Yes, I’m a day late (it was first published on the 26th of June), but it is the twentieth anniversary of Harry Potter.
I was at the end of my schooling when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone came out. So, I wasn’t exactly thrilled by a book craze about a little wizard boy and his magic wand, complete with cutesy illustrated covers.
I moved to London shortly afterwards, and was watching live on television when the casting for the first movie was announced. However, it was also the time the first Lord of the Rings movie was released, and I was accidentally in Leicester Square the evening of the world premiere (which meant I got to watch all the red carpet arrivals, even though half of them weren’t famous yet – Orlando Bloom? Viggo Mortensen? Who’re they?!).
The media in England set up a fan war between the two franchises, with plenty of British newspapers printing long lists of “evidence” J. K. Rowling plagiarised J. R. R. Tolkien. I believed it at the time; not anymore.
Eventually, my boss made a deal with me: she’d read my Lord of the Rings books if I gave Harry Potter a chance. I was about twenty, and not that interested, but in the end I did actually enjoy them (though I never finished the series).
My favourite character was that Bulgarian (? – Hungarian?) wizard guy who was Hermione’s boyfriend for about three seconds. I wanted them to end up together!
My boss HATED The Lord of the Rings (I don’t really blame her); she couldn’t get past the first twenty-thousand pages describing all the Hobbits. I didn’t hold it against her that she didn’t finish.
So, I’m no Harry Potter fangirl, but this was definitely an important Book-World anniversary to mark. We need another quality book franchise for the next generation. Maybe next time everyone won’t be raging misogynists and will let the female author publish under her real – feminine – name.