Twenty years is a long time. It’s like, pretty much, two whole decades, isn’t it?
Yes, twenty years. So much can happen in that time. Here’s just a handful of the advances we’ve seen – some epic, some useful and others just cool:
- Stem cell research
- Genome sequencing
- Large Hadron Collider
- Mars Curiosity Lander
- Flat screen TVs
- Xbox Live
- Social Networking
- Wearable technology
Amazingly, many of these things feel like they’ve always been here. What did we do without WiFi (well, I can remember <shudder>)? One thing not listed above, among many others of course, is something I can’t actually believe is celebrating its twentieth birthday today. Or should I say ‘his’?
Mr. Potter, please step forward!
Yup, the mighty Harry Potter is twenty years old today. The Philosopher’s Stone was released on this day back in 1997. I’m shocked at this. The Potter phenomenon shows no sign of dying out (thankfully) and is, in fact, gaining momentum. With theme parks, attractions and new films in the same universe – I’m looking at you Fantastic Beasts – Harry Potter continues his world domination.
I remember going to see the first film. It was at a small, three screen cinema in my home town of Grimsby. The only time I’d seen that amount of enthusiasm for a film there was when Tim Burton’s Batman came out. My friends started queuing for Gotham’s finest at 8am. I and another friend joined them at about 1pm – we were covering for them at the training centre we were all meant to be at. For Harry Potter, it was a scene so many times more impressive. I don’t believe the staff there had any real idea of what to anticipate. I had pre-booked the tickets so had to join a certain queue. Those who hadn’t were in another line. The problem was,because there were so many people, the lines crossed (don’t cross the streams!). The staff had no real idea who had paid and who hadn’t. They just needed to get them into the screen.
I also remember reading the first book. I had a copy from the US, where it was called The Sorcerer’s Stone and had ‘jello’ in. Of course, for those of you across the pond, this is normal. Way back then, the world was a much smaller place so it was a bizarre occurrence for me.
So. Harry Potter has shot the lovely J.K. Rowling through the stratosphere and well done to her. She has shown us mere mortal writers that you can come from nowhere and conquer the world. Or at least your own fears.
Harry, happy birthday.
J.K Rowling tweets…