Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first distributed by Bloomsbury on June 26, 1997. The book recounted the narrative of Harry Potter, who, on his eleventh birthday celebration, learns he is a wizard and has been acknowledged to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

His date of birth? July 31 — the same birthday as the author who created him, J.K. Rowling. Rowling was born on July 31, 1965 making her 52 years old today. Harry was born in 1980, meaning he is now 37 years old.

Two decades since the very first Harry Potter book was published, more 450 million copies of books from the Harry Potter series have been sold around the world. J.K. Rowling’s story is nearly as famous as her boy wizard’s. A single mother who relied on welfare in Britain, Rowling came up with the idea of Harry Potter on a delayed train trip. She described it in 2000 as a “rush.”

“Harry was there. People like Nearly Headless Nick and Peeves, the inhabitants of the castle were there,” she said in a CBC interview, shortly after the fourth book in the series had been published.

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