Harry Potter: twenty years on

Molly Griffiths

 

Harry Potter fans, prepare to feel old. 2017 marks the 20th anniversary since “The Boy Who Lived” entered our lives; the first book in a series that can be said to have defined a generation of children and young adults. There are many reasons why, even if you haven’t seen the movies or read the books—although in which case I must ask why not—this book, and its series, needs to be celebrated. Here are just a couple:

Firstly, the publishing of this book can serve as a form of encouragement to any aspiring writers; it is proof that things can get better for anyone who feels they have hit a low point in life, as was the case for J. K. Rowling during 1997. This is even disregarding the lengthy process the book went through before it was actually taken on by a publishing house. Therefore, if you ever find yourself facing despair—whether in life or in writing some “great novel”—remember that where you start is not necessarily where you end up.

The Harry Potter series as a whole may be said to have defined a generation not just of people, but of literature and fantasy as well. The appearance of Harry and his friends on the world’s bookshelves— whether in bookshops or at home—made everyone want to attend Hogwarts. It can thus be seen to have revolutionized the notion of fantasy for young adults. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this book means celebrating the dreams all readers had of being wizards and witches (or Death Eaters—no one’s judging) after reading this book.

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