Harry Potter has cultivated a die-hard fandom of Potterheads who know everything from their Hogwarts house to the correct pronunciation of “Wingardium Leviosa.”
J.K. Rowling began writing the acclaimed children series in 1990 while on a delayed train from Manchester, England, to King’s Cross station in London. The story follows 11-year-old Harry — an orphan raised by his mean aunt and uncle — who discovers that he’s a wizard. The plot was eventually developed by the U.K. native into a seven-part series of books over the years.
Rowling stated to CBS News that she struggled to write as a single mother of Jessica and living off welfare.
“I’d walk around Edinburgh pushing her in the pushchair and wait till she fell asleep. And then I would literally run to the nearest cafe and write for as long as she stayed asleep,” she said at the time, adding that her book was rejected by “four of five publishers” before she landed a contract.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s StoneThe book was published in the U.K. on 27 September 1997. Rowling sold Rowling’s book to Scholastic. Scholastic then distributes the story with the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s StoneThe United States. This release marked the beginning of a worldwide phenomenon that has sold more than 500 millions copies worldwide.
Rowling felt the pressure to publish more books faster as the Wizarding World became more popular. Rowling was rushed to finish her books. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire — which clocked in at 636 pages — she decided it was time to slow down.
“The pressure of it had become overwhelming,” she told the New Yorker2012. “I found it difficult to write, which had never happened to me before in my life. The intensity of the scrutiny was overwhelming. I was totally unprepared for it. I had to step back. Badly needed to step back.”
The 2001 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio based on the first book was made. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint Emma Watson. The film franchise — which earned more than $7 billion at the box office — ultimately sparked the prequel series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Universal Studios also developed two theme parks from the fantasy series: Universal Orlando Resort in Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood, California.
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