Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary

June 26, 2017 marked the 20th anniversary of the UK publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (published one year later in the US as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone).


“20 years ago today a world that I had lived in alone was suddenly open to others,” author J.K. Rowling tweeted on June 26. “It’s been wonderful. Thank you.”


Rowling began drafting the first installment in the Potterverse in various coffee shops in Edinburgh, initially receiving numerous rejections from publishers. After its eventual publication by Bloomsbury in 1997, Philosopher’s Stone has “sold more than 450 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 79 languages”, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.


The series quickly became a cultural phenomenon by the 2000s: it spawned a blockbuster film franchise helmed by Warner Brothers, which grossed nearly $2 billion worldwide; a series of video games, and exciting features on Pottermore, the “digital heart of the Wizarding World”.  Three Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando, Hollywood, and Japan were opened in recent years, inviting Potterheads from all over the world to relive the Hogwarts experience.


To celebrate the anniversary, Bloomsbury released four new collector’s editions of Philosopher’s Stone, one for each Hogwarts house. “These stunning editions will each feature the individual house crest on the jacket and sprayed edges in the house colours,” the publisher stated on its website ahead of the anniversary. “Exciting new extra content will include fact files, profiles of favourite characters and line illustrations exclusive to that house.”

On the morning of June 26, fans flocked to King’s Cross railway station in London to pose for photos on the stretch of wall where the entrance to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters would have been. Just a few days before, 676 students from schools across Bolton, England had set a new world record for the largest gathering of people dressed as Harry Potter.


The series has certainly left its mark on Dublin High students as well, many of whom have grown up reading the books and are faithful followers of the Potterverse.


Harry Potter is absolutely my favorite book and movie series… I have fallen in love with the characters and the world they live in,” incoming junior Trinity Wong told The Dublin Shield. “The 20th anniversary was really just an excuse for me to binge watch all of the movies for the millionth time.”


“I first picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in second grade in an attempt to best my friend in a reading competition,” added Alice Wong, a fellow incoming junior. “The story drew me in, opening my eyes to the world and helping me to develop a sense of adventure. To this day, the series [and] its characters hold a very special place in this Hufflepuff’s heart.”


Twenty years ago, the world was introduced to Harry Potter for the first time. Twenty years later, the enthusiasm still hasn’t diminished.