It is impossible to say exactly how much the Harry Potter franchise is worth. Retrospectively, even accounting wizards would have a problem totalling the income generated, the jobs created, the tax payable. Box office takings from the films alone are in the region of US$8 billion. Book sales in 80 languages reached 500 million this year.
While you are reading this sentence you can imagine the turnstiles at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida clicking away as another few dollars enter the kitty, together with the Harry Potter Studio Tour in England, where visitors can experience the actual sets where the films were made.
Cynics among you may be thinking all this is an exploitation of fans. However, as with the first Harry Potter book, it is the fans who push the success of JK Rowling’s imagined world. Scholastic, the books’ US publisher, only began printing greater numbers after discovering their loss of potential income because American fans had to buy the books from Amazon UK.
There is no point in attempting to understand the Harry Potter phenomenon if you have never experienced, even mildly, the thrill of being a Potterhead. Just know this: the Harry Potter books forever changed the world of publishing.
Last year, the 20th anniversary of the first book’s release, saw events worldwide to mark the occasion. There are even mutterings of having a special day to celebrate every year. We take a look at which day of the year is most suited to being Harry Potter Day.
Right off the bat, this is Hallowe’en. It has been Hallowe’en since before anyone can remember and it will remain Halowe’en. In Harry Potter’s world it is the most magically charged day of the year, when stuff happened, as they say.
On this day the evil Voldemort killed Harry’s parents and, while attempting to bump off baby Harry, gave him that famous scar. The magical trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione teamed up on Hallowe’en, also the day that Sirius Black and a troll broke into Hogwarts, although not in the same year.
Not enough to make it Harry Potter Day? Not to worry, fans can experience Hallowe’en at Hogwarts this year – or maybe next year as it is sure to be fully booked by now.
Actually a double scoop as 31 July is not only the day that Harry Potter was born, it is also his creator’s birthday. Yes, simple as that. When choosing a birthday for her character, JK Rowling chose her own.
And yet there is a problem. Harry Potter’s birthday falls during the UK school holidays, the most miserable time of the year for Harry because the only home he has is with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt, uncle and cousin. Fans, however, flood Twitter with birthday wishes for both JK Rowling and Harry.
The Battle of Hogwarts took place on this day. Some have designated it International Harry Potter Day, which, to say the least, obliviates those who ‘sacrificed’ their lives to save Hogwarts. In other words, the characters that were killed off in the battle.
Not to say this was not an exciting event for some fans of the wizarding world, especially as the outcome was never in doubt. But for many, 2 May might be better designated as a day of commemoration for the Fallen Fifty.
The first day back at school, which for Harry Potter is Hogwarts. This is the day when pupils wave goodbye to their families at Platform 9¾ in King’s Cross Station in London, as they board the Hogwarts Express for the first term of their new school year.
Like a birthday or Hallowe’en, 1 September is a day that keeps on giving, even after Harry and his classmates have left Hogwarts. The next generation, as with generations before, still wave their parents goodbye at Platform 9¾.
Fans even show up at the real King’s Cross Station as social media lights up with messages for what has become known as #BacktoHogwarts Day. Not a special day for Harry Potter, but perhaps the most popular among Potterheads.
Four contenders for Harry Potter Day. Who will decide?
The same people who made Harry Potter and his wonderfully imaginative world the greatest phenomenon to hit publishing and entertainment in modern times – the fans, of course.