JK Rowling's Harry Potter completes 20 years today. Feeling old yet?

Gwen Vasquez
June 27, 2017

Monday marked the 20th anniversary of the publication of J K Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and both Facebook and Google chose to add some magic to the day and celebrate Potter's birthday in their own ways.

Author J.K. Rowling said the book was rejected by "loads" of publishing houses before Bloomsbury took a chance.

Harry Potter fans attend an anniversary presentation at Waterstones bookshop in London June 26, 2017. "Because that world is about people trying to make the world a better place, Harry Potter fans are people who also would try to make the world a better place", she said.

Author JK Rowling had the idea for the stories about a young wizard and his friends and teachers at a school for magic while on a train journey, and she wrote the first book in a small cafe in Edinburgh.

The Observer published a scathing attack on the Harry Potter books in 2000, written by Anthony Holden, who posited that reading the series "is an activity marginally less testing than watching Neighbours". The books' magical world has inspired multiple films, spinoffs, memorabilia and amusement park attractions. "It's been wonderful. Thank you", she wrote.

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The seven books were adapted into eight movies, with the last volume Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows divided into two feature films.

In simple terms, the Harry Potter books have become a cultural phenomenon because they've sold more than 500 million copies worldwide.

After a number of publishers rejected the story, something magical happened and the very first edition of her book was released on June 26, 1997, with a print run numbering in hundreds.

It launched the careers of then-child actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.

Vancouver-based superfan Hannah McGregor - who hosts the Harry Potter-themed podcast "Witch, Please" - says the series has made an indelible mark.

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