If, today, you encountered social media, a periodical, or—in any likelihood—another person, you undoubtedly learned, quickly, that this was no common Monday. Or perhaps you already knew. In any case, exactly twenty years ago, J.K. Rowling’s debut novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone—the first in a magical series of seven—was published by Bloomsbury.
Many of us probably remember our first time we discovered Rowling’s wizarding world, one that is dazzling, fanciful and yet, at the same time, warm and familiar. You had always known you were a Gryffindor with a splash of Hufflepuff; you simply didn’t possess the vocabulary. Some of you, perhaps, were born into a world where Harry Potter always existed. And if that’s the case, there’s a strong chance the series shaped the way you understood yourself and the world.
I have two younger sisters, and they began reading the books before me. Then, one idle summer day—the latter half of high school, I think—I picked up a copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Much to my surprise—and likely, to my sisters’ chagrin—I didn’t put it down until I had finished.
My affection for the series has never dwindled. I’ve taken more Sorting Hat quizzes than I care to admit, including the one on Pottermore (I’m a Ravenclaw). If I ever have a daughter, I’ll ensure that she makes Hermione Granger’s acquaintance. I support any educational institution that permits my cat to live with me in the student dormitory.
I expect a number of you also came of age with the Harry Potter series, and I encourage you to discuss your experiences, character analyses, and House Elf politics in the comments. And if you’re interested to know your personality breakdown in terms of Hogwarts houses, I suggest this quiz. For instance, I am significantly Ravenclaw, but with enough traces of Hufflepuff for emotional intelligence and a capacity for empathy—or so the quiz tells me. I certainly haven’t had multiple involved conversations on this topic today, nor have I determined which of my friends would be an excellent Minister of Magic or Hogwarts headmistress.
...okay, that’s enough from me. Go forth without shame or hesitation and immerse yourself in Potterdom.