You’re a wizard, Harry!
Twenty years ago today, British publisher Bloomsbury released J.K. Rowling’s debut novel, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” the first in the seven-book series about a boy wizard that went on to become a global phenomenon.
The outspoken billionaire author, who was living in relative poverty when she first completed her manuscript, took to Twitter on Monday to celebrate the milestone.
Also marking the occasion was Twitter, which teamed up with Bloomsbury and the series' digital hub Pottermore to release a custom Harry Potter emoji featuring the boy wizard’s iconic lightning scar and glasses. The emoji automatically generates with the bespoke hashtag #HarryPotter20.
Those using the hashtag could have their tweets and photos displayed at the King’s Cross train station in London, where the 11-year-old wizard memorably began his sojourn to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. (The station has boasted an honorary Platform 9 3/4 for years.)
“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” the book’s original title, was first published on June 26, 1997, by Bloomsbury. The initial hardback print run was only 500 copies; however, the complete seven-book series went on to sell more than 450 million copies.
The title “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was used for U.S. audiences when Scholastic published the novel stateside in 1998. The books have also have been translated into 79 languages, including Welsh, Latin and Ancient Greek, according to data released by Bloomsbury.
The best-selling tomes have been adapted into eight blockbuster films, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and a who’s who of British acting talent over the years. Rowling is continuing work on Warner Bros.' "Fantastic Beasts” prequel films, while Harry’s own story continued in the “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” plays that debuted in 2016.