On June 26, 1997, the world learned that Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released in the United Kingdom 20 years ago today. (The title was changed to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the United States, where it came out in September 1998.) To mark the occasion, author J.K. Rowling thanked the millions of readers who brought (and bought) The Boy Who Lived into their lives.
“20 years ago today a world that I had lived in alone was suddenly open to others,” she tweeted. “It’s been wonderful. Thank you.#HarryPotter20.”
Philosopher’s Stone (which is one of those “I remember where I was when I first started reading it” moments — for me, it was in a now-nonexistent Waldenbooks in an upstate New York plaza; feel free to share yours) kicked off the Harry Potter-mania that exists to this day. Rowling’s empire includes seven books in the official series; supplemental works like The Tales of Beedle the Bard and Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide; nine movies, including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Pottermore; The Wizarding World of Harry Potter; and the play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.