From The National News:
n Sunday, it will be 25 years since a bushy-faced half-giant burst into our lives and changed everything with four monumental words: “Yer a wizard, Harry.”
And, though the wizard in question was bespectacled orphan, Harry Potter, 11, the friendly oaf transformed all our lives on June 26, 1997, when he flung open the doors to the wizarding world with a sweep of his pink umbrella.
The first novel by JK Rowling was published by Bloomsbury in an initial run of 500 copies. Fans would later hear how struggling single mum Rowling spent hours in an Edinburgh coffee shop working on the novels.
Today, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has sold 120 million copies and counting, while more than 500 million copies of the entire seven-book series have flown off the shelves.
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The subsequent film franchise is the fourth highest grossing of all time with $9.2 billion in worldwide receipts, according to fan site Movieweb. Meanwhile, The Sunday Times puts JK Rowling’s earnings at $1.1 billion, in a rags to riches tale that suitably mirrors Harry’s own rise from the cupboard under the stairs.
The 2000s saw Harry Potter mania take over the world, as Potterheads queued up and camped out for every new book release, each declaring themselves a proud Gryffindor, a cunning Slytherin, a brainy Ravenclaw or a lovable Hufflepuff.
But even the Hermione Grangers of the world don’t know everything about Harry and co.
Here, we take a look at some little-known trivia dating right back to the first drafts, from early rejections to the original character names.
Hold onto your sorting hat.
Chapter one — The boy who lived
JK Rowling first had the idea for Harry Potter during a train ride when the idea “fell into her head” and later penned the Hogwart’s school houses on an aeroplane sick bag.
And, though Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was an immediate success, at one stage it seemed as though the book would never be published.
Initially, no one wanted anything to do with “a story about a wizard with a stone” and the manuscript was rejected 12 times by publishers before being picked up by Bloomsbury.
Early drafts of the book also detail a slightly different list of Hogwarts school subjects. Herbology was called “herbalism” and divination was compulsory from the first year, along with alchemy and a subject simply called “beasts”.
Even the early character names were different to those published. Hermione Granger’s surname was initially Puckle, while Neville Longbottom started life as Neville Puff.
Draco Spinks was Malfoy’s earliest name, Luna Lovegood was called Lily Moon and Dean Thomas was known simply as Gary.
Over the years, Rowling has revealed countless trivia about the wizarding world and proudly announced that a sorting hat quiz had put her in Hufflepuff.
In a radio interview in 1999, she explained that she named the Hogwarts headmaster after an old English word meaning bumblebee because she always imagined Dumbledore humming to himself.
And, despite being the golden boy in the books, Rowling admitted it is Albus rather than Harry who is her favourite character in the series.
Link to the rest at The National News