Harry Potter: Celebrating 20 Years

“This boy will be famous. There won’t be a child in our world that won’t know his name. There will be books about him, he will be a legend.”
– Minerva McGonagall

Even as I sit here writing this, even knowing I have constructed an entire month long celebration running on my blog, a small part of me cannot get my head around that it has been twenty years since Philosopher’s Stone was first published. Ten years I could comprehend, but twenty? It’s just, mind boggling. Harry Potter has been such a huge part of my life for the past twenty years. I can connect so many moments of my life around these novels and these movies it’s incredible that it has been so long since it first began; it honestly does not feel like it has been 20 years.

I was 9 years old when Philosopher’s Stone was published, and I was in my second year of uni when Deathly Hallows was published in 2007. From ages 9 to 19 Harry Potter was a key part of my life. I have so many memories associated with this series that it’s hard to picture my childhood basically without it.

Even the fact that in the tenth anniversary year (2007) the story was concluded, and now here we are ten years on again and it’s a duplicate celebration, ten years since the series finished, and twenty years since it all began. We can get even more meta when I remind you all that the epilogue of Deathly Hallows also takes place in 2017! (but we can get to that later).

Of course having the movies has added extra milestones and something to look forward to. The final movie came out in 2010 and even that does not feel like it was that long ago. Perhaps it’s because Harry Potter and his wizarding world is so much of our culture now. It is so incredibly popular and so ingrained in society that we’ve never really escaped it. It’s always there in some form, making it feel like it never really ended.

Key memories I have of this series include:

  • Having Philosopher’s Stone read to us in primary school and reading along quietly in my own copy at the same time before being told off for reading along when I should just be listening.
  • Staying up until about 3:30am reading Goblet of Fire under the blankets and trying not to gasp and squeal too loudly at everything that was happening. (I also learnt it is hard to read under covers because it gets quite stuffy, I don’t see the charm)
  • Having to read the latest book as quickly as possible so it could be passed around the family so they could all read it as well.
  • Foolishly thinking it was ok to wait until my birthday for that latest book (released a few weeks earlier) before realising it was torture and stressing over spoilers (this plan lasted only twice).
  • Having intense discussions between classes in high school about theories about Half-Blood Prince and what “Severus, Please ” actually meant. Like, intense discussions.
  • Being told (incorrectly) Professor McGonnegal died in Order of the Phoenix and panicking anytime she did anything.
  • Rereading every book before the next one was released so I was up to date with what had happened.

Over the past twenty years I have reread the series numerous times, I have obsessed over fun facts and theories, enjoyed the myriad of content that it has inspired, had passionate arguments/debates about characters and scenes, and I have fallen in loved every time I open the first page.

I have been lucky enough to go to the Harry Potter Experience in England, I’ve tried Butterbeer which I would drink all day long if I could, and I have gotten my picture taken “running” through platform 9 3/4.  The one thing I am still waiting on is my Hogwarts letter (I would make a very good mature aged student.)

I can only imagine what the next twenty years has in store for the Harry Potter series as new fans discover the books and old fans grow more attached (if that’s even possible). I look forward to the day when it’s hailed as a classic, though I am fairly certain that day has already arrived.


Happy 20th Anniversary, Harry Potter.

The world wouldn’t be the same without you.

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