Twenty years ago today, lucky kids in Britain were introduced to a boy wizard named Harry Potter and the wondrous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in then-unknown author J.K. Rowling's spellbinding debut, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Although the book wouldn't make its way stateside until 1998 — and under the name Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone — Harry Potter became a bona fide muggle phenomenon.
Rowling captured the imaginations of a generation of kids who wanted nothing more than to be on Platform 9¾ on the first day of September. (Professor McGonagall will not accept tardiness under any circumstances.) Harry and his two best friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, were unlikely heroes, and that's what made them and their journey, which spanned the course of seven books, so remarkable.
Monday (June 26) marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and Rowling took to Twitter to celebrate, thanking the fans of the Wizarding World for such a “wonderful” time.
Of course, that's not all Rowling had to offer for Harry Potter's big 2-0. Over the weekend, the best-selling author published a new story about Harry's ancestry on Pottermore. In it, it's revealed that Harry Potter's great-grandfather's name was Henry, but was called Harry by his close friends. Harry, it seems, got his strong moral compass from his great-granddad.
“Henry caused a minor stir when he publicly condemned then Minister for Magic, Archer Evermonde, who had forbidden the magical community to help Muggles waging the First World War,” Rowling wrote. “His outspokenness on the behalf of the Muggle community was also a strong contributing factor in the family's exclusion from the 'Sacred Twenty-Eight.'” (The Sacred Twenty-Eight were a coalition of pure-blood families in the 1930s.)
When she's not posting short stories on Pottermore, Rowling is also busy penning the screenplays for the next four films in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise, which stars Eddie Redmayne and takes place decades before the events of the Harry Potter series. She's also currently working to bring Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the official eighth installment of the Potter story, to Broadway next year.
The abundance of new information being released about the world of Harry Potter, even 20 years later, is a testament not only to Rowling's world-building but also to the dedicated fandom. With seven books, eight films, a successful stage play, and a burgeoning prequel series, Harry Potter is more popular than ever — and it's all thanks to the fans.