Harry Potter: A History

In 1990, a young boy named Harry Potter found his way into our world. JK Rowling welcomed the [...]

In 1990, a young boy named Harry Potter found his way into our world. JK Rowling welcomed the wizard into her creative mind while she was stuck on a delayed train between Manchester and London. It was during that train ride that Harry accioed his way into Rowling's thoughts, and the writer began working on a novel about the boy that same night.

Of course, fans know now that Rowling's book would house one of the most popular stories of all-time. Harry Potter stands as the highest-grossing book franchise to ever hit shelves, and the boy wizard has amassed millions of fans worldwide. The so-called Chosen One has had success on both the page and screen, and Rowling will expand her magical universe later this week when Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits theaters.

Here at ComicBook.com, we know there's a lot of backstory behind the beloved franchise, so we've created a beginner's guide to the history of Harry Potter.

1990 - 1999

Of course, the story of Harry Potter began when Rowling first conjured up the boy wizard. The author began her first draft of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in 1990 and finished the copy in 1995. Her road to getting a publisher for the book was a difficult one as several rejected her query. However, Bloomsbury Press eventually accepted the children's tale before Scholastic Books bid for the US rights in 1997. When the first book debuted later that year in the UK, it was an instant success amongst middle-grade readers and won multiple awards.

By 1998, the second Harry Potter book hit shelves in the UK before Scholastic published the first statesides. The foreign audience embraced Rowling's magical story, and their loyalty helped Harry Potter reach the New York Times Bestsellers List when its second book was printed.

And, in 1999, Warner Bros. finally secured film rights for the Harry Potter books for nearly $2 million.

2000 - 2009

With the new millennia underway, Harry Potter started strong with record-breaking sales. The fourth book was published in July 2000, and the release marked the first time a Harry Potter novel released simultaneously in the US and UK. It's first run printed more than five million books, and stores still struggled to keep up demand.

The Harry Potter film franchise also began in 2000. That year, director Chris Columbus was chosen to helm the first film, and child actors were cast to play the famous Hogwarts trio. Danielle Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint nabbed the coveted roles and quickly began filming. The first film debuted in 2001 to critically acclaim before th second premieres in 2002.

The following year sees the fifth Harry Potter book released, and fans are more excited for the film than ever before. The Harry Potter fandom experienced a massive surge in numbers, and its popularity helped make the third film one of the highest-grossing in 2004. A similar trend continued in 2005 when Rowling released both the sixth book and fourth film of the Harry Potter franchise to excited fans.

In 2007, the Harry Potter books came to a close when the seventh novel is released. The fifth film also premieres that year, and Warner Bros. confirmed they were working on a theme park based on the franchise at its Universal Orlando Resort. And, by 2009, the sixth Harry Potter film hit cinemas worldwide.

2010 - Present

When 2010 rolled around, Harry Potter pushed out part one of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The seventh book was split into a two-part film which hit theaters in 2010 and 2011. Things were then quiet on the Harry Potter front until 2016 when Rowling opened a play based on the series. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child hit London's West End in July 2016, and a script novelization also hit bookstores worldwide. By the end of 2016, Harry Potter will expand its cinematic reach when its first spin-off film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, hits theaters. The new franchise will contain five films, so Fantastic Beasts will guide Harry Potter into the new decade when the films wrap.