Harry Potter Books
Harry Potter Movies
Harry Potter Characters
Harry Potter Movie Stars
Harry Potter Film Directors
Publishing HistoryThe books have fans of all ages. J. K. Rowling says she did not have any particular age group in mind when she started to write the Harry Potter books; her publishers, however, initially targeted them at young readers aged 8 to 15. The books have more recently been released in two editions, one with the original "children's" cover artwork, and one with artwork more consciously aimed at adult readers. Additionally, as the series has developed, Rowling's writing has become more sophisticated and the content of the books has matured as the lead character, Harry Potter, has grown older. For instance, relationships are discussed as an issue for the teenage characters in later books. Accordingly, the reading age for the books, both in terms of content and style, is rising as the series goes on.
The first book was published in the United Kingdom by Bloomsbury, a fairly small independent publisher, in July 1997. Its initial success was based on some positive reviews and word of mouth. The first three books, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, all won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize for the 9 to 11 age group. By the time the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, was published in 2000 the series had become very high-profile, and the launch received much wider publicity in the general media than was usual for a new book. At around the same time Warner Brothers began work on the series of films based on the books. The involvement of a global media conglomerate led to more concerted efforts to maximise the value of the Harry Potter franchise. The first film, based on the first book, was released in 2001, and was accompanied by video games and other branded merchandise.
The hype escalated with the publication of the next two books in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, with midnight launch parties at hundreds of bookshops in the UK, simultaneous launch events around the English-speaking world, and intense media interest, leading to unprecedented first-day sales in the UK, US and elsewhere. The series is immensely popular around the world in its many translations. Such was the clamour to read the book around the world that the English-language edition of Order of the Phoenix became the first English-language book ever to top the bookseller list in France.
According to J.K. Rowling, the author of the novels, the main character Harry Potter appeared in her head while she was on a train from Manchester to London in 1991. Her favourite place to write the first book was at an Edinburgh café table while drinking endless cups of coffee. Sales from the books as well as royalties from films and merchandise have made Rowling a billionaire and the 620th wealthiest person in the world . Rowling is assumed to be richer than Queen Elizabeth II (see J.K. Rowling for an explanation).
Each book chronicles approximately one year in Harry's life at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he learns to use magic and brew potions. Harry also learns to overcome many obstacles — magical, social and emotional — as he struggles through his adolescence.
Rowling has announced that seven books are planned, each a little darker than its predecessor as Harry ages and his nemesis, Lord Voldemort, gains power. As of July 16 2005, six books have been published. The latest, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was published in its English-language version on 16 July 2005
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