Monday, June 26, 2017

Julie's Journal : Harry Potter's 20th Anniversary

Today marks 20 years since the release of the 1st Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and the beginning of a worldwide phenomenon.

I didn't discover the books right away.  I was in college and had come home for a weekend, probably in the spring of 1999.  My dad had checked the first two books out of Franklin County Library, and he handed them to me and said I needed to read them.  I had never heard of them and he told me there was controversy around the books, and that I should read them and decide if the books were evil, promoting witchcraft, or if they were innocent, lovely books about good vs. evil.

I was hooked from the first chapter.  I read both books that weekend, and then went back to college and opened an account, just so I could order my own copies, along with the 3rd book.  I became a defender of the books, and anytime I heard someone talking about how evil they were and how they promoted witchcraft to children, I asked if they had read the books. Then when they had inevitably not, handed them a copy and told them to decide after they had read them for themselves.

The summer of 2000 found me interning in Dallas with an accounting firm, and living with my future in-laws.  I remember astounding them when I ordered the 4th book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, to be delivered on the release date, and then sat down and read all 734 pages of it in one day.

Books 5, 6, and 7 were released later, when I was a young wife, working part-time as a tutor.  I read the books along with my 7th and 8th grade students, all of us trying to figure out how the series would end.

I have reread the series a couple of times since, and of course, watched all the movies.  The movies never lived up to the magic of the books, though.

Harry Potter will always be a big part of my young adulthood.  The magical series took me through the huge transitions that happen to everyone at that age, from living away from home for the first time, to getting married and graduating college, to making decisions about where to live and what type of job to pursue.      

I will always love the books, and I'm sure I'll read them again someday, but I envy those who have not yet read the books or seen the movies.  They still have a wonderful world of magic and adventure to discover!


  1. Similar story here except you were the one who loaned me the first 3... After that I was hooked and bought every new one on the day it was released. I have at this point read the series approximately 17 times (some more than others due to reading aloud to my kids etc). I read copiously but they will always be my favorite books!

    1. I didn't see this comment until today - for some reason it had gone to spam. You have definitely outpaced me on the rereads! - Julie