Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling which has also spawned films, video games and Potter-themed merchandise. The books chronicle the adventures of the eponymous adolescent wizard Harry Potter, together with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, his best friends from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The central story arc concerns Harry's struggle against the evil wizard Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry's parents in his quest to conquer the Wizarding world, after which he seeks to subjugate the Muggle (non-magical population) world to his rule.

Since the release of the first novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 1997, which was retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States, the books have gained immense popularity, critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide.[2] The series has spawned films, video games and Potter-themed merchandise. As of June 2008, the book series has sold more than 400 million copies,[3] has been translated into 67 languages[4] and the last four books have consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history.[5][6][7]The seventh and last book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released on July 21, 2007.[8] Publishers announced a record-breaking 12 million copies for the first print run in the United States alone.[9]

The success of the novels has made Rowling the highest-earning novelist in history.[10] English language versions of the books are published by Bloomsbury in the United Kingdom, Scholastic Press in the United States, Allen & Unwin in Australia, and Raincoast Books in Canada. Thus far, the first five books have been made into a series of motion pictures by Warner Bros. The sixth, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is scheduled for release on July 17, 2009.[11] The series also originated much tie-in merchandise, making the Harry Potter brand worth £7 billion ($15 billion).[12]

In December 1999, the third novel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, won the Smarties Prize, making Rowling the first person to win the award three times running.[13] In January 2000, Prisoner of Azkaban won the inaugural Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year award, though it lost the Book of the Year prize to Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf.[14]

Harry_Potter Harry_Potter Reviewed by RitchieStreet.co.in on 9/10/2008 09:27:00 PM Rating: 5
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