Today marks the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, as June 26th 1997 was the day that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was officially released onto British bookshelves.
First of all, 20 years. Good lord. That’s just depressing. Second of all, as today marks the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter’s publication, Facebook has paid homage with a pretty cool little feature.
The social network has rolled out a so-called Easter egg to celebrate the occasion on which the childhood memories of a generation are founded.
Easter eggs – not the sort you get at Easter, by the way – are little hidden features, that are usually fairly redundant, inside a piece of technology. They appear in films as little inside gags or references that only fans will get (for example Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is pretty much the most expensive Easter egg ever made, in my opinion) and there are more out there than anyone could ever hope to find.
They are everywhere, and not just in films, they are hidden in almost every application you could care to think of.
To activate this particular hidden treat and celebrate 20 years since the world’s favourite wizard (sorry Gandalf, you’ll have to settle for the silver medal, seeing as you never actually used your powers when it would be useful) Harry Potter first appeared in the pages of J.K Rowling’s books, all you need to do is comment or post the name of one of the four Hogwarts houses and your screen will be graced with a little touch of magic.
As well as typing Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Slytherin, users can also type the name Harry Potter to activate the Easter egg.
The fact that Facebook has bothered to roll out this special feature proves just how influential the Harry Potter franchise has been and what a huge imprint (no pun intended) it has left behind in the mind of fans all over the world.
It’s hard to imagine a world where Harry Potter did not exist; such is the reach of the franchises legacy since the first book hit the shelves in 1997.
Speaking to Blue Peter’s Konnie Huq in 1997, about what it was like to see her first book in the shops, J.K Rowling – known then simply as Joanne – said: “That was the best moment of all.
“Better than anything that has come since, was me seeing it – and it was a real book in a proper, real bookshop and it was wonderful.”
Since then, J.K Rowling’s creation has taken over the world, and made her one of the most beloved and famous authors of our time.
But it wasn’t an easy ride to the top of the mountain. In fact, Harry Potter got knocked back by as many as 12 publishers before it finally got picked up.
“My agent rang me and…he was so low key about it!” Rowling told Lauren Laverne in The Guardian.
“One publisher had kept it for six months, which obviously gave me a lot of hope, and then they said no.
“I was devastated. Then [my agent] phoned me up and said, ‘Well, Bloomsbury want it’ – very casual! Not realising he’s giving me the gift of my life. And there was this long pause, and I just said: “So…you’re saying I am going to be published?’ I was beside myself.”
Imagine being one of the publishers that said no?
Well, 20 years since that fateful day, 20 years, seven books, eight films and $25 billion in revenue later, Harry Potter is bigger than J.K Rowling could ever have hoped or thought.
So, what are you waiting for? Get on Facebook and celebrate by spamming the hell out of that Easter egg!