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone was published in hardback and the initial print run was a mere 500 copies, of which 300 went to schools and libraries. Today, these change hands for considerably more than the original £10.99 cover price – a copy annotated by JK Rowling herself sold at auction for £150,000 in 2013.

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