J.K. Rowling & the Harry Potter Empire

J.K. Rowling & the Harry Potter Empire

I’m diverging a bit today from my usual recommendation to celebrate the incredible saga of J.K. Rowling’s fiction career … justified even more because, as you’ll see, she is already 3 books into a crime series of her own.

Monday was the 20th Anniversary of publication in Great Britain of first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, published in September in the U.S. under the name, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s the 5th best-selling book of all time, selling an astounding 107 million copies.

The Harry Potter series is the best-selling book series of all time, and the other 6 books in the Harry Potter series have each sold between 50–100 million copies.

“The last four books consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history, with the final installment selling roughly 11 Million copies in the United States within 24 hours of its release.” Wikipedia

Incredibly …

“The original seven books were adapted into an eight-part film series by Warner Bros. Pictures, which has become the second highest-grossing film series of all time as of August 2015.

“In 2016, the total value of the Harry Potter franchise was estimated at $25 billion, making Harry Potter one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.” Wikipedia

Like many of you, I’ve been intrigued by her story and how she tediously and laboriously plotted the entire series:

“Jo conceived the idea of Harry Potter in 1990 while sitting on a delayed train from Manchester to London King’s Cross. Over the next five years, she began to map out all seven books of the series. She wrote mostly in longhand and gradually built up a mass of notes, many of which were scribbled on odd scraps of paper.” JKR Website

Her output is prodigious as she has followed the Harry Potter series with not only the film adaptation of the books, but …

  • 2 books based on the titles of Harry’s school books within the novels,
  • a novel for adults being adapted for TV by the BBC, and a 3-book (so far) crime series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike (with another BBC series underway),
  • an original new story for the stage. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two is now running at The Palace Theatre in London’s West End,
  • her screenwriting debut with the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a further extension of the Wizarding World, marking the start of a five-film series to be written by the author.


By any measure, an incredible story of achievement that few authors can even image.

Way to go, Jo!

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