J.K. Rowling shares a heartfelt message with fans on the 20th anniversary of the very first Harry Potter book. The Philosopher's Stone was released in the U.K. on May 26th, 1997 and soon the world fell in love with Harry Potter. The author's fictional world full of magic and darkness went on to become one of the most beloved book series and movie franchises in publishing and Hollywood history. At this time 20 years ago, Rowling was a struggling single mother who had no idea what was in store for her after she created the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
"20 years ago today a world that I had lived in alone was suddenly open to others. It's been wonderful. Thank you."
Nearly 10,000 fans and peers (at the time of this writing) have responded to her message, thanking her for the world that she created. It's hard to put into words what Rowling has done for reading alone. Many children and young adults who might not have been interested in picking up a book before learned to read through her vision. An installment in the movie series would come out and fans had to know what happened next, so it was off to the library or the bookstore (remember those?) to tear into a new book to retrieve the information from within the book.
The release of a new J.K. Rowling Harry Potter book became an event all over the world. Bookstores would throw Harry Potter themed parties and start selling the book at midnight with a line of people eager to get their hands on the new story, with fans wrapped around the corner. These hardcore fans would then go home, not sleep, and devour the book within the first 24 hours of its release. Copies of The Deathly Hallows were seen poolside at elite Las Vegas swimming pools within hours of their initial release, showing just how far some hardcore individuals were willing to go to get their fix.
Rowling's magical vision was famously adapted to big Hollywood blockbusters where the author served as an advisor for every movie, making sure that her vision translated the best that it could to the big screen, which meant by the end of the series that the books needed to be turned into 2 movies instead of just one. The 2 movies per book not only delighted moviegoers, but also the movie industry as a whole as the movies went on to break box office records. After the books and after the movies came the inevitable theme park attraction. Universal Studios in Florida and California offer fans an entirely unique way to immerse themselves even further into Rowling's created world.
20 years later and Harry Potter is still teaching children to read, opening their imaginations to worlds and ideas that J.K. Rowling created. The movies are still huge and Rowling takes her earnings and delivers large portions of them to charity, helping out those who are less fortunate while sharing her social and political beliefs with her massive social media audience. Rowling is currently writing the screenplays for the next Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies that are set up as prequels to the Harry Potter series.