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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Latest About:Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

‘Harry Potter’ turns 20

Best ‘Harry Potter’ Book Plotlines and Scenes Left Out of the Movies

On Harry Potter’s 20th Anniversary, Listen To His NPR Debut

Harry Potter (Literary Series)Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Novel series
Harry Potter is a series of fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling. The novels chronicle the life of a young wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, all .
Author: J. K. Rowling
Number of books: 7
First book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Characters: Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Lord Voldemort, More
Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Drama, Young adult fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Bildungsroman
Publishers: Bloomsbury Publishing (UK), Scholastic Corporation (US)

Copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, on sale in an Arlington, Virginia bookstore in 2000.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

The first book of the Harry Potter series went on sale in the U.K. 20 years ago today. It offers a convenient excuse to reacquaint yourself with a world before anyone on this side of the Atlantic had heard of muggles, horcruxes or pensieves, before tourists would crowd into London’s Kings Cross railway station simply to peer wistfully at the space between Platforms Nine and Ten.

Here’s the first story NPR ever aired about Harry Potter — a wonderful piece by the late Margot Adler, from All Things Considered in 1998.

Some gems, from that bygone era:

  • “Most people in the U.S. have never heard of Harry Potter. It’s not a title you see in the window at your local Barnes & Noble.”
  • Rowling’s recollection of how Harry came to her while she stared out a train window at some cows.
  • Margot Adler’s uncannily accurate prediction that the word “muggle” will become a Whole Big Thing.
  • A Q and A session in which a kid asks Rowling about her writing, and Rowling reads the Reptile House scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
  • A quote from a bookstore manager marveling at the fact that they’ve sold “hundreds” of copies.
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