20 Years of Harry Potter: Goodreads Members on the Magic of J.K. Rowling's Books

Posted by Hayley on June 26, 2017

We were all Muggles once. Before Harry, before Hogwarts, before Quidditch and Sorting Hats, our lives were all a little less magical. That changed on June 26, 1997, when J.K. Rowling published her first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (published a year later in the United States as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone).

Two decades into the boy wizard's reign, Rowling's books have spawned blockbuster movies, theme parks, stage productions, and a powerful legacy that rivals those of far older classics.

"Will kids (and adults, as well) still be wild about Harry a hundred years from now, or two hundred?" Stephen King wrote in his review of the fifth book in the series. "My best guess is that he will indeed stand time's test, and wind up on a shelf where only the best are kept; I think Harry will take his place with Alice, Huck, Frodo, and Dorothy, and this is one series not just for the decade, but for the ages."

To mark the 20th anniversary of Philosopher's Stone's publication, we asked our followers on Facebook and Twitter to tell us how the series has impacted their life. Check out some of our favorite stories below and then share yours in the comments!

1. "It brought my mother, myself, and my children closer. Three generations fighting over who would get to read the next book first." -Nauina

2. "It ignited my love of reading. I essentially grew up with Harry. I will be forever grateful for its influence on my life. Always." -Andrea

3. "It was the first book I read in English! It taught me the language." -Lilly

4. "When I was in middle school, I was bullied. In my mind, I went to Hogwarts every single day to escape my own torment. Thank you, J.K. Rowling! Thank you Harry, Ron, and Hermione." -Taryn

5. "I met my best friend through reading Harry Potter, and she's now my bridesmaid. Our friendship will be 18 years old." -Erin

6. "I'm an old lady with an old kid and didn't read my first Harry Potter book until last September. Prior to that I used to wonder what there was in the way of current entertainment that could compare with what I had—shows like Howdy Doody and Westerns. Now I know that with Harry, this generation got something far better. It's some serious magic." -Judy

7. "My Dad still calls me Hermoine! It's nice to share the love of the books with my family." -Sally

8. "I had turned away from reading. J.K. Rowling brought me back…and she brought me back stronger and better than I ever thought possible. Thank you, J.K. Rowling. Thank you." -Natalie

9. "When my oldest was about ten, he asked if there would still be Harry Potter books when he grew up. I said, 'Of course, books are forever. Why?' His answer: 'I just wanted to make sure I can read them to my kids someday.' -Stephanie

10. "I want to be a writer because of Harry Potter! Because when I read those books, I experienced a feeling of incomparable love and warmth." -Gashugi

11. "It kickstarted my obsession with fantasy and science fiction—and it helped me overcome my depression." -Nitasha

12. "OMG! Where do I begin? A coworker introduced me to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I read the entire book in one day and was hooked from that moment on. I've gone to all of the midnight book and movie releases. I reread the series so many times I've lost count. No words could adequately explain my love for these books." -Shanda

13. "It's been the best friend that's never abandoned me!" -Phoenix

14. "It gave me a happy and safe space I can always turn to no matter what." -Jelke

15. "I always pick up Harry Potter books when I need to be reminded that hope perseveres even in the darkest times. Thank you for the magic, J.K. Rowling!" -Desiree

16. "It shaped my politics. As a young reader navigating the world, the books helped me better understand the moral consequences of our actions!" -Rachit

17. "I have dyslexia and ADHD. In middle school, I was reading at a second grade level. I had this friend who was a big reader, and she would tell me about the world inside those books. I was so mesmerized by it. But I got tired of being told about it and wanted to see it for myself. So I went and got Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I read and reread that book so many times until the words started to make sense. I started trying to read everything. In the seventh grade, I went from a second grade reading level to an eighth grade level in one semester. It was all because of my friend…and because of Harry Potter. I'm such a huge reader now. I don't know who I'd be if I'd never found those books. A me who can't read—it's a scary thought. I owe it all to that series. It sounds dumb but it really was like finding a home." -Rebecca

18. "I found my fandom and my people! And we're cool now. When I was younger, I would've been ridiculed for being so bookish and nerdy." -Bri

19. "I was 11 when I read them for the first time. It seems so long ago. Those stories kept me afloat when everyone else in my life was trying to drown me. I just wish I could read them for the first time all over again." -Shivani

20. "Hogwarts is my home, and I'm still waiting for my letter." -Dounia

How has Harry Potter affected your life? Share your story with us in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
Nina LaCour's Ultimate Pride Month Reading List
How to Get Inspired by Dreadful Movies: An Octavia Butler Origin Story
June's 8 Hottest New Memoirs

Comments Showing 1-50 of 117 (117 new)

message 1: by Tarsis (new)

Tarsis I born in 1995. I grew up watching Harry Potter. Jajaja.

message 2: by david (new)

david such a fun series...great adventure!

message 3: by Mariana (new)

Mariana Schneider Oneil wrote: "I born in 1995. I grew up watching Harry Potter. Jajaja."

Watching? What about reading? :)

message 4: by Tarsis (new)

Tarsis Mariana wrote: "Oneil wrote: "I born in 1995. I grew up watching Harry Potter. Jajaja."

Watching? What about reading? :)"

Later on, when I grew up. I was.... mmm, 13 when I read it. What about you?

message 5: by rain (new)

rain The books taught me the importance of bravery love and friendship in a world of magic, and for me that in itself is a treasure. Surely Harry Potter will be remembered and loved for a hundred years or more. That I can guarantee 😄👍

message 6: by Kristel (new)

Kristel It is the first book I stayed up late at night with, saying "Just one more chapter"

message 7: by Mariana (new)

Mariana Schneider I started reading the Harry Potter books when I was 11, and Deathly Hallows came out right after I turned 18. The actors that play the trio are my age. I literally grew up with them, Hogwarts feels like home and the characters are childhood friends.

HBP was the first book I ever read in english, I couldn't wait for the translation to come out, and I felt safe enough knowing the characters, the places and the spells. It's been twelve years, and I never read a translated book again.

message 8: by Tarsis (last edited Jun 26, 2017 06:44AM) (new)

Tarsis Mariana wrote: "I started reading the Harry Potter books when I was 11, and Deathly Hallows came out right after I turned 18. The actors that play the trio are my age. I literally grew up with them, Hogwarts feels..."
It has to great read them in english, but i didn't try because there are much words "magics" in those books.

message 9: by No, David! No! (new)

No, David! No! I hadn't heard anything about Harry Potter until GOF in 1999. I watched on the news as these little kids paid for the book opening night with change they earned selling lemonade and mowing lawns. I was captivated, wondering what it was that was bringing a generation of "techies" back to books. Since then, I have read and reread the series I don't know how many times. My son (13) just finished reading the series for the 5th time I think. I am grateful for these books that have re-ignited the desire to read in so many.

message 10: by امیررضا (new)

امیررضا I grew up with harry potter.Now , I m looking for a good video game of harrypotter. Video games are great for narration.
WE NEED a next gen open world Harry Potter game with a system where you create you own Hogwarts student please

message 11: by Visesh (new)

Visesh Without this saga I would have been into reading at all hats off for the brilliant story that keep you inerested from the start to the end.

Kaisla | paperbacking J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter gave me the passion for reading and dreaming. This magical world will always be a part of me.

message 13: by Mariana (new)

Mariana Schneider Oneil wrote: "Mariana wrote: "I started reading the Harry Potter books when I was 11, and Deathly Hallows came out right after I turned 18. The actors that play the trio are my age. I literally grew up with them..."

You should try, google translator will help with the words that you don't know! Back when I started, all I had was a bulky dictionary. And reading in english will do wonders for your grammar :)

message 14: by Tarsis (new)

Tarsis Mariana wrote: "Oneil wrote: "Mariana wrote: "I started reading the Harry Potter books when I was 11, and Deathly Hallows came out right after I turned 18. The actors that play the trio are my age. I literally gre..."
Hahaha, yes, I tried read at least one novel for month. I read very slow but i like it.

message 15: by Shelby (new)

Shelby I wasn't allowed to read Harry Potter growing up, so as soon as I left for college, I read them all within a few weeks on top of taking 18 credit hours as an English major. I've always loved reading, but Harry Potter enhanced that love into something I had never experienced before. My boyfriend was lucky enough to have grown up with the series. After we got married, he told me that he probably couldn't have married anyone who had never read Harry Potter, which is pretty hilarious. Our wedding cake topper was "Always." Thank you, J.K. Rowling!

Dana Al-Basha |  دانة الباشا Sixteen years ago, I was introduced to the world of Harry Potter by my youngest brother (he was 9 years old, I was 15) and I fell so hard for Harry Potter and the magical world of Hogwarts!

message 17: by Danzyl (new)

Danzyl Prins I still remember the first I met Harry. I was probably 8 or 9, but I was sitting in the library waiting for my parents to pick me up after work. I picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Two weeks later I had finished each book up to the Prisoner of Azkaban. I want to thank J. K. Rowling for creating this world and allowing us to enter it and mould our lives around it. I want my kids to read Harry Potter and their kids to also enjoy this world. Growing up alongside Harry was the greatest experience of my life. #ALWAYS

message 18: by Mackenzie (new)

Mackenzie I am a Harry Potter fan with an exception; I have watched about 5 of the movies but not all of the entire movies and I will be reading the books after my 5 books I have due soon and my Percy Jackson series. But I'm really excited for it!

message 19: by Lee Ann (new)

Lee Ann Harry Potter has shaped who I am today and made me more self-aware. Not only did it inspire me to be a writer, but it also taught me a lot about my personal values and morals. Growing up, I used to think I was a Ravenclaw "because I like books." But then I took the Pottermore sorting quiz and got Slytherin, and after a little struggle to accept that all my assumptions about myself were wrong, I realized how much of a better fit Slytherin is for me; although I do value intelligence, I favor ambition far more and am very goal-oriented. Since discovering this, I've become so much more confident in who I am, and feel that I understand my decisions in life better. The series has also taught me the power of empathy, compassion, and love, and how to keep fighting for the good in this world. Thank you, JK Rowling!

message 20: by Azam (last edited Jun 26, 2017 11:12AM) (new)

Azam Amirgholami I'm 29. 3 months ago I started reading Harry Potter in English for first time and now I am reading Harry Potter and Order of Phoenix. Yes, I know, it's too late.
I think it's one of the best books I've ever read. There are a lot of special things in these books for learning, you can learn what friendship, loyalty,and bravery are. Thank you J.K. Rowling for creating this wonderful world.

message 21: by Nimy (last edited Jun 26, 2017 08:55AM) (new)

Nimy Sarah Alex I was eleven when I first read the Philosopher's Stone and before that I had never read any full-length of novel. Hence, I never was able to conjure up a world of my own imagination. But JKR made it possible for me. I grew up with harry and his friends learning with them. And I can proudly say that I gladly passed that love to my younger brother.
Thank you, JK Rowling! for proving that I am not simply a muggle

message 22: by Kat (new)

Kat I got into HP around book three after multiple people were like OMG you HAVE TO READ THIS. And of course, they were right. It was so much fun back then waiting for a new book to be released and then staying up into the wee hours of the night reading. I still remember my sister's scream of horror from the other room in "Half Blood Prince" when she got to a certain scene near the end. I had already finished. My mother, a true muggle, was alarmed. I waved a hand, assuring her it was just the book. Good times.

message 23: by D'Juana (new)

D'Juana Manuel-Smith I've read all 7 books repeatedly and continue to do so! It's adventures thrill me every time and I am still trying to get my kids to actually read them and not just love the movies. And i must say that book 8, was just as fabulous and wish it was made into a movie as well. Harry's son & Malfoy's son...knew they would be besties!!

message 24: by Lilliana (new)

Lilliana Mardeath I am in love with Harry Potter I have read the book series 23 times and I never get tired of it.

message 25: by Avinash (new)

Avinash I have literally lived a life with Harry Potter. We are 4 siblings and we all were (and still are) big Potterheads. We used to mimic the characters and discuss the books and movies endlessly. It's still a kind of family tradition that whenever anyone of us starts a harry potter scene with a dialogue we all automatically join in and complete it. I am glad that we have passed it to our next generation, my nephews and nieces are carrying the love of Harry Potter and I guess it will always be there in our family. #Always #UntilTheEnd

message 26: by Zachary (new)

Zachary I just wish I got into Harry Potter sooner, I loved the series so much and I cried when it was over, but it didn't shape my childhood like it did for you guys and that makes me feel like I missed out on a fuller part of the magic.

message 27: by Rose (new)

Rose My love for books started here!

Badz (Abandoned Marionette)

I could not look back on my childhood without thinking of Harry Potter. I was part of the Harry Potter generation and I basically grew up anticipating every book and movie, and for that I am very grateful.

It all started during my 6th birthday (26th of July 1999, 2 yrs after it was first published) when my mom gave me Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as a present. Back then, I didn’t give it much thought since it was the first book I tried to read without pictures. You see, I started reading early. But I was used to picture books of Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Grimm’s Fairy Tales. So in truth, I never bothered to finish it. And it laid to rest at the very back of my shelf.

And then 2 years later, my mom told me that the very book she gave me was going to have a movie adaptation. And that we were going to watch it. It was such a big deal to me back then because it was my first time to watch a movie in cinemas, as well. And boy, was I so amazed and mesmerized. It was dreamy and magical and amazing. It was what I wanted. And that was the start of my addiction.

As soon as I got home, I unearthed my copy which I neglected the previous years and began reading. I finished the book and asked my mom if she could buy me the next books as well. That time, I think all books up to the Goblet of Fire was already available. And thus, began our ritual.

Every year that a movie comes out, I would read all the books with film counterparts weeks before the current movie release. I would then go to the midnight screening with either my mom or my aunt. When newer books came out, I would always be the first one to get my copy at the Scholastic book fair in our school. Yeah, I was the crazy nerdy Potter-addict. And I didn't mind.

Years went by and I have read the books and watched the movies countless times. When all the movies were released, I continued re-reading and re-watching as a yearly habit during Christmas holidays. I could never stop. Because personally, these books helped shape me as a person while growing up. The characters became my friends. I found comfort in these wonderful world when times get rough.

The Harry Potter series truly captured my heart and soul. Not only that, I made a lot of friends irl and online because of the mutual love for these books. I think my life would be drastically different if I did not become a part of this community. So much of my life have been influenced by different characters from the books. Each lesson I learned from them, I try to live by.

Now, it has been 20 years since the magical world has been opened to us. I feel old, okay. I don't know how or what to feel, exactly. But I think that no matter what age I decide to go back and reopen these books, I believe that it would always feel like home. This series will always have a special place in my heart. And I am eternally grateful to J.K. Rowling for creating such a wonderful world for readers like me.

message 29: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I was kind of a lonely, nerdy kid and was usually all by myself during recess. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were my friends and each new book and adventure only brought us closer. <3

message 30: by Melissa (new)

Melissa H I started reading Harry Potter in high school, I loved reading when I was a kid but as a teen reading kind of took a back burner to a 'social life'. Harry Potter and J.K. reignited my love for reading, I wanted to crawl inside the books and live in that world; I couldn't wait to get my hands on the next one.

I think I can honestly say that Harry Potter led me to where I am today. I've worked at a public library for 6 years, a job that I was approached about partly because I was there so much. I was there so much because after finishing Harry Potter that desire to read was still present.

Last year I had a house fire that I lost almost everything in, including my Harry Potter series. Those were the first books I replaced, and actually my room mates bought them for me knowing how upset I was about losing them. No matter what happens I know I can pick up one of the books and feel like I'm home.

message 31: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Oneil wrote: "I born in 1995. I grew up watching Harry Potter. Jajaja."

message 32: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Elizabeth wrote: "Oneil wrote: "I born in 1995. I grew up watching Harry Potter. Jajaja.""


message 33: by madeline (The Bookish Mutant) (last edited Jun 26, 2017 11:05AM) (new)

madeline (The Bookish Mutant) I have very fond memories of both my parents reading these books to me and me reading them myself, as well as the Harry Potter parties we’ve had every July 31. Also, Hermione is one of THE best book characters of all time. When I was in second grade, my best friend at the time and I were both Hermione, and we went trick-or-treating together. Thank you, J.K. Rowling, for making my life that much more magical.

message 34: by Julia (new)

Julia I had all the books read to me, starting when I was 6 and continuing as I got older and more were released. I saw the first movie at age 5 and a half, and it was only months later when my Dad introduced me to the books. Then I started re-reading them myself, starting at age 7. In 2006 when a serious hospitalization took away my love of reading because I developed severe short-term memory loss, re-reading the all too familiar words of the Harry Potter series was the only way I got back into books. They brought me so much comfort in a time when I had no clue what the next day (and my whole life) would bring to me.

message 35: by Julia (new)

Julia (Of course for me, Cursed Child has really had the opposite effect, sadly, but I won't go into that right now!!)

message 36: by Azam (new)

Azam Amirgholami Badz (Abandoned Marionette) wrote: "

I could not look back on my childhood without thinking of Harry Potter. I was part of the Harry Potter generation and I basically grew up anticipating every book and movie, and for that I am very..."

Wow, what a splendid story.
Good for you :)

message 37: by Rachael (new)

Rachael Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is probably the book I've reread the most often. Every time a new Harry Potter book was released, I would have to restart the series. It was also the start of me and my dad recommending books to each other.
I remember picking up Harry Potter for the first time. I was shopping with my dad and we thought Chamber of Secrets was the first book until we read the back cover which talked about Harry's second year. Oopsie, luckily we spotted a copy of Philosopher's Stone!
I also remember doing an English comprehension test about an extract of Harry Potter back when not many people in my class had heard of the boy who lived. One of the questions was "what do you think will happen next?" and having read the book, I was able to write lots.
Harry Potter has helped me find acceptance of who I am (geeky Hufflepuff and proud!); has made me wish I got a Hogwarts letter; and has created a magical escape from real life.

message 38: by val :D (new)

val :D Harry Potter has affected my life so much! To this day, it's still my favorite series, both for the movie and the books. After watching and reading Harry Potter, I was so devastated that the wizarding world isn't real! But hey, according to Albus Dumbledore, "Of course it's happening in your head Harry, but just because it's happening in your head, doesn't mean it's not real." SO JUST MAYBE THE WIZARDING WORLD IS OUT THERE AND I'M PROBABLY JUST A POOR MUGGLE LOL. I'm still really upset because I haven't read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child or the Philosopher's Stone! BUT I will get to it. Not just Harry Potter, but Hermione especially changed my life! She inspired me to work hard in everything I do, especially my studies and I am forever grateful for the book and film. :)

message 39: by Brina (new)

Brina This year is "19 years later". My oldest is 11 1/2 and would be starting Hogwarts this year. My 2 older kids have read through the series twice. It is great being able to connect and discuss books with my kids especially books that we all have read many times.

message 40: by Hattiesr (new)

Hattiesr Every night for the past two years my family and I have listened to the Harry Potter audiobooks as we eat. We've heard them so often we can quote entire passages but we don't mind that :) Thank you Harry Potter for making meal times that little bit more magic :)

message 41: by Marina (new)

Marina When I was five, I watched Harry Potter and the secret chamber. I got sooooo scared! And about five years after, I remember that my mum told me that everyone was reading those books. I didnt want to read them... But Santa gave me Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone and I absolutely loved it. I discovered a new world. I was a hateful muggle. Now I'm a magic blogger <3<3<3

message 42: by Sara (new)

Sara I grew up with Harry Potter although the first book that came in our home was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire hard cover and it scared the hell out of me as it was the fattest of all the books I had ever seen. I was 6 years old! Later on I got all the other parts as well. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone when I was in the airport, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was bought from the hospital when I was admitted for I don't know what reason, Prisoner of Azkaban was pirated (makes me so angry sometimes :(), Order of Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows are same old pirated! 3 out of 7 are pure, clean and original.
Still it makes me happy that at the end of the day I have a book that I can run and hide away with for hours!

message 43: by Chiranjeev (new)

Chiranjeev Sethi i was in grade 5 when i first met Harry. We grew up together and i used to wait for another year of his life eagerly. Hr taught me friendship, loyalty and self-belief. My first print copies are my treasures something ill cherish forever. I am 25 today and i still have a lot to learn from him.

message 44: by Abby (last edited Jun 26, 2017 12:42PM) (new)

Abby Harry Potter was the first book I ever read! it was the book that made me want to read. It took me to a new and magical place and made me see and imagine new things! Without Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, I now enjoy LOADS of different books and its all down to JK Rowling!!
Before reading them, I had no interest in reading at all so just THANK YOUUUU!!!!

message 45: by Andrea (new)

Andrea I wish Harry Potter meant more to me. My best friend let me borrow her copy of the Philosopher's Stone when were were 14. At that time the series was only on book 4. I read it in one night, liked it, but never bothered to continue on unlike my friend. She became a huge fan eventually and I didn't. Sometimes I wonder if I missed out on anything. Few years ago I did read the rest of the series out of curiosity, but never established that fandom connection or love for the franchise like I would have if I grew up on it. Hard to imagine it's been 20 years since the first publication though!

message 46: by Reshma (new)

Reshma Mohan Harry Potter is my past; my present; and my future.

message 47: by N.E.S (last edited Jun 26, 2017 02:30PM) (new)

N.E.S Okay, I would create this AMAZINGLY long list about how Harry Potter changed my life but let me give you a detail of what I see I Harry Potter each day. US POTTERHEADS.

You see, J.K Rowling did not create a Fandom like all the people who hate it say, . She created a powerful BOND (maybe even more than the unbreakable vow).

Like look at what we're doing now? Look at our time turners! Placing a order the Cursed Child a month early, and just writing reviews! Maybe it's just saying "I love your shirt!" To any stranger with any thing that has to do with HP. What about your friends screaming when you see the new trailer on Fantastics Beasts?Or maybe it's just crying with your fellow potter heads about how amazing this whole book series.

This book, wow I don't have any words to explain it, perhaps I could cast a protronus, but even that will not explain my love for this book, always.

message 48: by Traci (new)

Traci Ely I pretty much grew up with Harry Potter. It is a series that I am always rereading and watching the movies.

message 49: by Enzo (new)

Enzo Living in the US meant that it took a year before the first book got published here. But that didn't mean we didn't hear the praises and the ovations being hurled at @JKRowling
It was fun picking up the first book and getting to know Harry and Hogwarts. How I wished I could turn the clock back and be 11 years old again ...

message 50: by Huda (new)

Huda The series thought me that children's books are more influential than adults' books as they are not only for children but to adults too.

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