2 May 2023
International Harry Potter Day is 2 May and it's hard to believe it has been 25 years since that name first entered the lexicon.
He and the cast of characters from the J. K. Rowling books are so familiar, it’s almost as though we can’t remember a time before Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Hogwarts, Quidditch and Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station existed.
"Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone" was released in the United Kingdom on 26 June 1997, but was launched in the United States more than a year later under the amended title "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone." Production subsequently began on the film adaptations, with "Sorceror’s Stone" opening in the cinemas in November 2001. Universal Orlando Resort opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in June 2010, which was later expanded to include a whole second section with a full-scale replica of the Hogwart’s Express running between the two.
There is no question that Harry Potter’s world is still very much alive in the minds of adults and children today, with the love of the books being passed down through the generations. One only has to look at brick-and-mortar stores like Next Chapter, in Camana Bay, to see that J. K. Rowling’s works are considered staples to keep in stock. It's not just books, either, as the store also carries a collection of themed games such as Monopoly and Scrabble, as well as puzzles.
“It is obvious that the Harry Potter series still holds the same magic it did when it first came out because the movies have been replayed countless amounts of time and the books have been read by millions," said Next Chapter Store Manager Paddy Swanick.
Like so many before him, Swanick is a fan in his own right.
“My personal experience with the Harry Potter series is that it opened my eyes and mind to a world of wonder, magic and fantasy,” he said. “Both the Harry Potter books and movies have given me the opportunity to expand and explore my creativity.”
He also feels that the stories incorporate valuable lessons that can be applied well outside the Hogwarts universe.
“I believe that the most important impact that the books had on the world was teaching both children and adults alike that no matter what problems they are faced with, they all have the strength to overcome. Like how Harry Potter had to face off with Lord Voldemort.”
Everyone has their favourite book in the series, whether it is one of the earlier releases, which were a bit more lighthearted, or the later tales, which called upon Harry and his friends to unite against the dark arts. Swanick is no exception.
“My favourite Harry Potter book, by far, is the first book in the series because it is the main reason why I fell in love and became obsessed with both the books and the movies."
This article will also appear in the May 2023 print edition of Camana Bay Times.