20 years ago, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was published. JK Rowling's enchanting tale of a boy-wizard has touched generation upon generation. And fans are demonstrating their love for the series in the most surprising ways.
Those who loved the books when they were children are now grown and old enough to have children of their own. Many new parents are passing down their love of all things Hogwarts to their children. And Harry Potter-themed baby photo shoots are just one of the ways parents are spreading the magic.
The influence of Rowling's series has spread far and wide into our culture. Fans have also been planning Harry Potter-themed weddings. It's not only for nuptials, however, and one girl even had a Harry Potter-themed quinceanera.
A Harry Potter-themed supper club is opening up in London this year. Throughout August and September, the seven-course dinner series will take place at Covent Garden members' club The Library. Tickets have already been selling out!
There's even a Harry Potter-themed summer camp for those who long to escape their muggle lives. Ferrum College offered a Hogwarts Academy as part of their summer enrichment camp. Sure, the "potions" are just chemistry experiments, but that doesn't mean they're not still magical!
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was published on June 26, 1997. After facing a series of rejection after rejection, Bloomsbury Publishing decided to take a chance on the single mother's literary works. And the world was never the same again...
The Harry Potter novels have been cited with boosting literacy amongst children. A survey among teachers found that 84 percent said "that the boy wizard has had a positive impact on children's reading abilities and 73% admit that they have been surprised by some of the children that have managed to read Potter."
The books are more than just fun. Evidence suggests that they have had a hand in creating a more tolerant society. An Italian survey has also found that the Harry Potter novels have helped instill empathy in the children who read them. Additionally, the Harry Potter novels play a role in helping children accept stigmatized groups because stigmatized groups are featured so prominently in the novels.
Additionally, the Harry Potter novels were responsible for a rise in boarding school attendance. Before the novels were released, boarding school attendance was in decline. However, in the late '90s, the interest in boarding schools increased, which was dubbed, "the Harry Potter effect."
The seven novels in the Harry Potter series were released over a 10 year time span. Older generations had to wait sometimes several years for the next installment of the saga. However, younger Harry Potter fans will never know the agony of anticipating the next book.
The Harry Potter novels have made Rowling, who was once a single mother on welfare, a billionaire. In fact, Rowling was the first woman to become a billionaire from writing. She has since dropped down in her status due to her charitable donations. She's now just a multi-millionaire, which still isn't too shabby!
The final Harry Potter novel was released on July 21, 2007. However, Rowling has still continued to play around with the characters. Rowling has released Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, plus 18,000 words of additional content on the Pottermore website. She has also written actual books versions of Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Tales of Beedle the Bard that even muggles can enjoy.
Rowling has also tried her hand in writing non-Potter released fiction. Her first adult novel was entitled A Casual Vacancy. She has also published a series of crime novels under the pen-name Robert Galbraith.