‘Harry Potter’ 20th anniversary: 20 Potter-y things we’re thankful for

Daniel Radcliffe is shown in a scene from 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.'.
Daniel Radcliffe is shown in a scene from 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.'. AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures

Twenty years ago, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released in the U.K., introducing the story of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley and their magical adventures.

Author J.K. Rowling took to Twitter to pay tribute to the day writing, “20 years ago today a world that I had lived in alone was suddenly open to others. It’s been wonderful. Thank you #HarryPotter20.”

She included the hashtag in honour of the milestone anniversary, #HarryPotter20. It is trending on Twitter with a special pair of glasses and lightning bolt emoji to resemble Harry’s “curse scar.”

READ MORE: Harry Potter festival in Goderich moved to Blyth

The lightning bolt represents a very powerful spell that leaves an imprint on the target it was cast upon and acts like a warning. Harry’s “curse scar” comes from when Voldemort tried to kill him and was unsuccessful but it the incident left a mark in the shape of a lightning bolt on Harry’s forehead.

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In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter adventure, here are 20 Potter-y things we’re thankful for, in no particular order.

1. Magic

Going to Hogwarts and learning everything about magic is an ultimate dream for any Harry Potter super fan. This fantasy series has its own set of rules and situations for magic. Magic is used in many different ways, from spellwork to potions.

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In Harry Potter films, magic typically comes from within the wizard or with themselves. This is why there is a distinction between Muggles and wizards. Muggles, a person who lacks any sort of magical ability and was not born in a magical family, can perform all the motions of a spell, but nothing will happen.

2. Wands

Every wizard we see in the films uses a wand but there is plenty of wandless magic as well.

“Wands channel magic so as to make its effects both more precise and more powerful, although it is generally held to be a mark of the very greatest witches and wizards that they have also been able to produce wandless magic of a very high quality,” Rowling said in 2016.

3. Spells

As we learn in the famous “Wingardium Leviosa” lesson, the way in which you point your wand and the manner in which you pronounce the spell can achieve different results.

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The basic act of casting a spell is to point your wand in the desired direction and recite the spell.

4. Hermione Granger

Hermione Granger, played by Emma Watson, is a very strong female character. Hermione’s portrayal of female empowerment is prevalent in the films. She always knows the correct answer and proves that knowledge is power. She has positive male friendships but she isn’t dependent on them. She often saves Harry and Ron when times get tough.

5. Dobby the house-elf

Dobby the house-elf, introduced in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, is famously freed by Harry who tricks Lucius Malfoy into giving him his sock.

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Dobby was Malfoy’s house-elf and he needed his sock in order to set the elf free from his life of slavery.

READ MORE: J.K. Rowling sends ‘Harry Potter’ ebooks to tweeting Syrian girl living in Aleppo

People have even left their socks at Dobby’s exhibit at the Warner Bros. studio.

6. Platform 9 3/4

This platform marks the departure point for the Hogwarts Express which takes students to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It can only be accessed by walking straight through the apparently solid barrier between platforms nine and 10.

King’s Cross train station in London, U.K., showcases its own platform 9 3/4. It’s a spot where tourists and fans wait in a queue to pose for photos.

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7. Quidditch

Quidditch is the wizarding sport played on broomsticks. The object of the game is to score more points on your opponents. Each goal is worth 10 points and catching the golden Snitch is worth 150 points. The game ends when the Snitch is caught or an agreement is reached between captains of both teams.

8. Hogwarts Houses

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is divided into four houses. Each house bears the last name of its founder: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin.

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Houses at Hogwarts are both the living and learning communities for its students. The houses compete through the school year by earning and losing points for different activities. The house with the most points wins the House Cup.

In honour of the 20th anniversary, Facebook added an Easter egg for posts on the social media website. Mentioning the words “Harry Potter,” “Gryffindor,” “Ravenclaw,” Hufflepuff,” or “Slytherin,” in a post will cause the words to light up in their house colours. If you tap on the Potter-related words, a magic wand will appear and shoot out sparks.

9. Owls

Owls are most used in the films for delivering mail and parcels in the wizarding world. They are well-known for their speed and can find recipients without an address. Owls can also be used for companionship.

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10. Potter-themed food and drinks

Items such as butterbeer and Jelly Belly’s Harry Potter Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans are popular purchases among Potter fans. The Flavour Beans are a mixture of “normal” jelly beans and are mixed with some crazy, creepy flavours such as stinky socks, rotten egg, canned dog food and barf.

Butterbeer was a popular wizarding beverage described as tasting “a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch.” It can be purchased at Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

11. Harry Potter theme park attractions

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a chain of themed areas at Universal Parks around the world, based on the Harry Potter franchise.

Amusement parks that feature these areas are the Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Universal Studios Florida, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan.

READ MORE: ‘Fantastic Beasts’ spins magic, beats ‘Doctor Strange’ out of top box office spot

Guests can follow in Harry Potter’s footsteps as they walk through the streets of London, and enter Diagon Alley where they will find many of the most famous establishments from the franchise.

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Guests can dine at the Leaky Cauldron, watch a wand choose a wizard at Ollivanders wand shop, ride the Hogwarts Express and much more.

12. Love to hate Professor Snape

Professor Severus Snape is the Potions Master, Defence Against the Dark Arts professor and Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He also attended as a student from 1971 to 1978.

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Throughout the franchise, Professor Snape was very sarcastic and sometimes put his students down. He forces Neville to feed his toad a potion that was potentially poison. Many students are easily afraid of Snape and he continues to call his students idiots.

In the end, Snape protects Harry. He started as being one of the most loathed characters and ended up being one many people love.

13. The books

Over the years, the seven Harry Potter novels have sold more than 450 million copies and have been translated into more than 60 languages.

In 2005, The Guardian wrote about a survey that found children and teachers credited Rowling’s books with boosting literacy.

According to the report, 84 per cent of [teachers] said “that the boy wizard has had a positive impact on children’s reading abilities and 73 per cent admit that they have been surprised by some of the children that have managed to read Potter.”
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14. Harry Potter franchise main characters

Audiences watched the cast grow up on screen and become megastars.

Daniel Radcliffe, Watson and Rupert Grint are all the main stars of the eight films, which have made more than $2 billion.

15. Fan Fiction

The internet is filled with Harry Potter fan fiction.

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Even though the Harry Potter franchise has finished, fans have turned their attention to making a prequel film about Lord Voldemort, the main antagonist in Rowling’s series of novels and films.

READ MORE: Harry Potter prequel about Voldemort approved by Warner Bros.

Warner Bros has reached an agreement with the film start-up Tryangle Films over the unofficial prequel, providing it is only released on YouTube “in a nonprofit way,” according to Polygon.

The movie intends to tell the story of how one Tom Marvolo Riddle goes from a slightly disturbed but highly talented young wizard to the strange-looking villain Lord Voldemort.

16. Harry Potter themed bars

Toronto’s Harry Potter inspired bar, The Lockhart, has references to the franchise throughout the building. The Lockheart team is also opening a second location in Montreal.

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17. Harry Potter inspired Utah Airbnb

A Springville man is renting rooms to wizardry fans in his Harry Potter-inspired home.

Benjamin Lee-Roche ultimately wants his 1880s house to be a mock magic academy where people can take classes in calligraphy and potions, the Daily Herald reports.

READ MORE: ‘Harry Potter’ inspires Utah Airbnb owner to create ‘mock magic academy’

Lee-Roche is paying his mortgage mainly by renting rooms.

“The Harry Potter fans are amazing,” Lee-Roche said. “They’re so fun to be around. They’re enthusiastic. They’re appreciative.”

Grand Parlor at the Blackburn Academy of Magical Arts
Grand Parlor at the Blackburn Academy of Magical Arts. Blackburn Academy of the Magical Arts / Facebook

18. The Wizarding World Book Club

Rowling is launching a free online book club for fans and newcomers to her “Harry Potter” series.

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The Wizarding World Book Club will launch in June to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first novel in the seven-book series.

READ MORE: J.K. Rowling to launch online book club for Harry Potter fans in June

According to a post on Pottermore, Rowling’s digital publishing arm, this online community “aims to surprise and delight those who have never read a Harry Potter book, as well as returning readers who want to join the conversation.”

19. Harry Potter live symphony orchestras

Last summer, Harry Potter fans in Vancouver were able to relive the magic of The Philosopher’s Stone with the accompaniment of a live symphony orchestra in an upcoming performance series.

“The Harry Potter film series is one of those once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomena that continues to delight millions of fans around the world,” says the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on its website.

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The orchestra played every note of the John Williams-composed score to The Philosopher’s Stone while the film plays in high-definition on the big screen.

20. J.K. Rowling on Twitter

With more than 10.7 million Twitter followers, Rowling is one of the most popular authors on the social media website.

She engages with fans, reveals new details about her Harry Potter series and she shares her opinions about politics.

Below are Rowling’s Top 10 most retweeted tweets of all time.

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—With files from the Associated Press, Jessica Vomiero and Jill Slattery