Today, I was going to post about my holiday to Canada, but after hearing a piece on the radio yesterday I changed my mind. It was a piece about Harry Potter to mark the 20th anniversary since Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone was first published.
On the 26th June 1997, the first Harry Potter book was published in the UK. It had an initial run of only 500 copies (many of which went to libraries), and Jo Rowling’s name was shortened to JK Rowling because the publishers thought that boys wouldn’t read a book written by a woman.
She was a new author that no one had heard of before, and her first book probably (I’m only guessing here) wasn’t expected to be hugely successful. But 20 years later, the BBC is asking people what the world would be like without Harry Potter.
JK Rowling’s creation has given us hope beyond words in a world that often seems dark. It made people like us realise that it’s ok to be different, and a little rebellious, because different doesn’t mean bad. It means we are individuals who can think for ourselves, and be the most important people in the world. Because when you look at the story, it’s not the ‘normal’ people like the Dursleys who make a difference, or stand up to evil, it is people like us.
What started off as a small-scale book, became a global phenomenon that has transcended all of the differences of it’s readers and movie fans to bring them together in a community that I am proud to be a part of.
I was 15 when the first book came out, and Harry Potter has been a huge influence on my life. I will always be thankful for the gift that JK Rowling gave to us 20 years ago, and continues to give us to this day. It taught me about what it takes to be the good person that I always try to be, and have courage when things are hard, to use my brain to think problems through, the need of friends and family, and to hope in love.
“The toilet’s never had anything as horrible as your head down it— it might be sick.” Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone.