20 years of Harry Potter as told by a 20-year-old

Suzanne Mapes, Associated Press

Author Joanne Rowling poses in a New York bookstore Oct. 17, 1998. The first book in the series “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was published June 26, 1997, in the United Kingdom, and in September 1998 in the United States.

“Kaitlyn, have you read ‘Harry Potter’?” my best friend said one summer afternoon when we were 9 years old.

I wrinkled my nose. “‘Harry Potter?’” I asked, not enchanted by a title that didn’t immediately promise a main character of my age, gender and sass-level (still my favorite kind of protagonist). “What’s it about?”

“Witches and wizards!” My best friend responded with elation. “They have wands and spells and a school called Hogwarts!” Then her eyes rounded, her voice dropping. “All the magic in ‘Harry Potter’ is real, you know. I just got my letter to Hogwarts.”

“Yeah, right,” I said. “And who wants to go to a school called Hogwarts? That sounds gross.”

“It’s true,” my best friend insisted, crossing her arms. “And Hogwarts isn’t gross. Just read the book. Then you can get your letter to Hogwarts, too.”

I initially resisted. No way was I touching a book that made my best friend talk nonsense. But then another friend told me how good it was. Then another and another. Finally, I checked out a copy of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” from the library and, after reading the entire thing in one sitting — left breathless by its colors and characters and gut-punching emotions — I was struck by a…

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