Harry Potter retains magic after two decades

Updated 2017-06-27 11:36:49 Xinhua
Harry Potter fans attend an anniversary presentation at Waterstones bookshop in London, Britain June 26, 2017.

Harry Potter fans attend an anniversary presentation at Waterstones bookshop in London, Britain June 26, 2017.

Boy wizard Harry Potter made his world debut exactly 20 years ago Monday when the first of the spell binding books by J. K. Rowling was published.

Two decades on, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and its sequels, lost none of their magic.

Instead, the exploits of Harry and his friends were transformed into films, a stage play, theme parks and branded goods, becoming a multi-million dollar industry.

Yet the be-speckled wizard hero started life in the imagination of writer Joanne Rowling as she made a train journey between London and Northern England.

With storylines fixed in her mind, she scribbled away in cafe's in Edinburgh as her baby slept nearby in a pram.

After a number of publishers rejected the story, something magical happened and the very first edition of her book was released on June 26, 1997, with a print run numbering in hundreds.

Until then life had been a financial struggle for Rowling, but the success of her books made her a multi-millionaire.

Those lucky enough to have snapped up the first-run copies are also sitting on a small fortune, with those books selling for thousands of dollars.

So far the seven Potter books have reached worldwide sales heading towards half a billion copies. The books proved popular with adults as well as children, so much so, special covers were designed for grown-up readers.

Some of the books were even released for sake at midnight, causing thousands of kids to skip bedtime to excitedly queue at bookstores that remained open all night.

Some of the words dreamt up by Rowling even found their way into the Oxford English Dictionary, including "muggle," her name for a person without magical powers.

Harry Potter also created a new tourism industry with people making trips to locations made famous in the books and movies.

Many start their journey looking for platform Nine and Threequarters at London's King's Cross Station, departure point of the famous Hogwarts Express, the steam train that transported Potter and his schoolmates to the fictional school for wizards and witches.

Rowling marked the anniversary with a message on her social media site, saying: "20 years ago today a world that I had lived in alone was suddenly open to others. It's been wonderful. Thank you."

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