Potter, Harry

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Potter, Harry

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Young protagonist of the fictional books by Joanna Kathleen Rowling (1965). As of this writing, four have been completed with an additional three planned. The first of the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (U.S. title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone), Rowling's first published book (published in 1997), won a variety of literary awards and became one of the most successful children's books in the world. To date, it has been published in sixteen countries.

Rowling was born in Chepstow, Gwent, in South Wales, in 1965. At the age of six she wrote her first story, titled Rabbit. She graduated from Exeter University and worked for some time as a teacher. A single parent, she started writing the first Harry Potter book while sitting in a café in Edinburgh (where she lives today), as her daughter slept beside her. Having thought of the premise of her first book on a long train trip from Manchester to London, she spent five years committing the story to paper.

The books are about a young orphaned boy—aged eleven when the story opens—who lives with his uncle, aunt, and cousin (the Dursleys). All three Dursleys make Harry's life miserable. Forced to live in a tiny closet under the stairs, he is never given a birthday party. One day he is informed—in a letter delivered by an owl—that he is to start his education at a school of wizardry. Harry is a wizard, as his parents were. Against the wishes of the Dursleys—who are not magical in any way—Harry reports to Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The seven books cover the seven years that Harry spends at the school, where he is involved in many adventures.

A movie of the books was released in November 2001, with Daniel Radcliffe playing the part of Harry Potter. Emma Watson plays his friend Hermione, with Rupert Grint as his other friend Ron Weasley. Directed by Chris Columbus, the movie features a variety of special effects.

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