10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Harry Potter Book Series5
By Joy Williams
10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Harry Potter Book Series
Few, if any, literary characters have charmed the world as much as Harry Potter, whose adventures have become best-selling novels and films. With only seven novels in the series, Harry Potter’s epic journey is considered THE best-selling book series of all time.
Harry’s journey begins at age 11, when he learns that he is a wizard. The years that follow are spent at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he learns about sacrifice, loyalty and friendship. His many adventures reveal much about his identity as well as his place in the worlds of good and evil — the forces that make up both factual and fictional worlds. This is not unlike the story of most heroes in literary history, even the young messenger poet in the series Verse who discovers a key to an unsolved murder that pulls him into the literary realms of New York City.
Even though the tale is as old as time, author JK Rowling has crafted an epic tale in a unique world with memorable characters and complex situations. Think you know everything about Harry Potter? Think again.
VERSE: Chapter 1
1. Author J.K. Rowling spent five years writing the first book, while also working on parts of the six sequels at the same time.
2. Book 1 is actually titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but the title was changed to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the U.S.
3. Hermoine Granger began life as Hermoine Puckle, but Rowling decided to opt for something a bit more pleasant. Hermoine almost had a younger sister, too.
4. Rowling is an admitted fan of unique names and words and invented many names and places for the Potter series. Voldemort, Malfoy and Quidditch are all figments of her imagination.
5. That said, King’s Cross station, where the young wizards gather to catch the train, is an actual place. It’s where Rowling’s parents met while traveling. The station has become a tourist attraction.
6. Professor Gilderoy Lockhart, from Book 2, The Chamber of Secrets, is based on a self-absorbed, lying windbag from Rowling’s past. She insists that the mystery man is not her ex-husband.
7. Book 1 was turned down by several publishers. They are no doubt currently found at home, unemployed, and eating their words – considering the series that has sold over 450 million copies to date.
8. Michael Jackson wanted to create a musical based on the series, but Rowling declined this and many other offers for Potter offshoots and merchandise.
9. Despite their success, and the fact that millions of children became avid readers thanks to the series, the books spent five consecutive years on the American Library Association’s 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books list. The challenges are filed to request that books be removed from libraries and schools due to inappropriate content.
10. President Obama has read the entire series.
VERSE: Chapter 2
VERSE: Chapter 3
Joy Williams is a freelance writer and interviewer who works in the entertainment industry. She holds a degree in English from an East Coast university.