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The History of Harry Potter

3rd June 2014 Print

One of the most incredible success stories of the last two decades has to be that of J.K.Rowling, who started out as a relative nobody and, with the help of her writing and perseverance, become very much a somebody.

All the books in her Harry Potter series rank high in best-selling books of all time lists, and equally the film adaptations include some of the highest-earning films ever created.

If you were ever wondering what exactly happened to make Harry Potter such big news, this time line should give you a good insight.

1995 – J.K Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone five years after first getting the idea of the character on a crowded train from Manchester to London.

She sent the manuscript off to prospective agents, and the second one offered to represent her. Bloomsbury was the only one of nine publishers to accept the manuscript, offering her £2,500 in advance to publish it.

1997 – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in the United Kingdom on 30 June.

1998 – The book was released in the US by Scholastic, who insisted on renaming it 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone' for the American Market.

This was the year that Rowling also sold the film rights of the first four books to Warner Bros, even before they had been published. The amount was reported as £1 million. Rowling was able to keep a close eye on the proceedings of the film, demanding that the main cast be played by British actors except where the books stated otherwise.

1999 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is published in July in the UK.

1999 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is published in July in the UK.

2000 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is published in July in the UK and in the US.

Filming began in 2000 for the first film of the series, and would end in 2001.

2001 – The first film in the Harry Potter series is released, and only three days later the production for the next film began.

2003 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the largest book of the series, is published in June.

2004 – The film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is released. It will end up grossing a huge $796,688,549.

2005 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is published, again in July, and sold 9 million copies in just the first day of it release.

2007 – The final book in the Harry Potter series is released, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and sells 11 million copies in its first day of release.

2010 – The first part of the final film in the series is released, and took $2,301,794,524 at the box office.

2011 – The second part of the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is released and grossed over $1 billion.

This was also the year the Warner Bros opened an attraction to showcase the film sets (find out more at

2012 – Rowling’s site was launched, giving Potter fans a whole new level of information to enjoy around Rowling’smost famous  work.

Focusing on Rowling’s unpublished text, downloadable versions of the books and the re-telling of the stories in an interactive way, Rowling continues to work on the site and release new versions.

And there's our Harry Potter timeline. An incredible story in more ways than one.