English author J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter children’s literature series was a worldwide phenomenon the likes of which had scarcely been seen before. And even now, more than 20 years after the first novel was published, fans are still finding fascinating or touching little details tucked away in both the books and the subsequent movies. In 2016 some particularly smart Potterheads discovered a hither-to hidden connection between Harry Potter and his wizard comrade Neville Longbottom. And it was material evidence of the characters’ similar heritage and shared destiny.
No-one, not even J.K. Rowling herself, could have predicted the massive success of Harry Potter. The British writer, far from a billionaire back then, came up with the initial story while on a long train ride and, over the next few years, she embellished on it as she got it down on paper. And even as Rowling’s personal circumstances turned out to be less than magical at this point in her life, the would-be author persisted with the fantastical tale of the boy wizard.
And thank goodness she did. When the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was published in 1997, it met with an amazing and immediate critical acclaim. Following a publishing sensation, the sequel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, did likewise, and in 1998 Rowling sold the film rights to the books to Warner Bros. The titles were turned into movies starring Daniel Radcliffe as the titular hero. The series built and built into an unstoppable film franchise, attracting some fanatical fans who were utterly devoted to the creation.