"Harry Potter is good,
but he's no Mandrake the Magician."
- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium
Potter is an immensely popular series of fantasy novels by British
writer J. K. Rowling. It depicts a world of witches and wizards, the
protagonist being the eponymous young wizard, Harry Potter. Since the
release of the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
(retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States)
in 1997, the books have often been criticized for their content, as
well as praised for their literary merit. Despite this, the series
has succeeded in gaining immense popularity and commercial success
worldwide, spawning films, video games, and a wealth of other items.
The books have sold more than 300 million copies and been translated
into 47 languages, more than any other book except the Bible.
the narrative takes place in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and
Wizardry, focusing on Harry Potters journey toward manhood over
the course of his education, relationships, and adventures. At the
same time, the books explore the themes of friendship, ambition,
choice, prejudice, courage, love, and the perplexities of death, set
against the expansive backdrop of a magical world with its own
complex history, diverse inhabitants, unique culture, and parallel society.
1990, J.K. Rowling was on a crowded train from Manchester to London
when the idea for Harry simply fell into her head. That
evening, the author began the pre-writing for her first novel, Harry
Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, a semi-detailed plan that would
include the plots of each of her seven envisioned books, in addition
to an enormous amount of historical and biographical information on
her characters and universe. Eventually Rowling relocated to
Portugal, where in 1992 she married her first husband, and in 1993
had her first child, Jessica, all the while continuing her writing of
Stone. When the marriage dissolved, Rowling returned to Britain with
her daughter and settled in Edinburgh to be near her sister, famously
continuing her writing of Philosopher's Stone in local coffee shops.
Bringing in only £90 a week (of which £70 was from income
support) and unable to secure a place for her daughter in a nursery,
the sleeping infant Jessica would be a constant companion to her
mother as Rowling laboured to finish the book that she had at this
point begun to fear would never be completed.
1996, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was completed and the
manuscript was sent off to an agent. The agent sent the manuscript
back saying writing 80,000 words made it much too long for a
children's book. The second agent she tried, Christopher Little,
wrote back immediately to say he liked it and wanted to take her on.
He sent the manuscript to Bloomsbury. At Bloomsbury, at the time a
fairly small independent publisher, Philosopher's Stone landed in
front of the uninterested eye of Nigel Newton, the chairman of the
company. The unenthused Mr Newton took the manuscript home but did
not read it, giving it instead to his eight-year-old daughter, Alice.
Showing great excitement over what she had read, Alice would go on to
'nag' her father for months wanting to see what came next.
Bloomsbury, after eight other publishers had rejected Philosopher's
Stone, offered Rowling a £2,500 advance.
On the eve of publishing,
like Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) and S. E. Hinton (The
Outsiders) before her, Joanne Rowling was asked by her publishers to
adopt a more gender-neutral pen name, in order to appeal to the males
of this age group, fearing that they would not be interested in
reading a novel they knew to be written by a woman. She elected to
use J.K. Rowling (Joanne Kathleen Rowling), omitting her first name
and using her grandmother's as her second.
The first Potter book was
published in the United Kingdom by Bloomsbury in July 1997 and in the
United States by Scholastic in September of 1998, but not before
Rowling had received a six-figure sum for the American rights
an unprecedented amount for a children's book. Fearing that some of
its intended readers would either not understand the word
"philosopher" or not associate it with a magical theme,
Scholastic insisted that the book be renamed Harry Potter and the
Sorcerer's Stone for the U.S. market.
By 2000, the series had
become very high-profile due in part to marketing strategy by
Rowling's publishers, but also due to word-of-mouth buzz among
readers, especially young males. The latter is notable because for
years, interest in literature among this demographic had lagged
behind other pursuits like video games and the Internet. Over nearly
a decade the books have garnered fans of all ages, leading to two
editions of each Harry Potter book being released, identical in text
but with one edition's cover artwork aimed at children and the other
aimed at adults. The series is also immensely popular around the
world in its many translations and has been the recipient of many
in 1997, film producer David Heyman's London offices received a copy
of the first book in what would become Rowling's series of seven
Harry Potter novels. The book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's
Stone, was relegated to a low-priority bookshelf, where it was
discovered by a secretary who read it and gave it to Heyman with a
positive review. This fateful act influenced Heyman, who had
originally disliked "the rubbish title", to read the book
himself. Highly impressed by Rowling's work, he began the process
that was to lead to one of the most successful franchises in movie history.
Heyman's enthusiasm led to
Rowling's 1999 sale of the film rights for the first four Harry
Potter books to Warner Brothers for a reported £1 million
(US$2,000,000). A demand Rowling made was that the principal cast be
kept strictly British, allowing nevertheless for the inclusion of
many Irish actors such as the late Richard Harris as Dumbledore, and
for casting of French and Eastern European actors in Harry Potter and
the Goblet of Fire where characters from the book are specified as
such. Rowling was hesitant to sell the rights because she "didn't
want to give them control over the rest of the story" by
selling the rights to the characters, which would have enabled Warner
Brothers to make non-author-written sequels.
Although Steven Spielberg
initially negotiated to direct the first film, he declined the offer.
Spielberg wanted the adaptation to be an animated film, with American
actor Haley Joel Osment to provide Harry Potter's voice. After
Spielberg left, talks began with other directors, including: Chris
Columbus, Terry Gilliam, Jonathan Demme, Mike Newell, Alan Parker,
Wolfgang Petersen, Rob Reiner, Tim Robbins, Brad Silberling, and
Peter Weir. Petersen and Reiner then both pulled out of the running
in March 2000. It was then narrowed down to Silberling, Columbus,
Parker and Gilliam. Rowling's first choice was Terry Gilliam. However
on 28 March 2000 Columbus was appointed as director of the film, with
Warner Bros. citing his work on other family films such as Home Alone
and Mrs Doubtfire as influences for their decision.
2000, after a seven month search, lead actor Daniel Radcliffe was
discovered by producer David Heyman and writer Steve Kloves seated
just behind them in a theatre. In Heyman's own words, "There
sitting behind me was this boy with these big blue eyes. It was Dan
Radcliffe. I remember my first impressions: He was curious and funny
and so energetic. There was real generosity too, and sweetness. But
at the same time he was really voracious and with hunger for
knowledge of whatever kind."
Radcliffe had already
established himself as an actor in the 1999 BBC television production
of David Copperfield in which he played the title role's childhood
years. Heyman convinced Radcliffe's parents to allow him to audition
for the part of Harry Potter, which involved Radcliffe being filmed.
Rowling was enthusiastic after viewing Radcliffe's filmed test,
saying she didn't think there was a better choice for the part of
Harry Potter. Also in 2000, the unknown British actors Emma Watson
and Rupert Grint were selected from thousands of auditioning children
to play the roles of Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, respectively.
Prior to their being chosen, their only previous acting experience
was in school plays. Grint was eleven years old and Watson ten at the
time they were cast.
Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first volume in a
planned series of seven books written by British author J. K.
Rowling, and featuring Harry Potter, a young wizard.
Harry Potter, a seemingly
ordinary eleven-year-old boy, is actually a wizard and survivor of an
attempted murder by the evil Lord Voldemort when he was one year old.
Surprisingly, Voldemort was
successful in killing Harry's parents but not the baby. Harry lives
his life in an ordinary household with his aunt, uncle and cousin,
under the impression that his parents died in a car accident and that
he is just any other boy. On his eleventh birthday he finds out that
he is actually famous in the wizarding world for surviving the
attack, and is requested to attend a wizarding school named Hogwarts.
Harry goes to the school,
learns magic across the year, and makes friends and enemies. But a
plot is brewing to grant immortality to Voldemort, since thrown into
a near-death state by his surprising inability to kill Harry. Harry
and his two friends end up in a forbidden corridor, and find a
three-headed dog guarding a trapdoor. They must pass this trapdoor,
and a number of other tests, to stop Voldemort.
The film, Harry Potter
and the Philosopher's Stone, released in the United States and
India as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, was directed
by Chris Columbus and based on the novel of the same name by J. K.
Rowling. The film was the first of the Harry Potter film series. It
was written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman. The story
follows Harry Potter, a boy who discovers on his eleventh birthday
that he is a wizard, and is sent to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and
Wizardry to begin his magical education. The film stars Daniel
Radcliffe as Harry Potter, with Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as
Harry's best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The adult cast
features Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman
and Ian Hart. Warner Bros. bought the film rights to the book in 1999
for a reported £1 million. Production began in 2000, with
Columbus being chosen to create the film from a short list of
directors that included Steven Spielberg and Rob Reiner. J. K.
Rowling insisted that the entire cast be British or Irish, in keeping
with the cultural integrity of the book and the film. She also
approved the screenplay, written by Steve Kloves. The film was shot
at Leavesden Film Studios and historic buildings around the United
Kingdom. The film was released in the United Kingdom and United
States in November 2001. It received a mostly positive critical
reception, made more than $974 million at the worldwide box office
and was nominated for many awards, including the Academy Awards for
Best Original Score, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.
Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling, is the
sequel to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It is the second
book in a series of seven Harry Potter books. The book was published
on July 2, 1998. Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts for his second
year, but a mysterious chamber hidden in the school is opened and
Muggle-born students are petrified by an unknown
agent. Harry and his friends discover the entrance of the chamber
and defeat Tom Marvolo Riddle, who was actually Voldemort.
A film was theatrically
released in November 2002. Most of the major cast and crew from
Philosopher's Stone (also known as Sorcerer's Stone) returned for
Chamber of Secrets, including child stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma
Watson, and Rupert Grint and director Chris Columbus. New key actors
included Kenneth Branagh as Lockhart and Jason Isaacs as Lucius
Malfoy. However, it was the last appearance by Richard Harris as
Dumbledore who died in 2002 of Hodgkin's disease. In Harry Potter and
the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) and Harry Potter and the Goblet of
Fire (2005), Dumbledore is played by Michael Gambon. Patrick McGoohan
(TV's The Prisoner) was originally offered the role before Harris but
turned it down due to health reasons.
The only significant
deviations from the literary canon are the effects of the Polyjuice
Potion, and the absence of the Deathday Party of Sir Nicholas that
Harry, Ron, and Hermione attend. In the book, the Potion causes the
drinker to assume the exact appearance of the target, including their
voice and any disabilities (such as poor eyesight). In the film,
while the potion alters Harry and Ron's appearance, their voices are
left unchanged to reduce confusion.
Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third book in the
Harry Potter series of books by J. K. Rowling. The book was published
on July 8, 1999. A film based on the book was released on May 31st,
2004, in the United Kingdom (released early due to popular demand)
and June 4th in the United States and many other countries and is
another grand slam for the Harry Potter franchise.
remarkable versatility after the arthouse success of Y Tu Mamá
También, director Alfonso Cuarón proves a perfect
choice to guide Harry, Hermione, and Ron into treacherous puberty as
the now 13-year-old students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and
Wizardry face a new and daunting challenge: Sirius Black (Gary
Oldman) has escaped from Azkaban prison, and for reasons yet unknown
(unless, of course, you've read J.K. Rowling's book, considered by
many to be the best in the series), he's after Harry in a bid for
revenge. This dark and dangerous mystery drives the action while
Harry and his third-year Hogwarts classmates discover the flying
hippogriff Buckbeak (a marvelous CGI creature), the benevolent but
enigmatic Professor Lupin (David Thewlis), horrifying black-robed
Dementors, sneaky Peter Pettigrew (Timothy Spall), and the wonderful
advantage of having a Time-Turner just when you need one. The
familiar Hogwarts staff returns in fine form (including the
delightful Michael Gambon, replacing the late Richard Harris as
Dumbledore, and Emma Thompson as the goggle-eyed Sybil Trelawney),
and even Julie Christie joins this prestigious production for a brief
but welcome cameo. Technically dazzling, fast-paced, and chock-full
of Rowling's boundless imagination (loyally adapted by ace
screenwriter Steve Kloves), The Prisoner of Azkaban is a Potter-movie classic.
Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the fourth book in the Harry
Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Published on July 8, 2000, the release
of this book was surrounded by more hype than any other children's
book in recent times outdone only by its successors, Harry
Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the
Half-Blood Prince. At 636 pages (hardback British edition) it was
fairly large for a children's book. The book attracted a lot of
attention owing to a pre-publication warning from J.K. Rowling that
one of the characters would be murdered in the book. This started a
stream of rumour and speculation as to who the murdered character
would be. The publication of Goblet of Fire caused unprecedented
heights of Pottermania to be reached internationally. This novel won
a Hugo Award in 2001.
The fourth film in the
Harry Potter saga could be retitled Fast Times at Hogwarts, where
finding a date to the winter ball is nearly as terrifying as worrying
about Lord Voldemort's return. Thus, the young wizards' entry into
puberty (and discovery of the opposite sex) opens up a rich mining
field to balance out the dark content in the fourth movie (and the
stories are only going to get darker). Mike
Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) handily takes the directing
reins and eases his young cast through awkward growth spurts into
true young actors. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe, more sure of himself) has
his first girl crush on fellow student Cho Chang (Katie Leung), and
has his first big fight with best bud Ron (Rupert Grint). Meanwhile,
Ron's underlying romantic tension with Hermione (Emma Watson) comes
to a head over the winter ball, and when she makes one of those
girl-into-woman Cinderella entrances, the boys' reactions indicate
they've all crossed a threshold. But don't worry, there's plenty of
wizardry and action in Goblet of Fire. When the deadly Triwizard
Tournament is hosted by Hogwarts, Harry finds his name mysteriously
submitted (and chosen) to compete against wizards from two
neighboring academies, as well as another Hogwarts student. The
competition scenes are magnificently shot, with much-improved CGI
effects (particularly the underwater challenge). And the climactic
confrontation with Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes, in a brilliant bit
of casting) is the most thrilling yet. Goblet, the first installment
to get a PG-13 rating, contains some violence as well as disturbing
images for kids and some barely shrouded references at sexual
awakening (Harry's bath scene in particular). The 2 1/2-hour film,
lean considering it came from a 734-page book, trims out subplots
about house-elves (they're not missed) and gives little screen time
to the standard crew of the other Potter films, but adds in more of
Britain's finest actors to the cast, such as Brendan Gleeson as
Mad-Eye Moody and Miranda Richardson as Rita Skeeter.
Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is
the fifth book in the Harry Potter series of books by J. K. Rowling.
The book was published on 21 June 2003 in the United Kingdom, United
States, Canada, Australia, and several other countries. It sold
almost seven million copies in the United States and the United
Kingdom combined on that day. It has 38 chapters, and is about
255,000 words long. Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry. He is desperate to get
back to school and find out why his friends Ron and Hermione have
been so secretive all summer. However, what Harry is about to
discover in his new year at Hogwarts will turn his whole world upside down.
But before he even gets to
school, Harry has an unexpected and frightening encounter with two
Dementors, has to face a court hearing at the Ministry of Magic and
has been escorted on a night-time
broomstick ride to the secret headquarters of a mysterious group
called 'The Order of the Phoenix'. And that is just the start. A
gripping and electrifying story, full of suspense, secrets, and - of
course - magic.
In the firth film Harry is
deeply traumatized from having witnessed Cedric Diggory's murder, but
he will soon find that this was just another chapter in the
continuing loss he will endure. Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has
returned and, in an attempt to conceal this catastrophe from the
wizarding public, the Ministry of Magic has teamed up with the wizard
newspaper The Daily Prophet to smear young Potter and wise Dumbledore
(Michael Gambon)--seemingly the only two people in the public eye who
believe the Dark Lord has returned. With no one else to stand against
the wicked Death Eaters, the Hogwarts headmaster is forced to revive
his secret anti-Voldemort society, the Order of the Phoenix. This
welcomes back characters like Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson), kind
Remus Lupin (David Thewlis), fatherly Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), and
insidious Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), and introduces a short list
of intriguing new faces. In the meantime, a semi-psychotic bureaucrat
from the Ministry (brilliantly portrayed by Imelda Staunton) has
seized power at Hogwarts, and Harry is forced to form a secret
society of his own--lest the other young wizards at his school be
left ill-equipped to defend themselves in the looming war between
good and evil. In addition, Harry is filled with an inexplicable rage
that only his Godfather Sirius seems to be able to understand.
Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, released on July 16, 2005, is
the sixth novel in J. K. Rowling's popular Harry Potter series. There
are seven novels planned. Set during Harry Potter's sixth year at
Hogwarts, the novel explores Lord Voldemort's past, and Harry's
preparations for the final battle amidst emerging romantic relationships.
In 24 hours, the book sold
6.9 million copies in the United States alone, or 287,564 books per
hour, making it the fastest selling book in history. It generated
over $100 million in sales on its opening weekend, outpacing even the
combined take of the top movies at the box office that same weekend.
Bookseller Barnes and Noble reported sales averaging 105 copies per
second in the first hour of sales.
A darker book than any in
the series thus far with a level of sophistication belying its genre,
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince moves the series into murkier
waters and marks the arrival of Rowling onto the adult literary
scene. While she has long been praised for her cleverness and wit,
the strength of Book 6 lies in her subtle development of key
characters, as well as her carefully nuanced depiction of a community
at war. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, no one and nothing
is safe, including preconceived notions of good and evil and of right
and wrong. With each book in her increasingly remarkable series, fans
have nervously watched J.K. Rowling raise the stakes;
gone are the simple delights of butterbeer and enchanted candy, and
days when the worst ailment could be cured by a bite of chocolate. A
series that began as a colorful lark full of magic and discovery has
become a dark and deadly war zone. But this should not come as a
shock to loyal readers. Rowling readied fans with Harry Potter and
the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by
killing off popular characters and engaging the young students in
battle. Still, there is an unexpected bleakness from the start of
Book 6 that casts a mean shadow over quidditch games, silly
flirtations, and mountains of homework. Ready or not, the tremendous
ending of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will leave stunned
fans wondering what great and terrible events await in Book 7 if this
sinister darkness is meant to light the way.
The film version of Harry
Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was directed by David Yates. It is
the sixth installment in the popular Harry Potter franchise as well
as the second film to be directed by Yates, who helmed the previous
movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. David Heyman and
David Barron produced the film and the screenplay was written by
Steve Kloves, the screenwriter of the first four entries. Filming
began on September 24, 2007, with the film being released in cinemas
worldwide on July 15, 2009, one day short of the fourth anniversary
of the corresponding novel's release. Half-Blood Prince opened to
critical acclaim along with instant commercial success, breaking the
record for the biggest single-day worldwide gross of all time. In
five days the film made $394 million, breaking the record for biggest
five-day worldwide gross.
Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh and final book of
Harry Potter novels written by British author J. K. Rowling. The book
was released on July 21, 2007, ending the series that began in 1997
with the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
This book chronicles the events directly following Harry Potter and
the Half-Blood Prince (2005), and leads to the long-awaited final
confrontation between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort.
Deathly Hallows is
published in the UK by Bloomsbury Publishing, in the USA by
Scholastic Press, in Canada by Raincoast Books and in Australia and
New Zealand by Allen & Unwin. Released globally in ninety-three
countries, Deathly Hallows broke sales records as the fastest-selling
book ever, selling more than eleven million copies in the first
twenty-four hours following its release. The previous record, nine
million in its first day, had been held by Half-Blood Prince.
final film in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a
2010/2011 two-part epic directed by David Yates, written by Steve
Kloves and based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The
film is produced by Rowling along with David Heyman and David Barron.
The two parts form the seventh and final instalment in the Harry
Potter film series, with the story following Harry Potter on a quest
to find and destroy Lord Voldemort's secret to immortality the
Horcruxes. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe in his final performance
as Harry Potter, alongside Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry's
best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The film also
features Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman.
Principal photography for
both parts began on 19 February 2009 (2009-02-19) and was completed
on 12 June 2010 (2010-06-12), with the final day of reshoots on 21
December 2010 marking the franchise's closure of ten years of
filming. Part 1 was released in IMAX formats on 19 November 2010, and
Part 2 will be released in 3D, along with 2D formats, in IMAX on 15
July 2011 (2011-07-15).
In its opening weekend at
the North American box office, Part 1 grossed $125 million, breaking
the record for the franchise's largest opening, and became the
second-highest grossing November opening, the second-largest opening
of 2010 (behind Iron Man 2), and the sixth-highest of all-time.
Additionally, the film's worldwide three-day opening of $330 million
became the fifth-highest of all-time. With a worldwide gross of $954
million, Part 1 is the third-highest grossing film of 2010, behind
Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland. It is the highest grossing Harry
Potter film in terms of foreign totals, surpassing Philosopher's
Stone, the 10th highest-grossing film of all-time and the second film
in the series to reach $950 million worldwide.