The 20th Anniversary of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'

Monday marked the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and I've been thinking about the impact the story has had on my life since.

When I was 7 my sister bought me Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for Christmas. That means I grew up with Harry Potter, he's been in my life for 16 years - that is more than half of my life. 

Harry Potter was the first proper book I ever willingly read and, because of it, I fell in love with reading. J.K. Rowling introduced me to a world of magic hidden within the pages of a book and I craved more. 

I can confidently say that Harry Potter changed my life. Not only did it spark my interest in reading and introduce me to the world of magic, but, it gave me an escape just like it provided many others. 

It allowed me to dream of something more magical and colourful than the dull and grey world we reside in. When I didn't fit in at school or was getting bullied, when I was fighting with my parents, when my Nanna passed away, Harry Potter was there for me. When I couldn't bear to be in my world anymore I was able to retreat to the safety of Hogwarts.

Not only that but Harry Potter has taught me that anything is possible. It's the enchanting story of 'The Boy Who Lived' and defeated the Dark Lord against all odds. It's a story where magic is real and wonderful things happen, and did happen to someone who was 'normal'. It's a story that was nearly never printed but J.K.Rowling persevered and didn't give up on her dream.

Because of Harry Potter, and J.K. Rowling, I became interested in writing, and I dream of one day being able to create a world that inspires kids just as much as Rowling's world inspired me. At times, I feel as though nothing I write will ever compare, but then I remember just how hard she had to fight to get her story out there. 

The book was published by Bloomsbury after many rejections, and even Rowling's publisher advised her to get a day job because there was no money in children's novels. But Rowling proved them all wrong and Harry Potter soon turned into a franchise making her the first author to become a millionaire from their books. 

I think that in itself is an admirable feat and I view J.K. Rowling as a role model. It is almost unimaginable what the world would be like without Harry Potter, I dread to think how dull it would really be.

So, thank you, J.K. Rowling, for bringing magic into my life. Thank you for creating the safety of Hogwarts for us all, and making me fall in love with reading and encouraging me to start creating my own stories. And, finally, thank you for not giving up on your dream and inspiring others to pursue their own.

As always,

Love, Lauren x