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27 June 2017 - Harry Potter's 20th Anniversary

‘I got Gryffindor pyjamas for my 27th birthday’: fans on 20 years of Harry Potter
Erica Buist (The Guardian, 24/06/2017)

When I was eight, I got my first pair of glasses. Far from being teased at school, the only hassle I got was endless requests to try on my new specs. My father looked at me with suspicion. Had I faked the blindness, he asked, just so I could look like Harry Potter?

With my cropped hair and glasses, I did look like a tiny girl Harry. And while the similarity was not deliberate, I did nothing to avoid it, either. The Potter books were the great pop cultural event of my generation (I was born in 1991). In between Game Boys and Pokémon, kids began reading again. My school librarian, both confused by and exasperated with Pottermania, dealt with fights over the school’s few tatty copies by imposing a new rule: Potter books could be borrowed for only three days, instead of the week every other title was allowed.

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Reading Harry Potter
 
Why Grown-Up Muggles Should Read ‘Harry Potter’
David Busis (The New York Times, 26/06/2017)
 
I started reading the “Harry Potter” series, which turns 20 today, in a dormitory in Hod HaSharon, Israel, alongside about two dozen other teenage muggles who had flown (by plane) from the United States. I’d completely succumbed to Potter hysteria at a friend’s urging even before I’d read the books, so the night before I left, I hadn’t hesitated to make room for the first four of them, all in hardback, by tossing out an extra pair of pants. Who needed pants? I wanted a good story.

Time on that trip had the magical quality of a “Harry Potter” camping tent: It was bigger on the inside than the outside. The two months flew by, but each day seemed endless, with hours enough to form close friendships and fall in love for the first time. After each packed day, while my best friend performed late-night mitzvahs for the girl I pined for, I consoled myself with my own affair, throwing myself at each of the first four “Harry Potter” books in turn. Alone in the common room with Harry and Ron and Hermione, I was as happy as I’ve ever been.

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Washington Post's Review

‘The Orphan and the Ogres’: Here’s The Post’s original review of Harry Potter
Michael Dirda (The Washington Post, 03/01/1999)

Virtually all juvenile books are, at heart, stories of education, testing, and growing up. Little surprise then that the heroes of classic fairy tales and much contemporary YA fiction should resemble each other: “I am not really what I seem, not just another kid. I am special.” Isn’t this how we all feel when young? The insignificant woodcutter’s son actually is a prince; one day the Ugly Duckling awakens a swan. And 11-year-old Harry Potter, the bespectacled, orphaned boy abused by his Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia Dursley -- not to mention their fat bullying offspring Dudley -- turns out to be very special indeed, though for a long time he doesn’t know it.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1) by J.K. Rowling Arthur A. Levine Books (Arthur A. Levine Books )

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — the British Children’s Book of the Year — strikes me as completely unoriginal and absolutely top-notch. Charm counts for a lot in kids’ books, one genre where it’s less important to make everything new than to put in just the right things. In her first novel J.K. Rowling takes a ripping English school story, then adds an account of the education of the young-protagonist-with-special gifts-and-a-mysterious past, a thrilling against-all-odds sports triumph, strange beings who move unseen among us, and an all-powerful object that must not fall into the wrong hands -- or perhaps claws. Her characters are just as conventional: a wise, slightly daft wizard; a gentle Disneyish giant, who speaks haltingly (and names a terrifying three-headed dog Fluffy); a raspy-voiced villain of oily evil (paging Jeremy Irons), and the obligatory snide and snooty classroom rival. We have been here before -- in Roald Dahl, Ursula Le Guin, “Star Wars,” Dune. But in the right hands we’re always happy to make the trip again.

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Reviews

Harry Potter at 20: What the critics originally thought of the Philosopher's Stone
Hanna Flint (The Independent, 26/06/2017)
 
The Harry Potter book series is considered one of the greatest series in literary history, beginning its commercial life on this day, twenty years ago.

J.K. Rowling’s first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was rather quietly released on June 26, 1997, introducing readers to the orphaned boy - raised by his cruel aunt and uncle - who heads off to a magic school after discovering his wizarding heritage and legacy.

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Last update June 27, 2017
Créé le June 27, 2017
ISSN 2107-7029
DGESCO Clé des Langues