10 Magical Facts About Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

This spellbinding book took several tumultuous years to plan and publish - but it was so worth it! See below for 10 facts about the book that first introduced us to the magical world of Harry Potter...

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1. J. K. Rowling received 12 rejection letters before The Philosopher's Stone was finally accepted for publication.

It took J. K. Rowling's literary agent, Christopher Little, a whole year to find a publisher - but thank goodness he persevered!

2. The book's hopes of publication were rescued by an 8-year-old girl called Alice, the daughter of the chief executive of Bloomsbury, who was given the first chapter to read and demanded to read the rest.

To J. K. Rowling's delight, Bloomsbury agreed to publish the book, writing a cheque to the soon-to-be world-famous author for just 1500 pounds (an extremely profitable investment!). Rowling was warned that she'd make no money in children's books, but in a matter of years, she would become a multi-millionaire.

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3. The book was published under the name 'J. K. Rowling' in order to keep the author's gender ambiguous.

The editor of The Philosopher's Stone believed that the book would appeal more to boys than girls, but also believed that boys preferred books by male authors, so Joanne Rowling adopted the pen name shortly before publication.

4. The Philosopher's Stone has won multiple prestigious awards.

These have included the gold medal of the Nestle Smarties Book Prize 1997 (9-11 category), the British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year 1997, and the FCBG Children's Book Award 1997 in the Longer Novel category.

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5. J. K. Rowling came up with the idea of a 'scrawny little black-haired bespectacled boy' who becomes a wizard whilst on a train journey from Manchester to London.

She'd just been flat-hunting in Manchester with her then-boyfriend. On the train, the idea came suddenly, fully-formed, into her head. She was frustrated not to have a pen to write down her ideas, but this allowed her thoughts to flow, and she came up with all the ideas for the book within the 4-hour journey - and started to write the book that very evening.

6. In The Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter turns 11 on 31 July, sharing his birthday with his creator, J. K. Rowling.

The author was born on 31 July 1965.

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7. In what is thought to be the first published review of the book, Lindsey Fraser of The Scotsman deemed it 'a hugely entertaining thriller' and J. K. Rowling 'a first-rate writer for children'.

She also praises Rowling for using 'classic narrative devices with flair and originality'. Her review was published on 28 June 1997, just a couple of days after the book was released to the general public.

8. J. K. Rowling's favourite chapter is The Mirror of Erised.

She wrote the chapter shortly after moving to Portugal to take a job as an English teacher at a language institute. She hoped to come back from Portugal with the finished manuscript of The Philosopher's Stone, but came back instead with 'something better: my daughter, Jessica'.

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9. It took six years for J. K. Rowling to write The Philosopher's Stone.

During those turbulent years, she was surviving on state benefits to care for herself and her daughter, squeezing in time for writing between her many responsibilities, and was suffering from depression. She stuck at her writing, though - and it certainly paid off in the end!

10. The book's name was changed to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in America because the American publishers believed that children wouldn't want to read a book with the word 'philosopher' in the title.

J. K. Rowling later stated that she regretted this change, but was so happy that anyone was publishing her, she was eager to keep them happy!

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    Harry Potter can't wait for his holidays with the dire Dursleys to end. But a small, self-punishing house-elf warns Harry of mortal danger awaiting him at Hogwarts. Returning to the castle nevertheless, Harry hears a rumour about a Chamber of Secrets, holding unknown horrors for wizards of Muggle parentage. Now someone is casting spells that turn people to stone, and a terrible warning is found painted on the wall. The chief suspect - always in the wrong place - is Harry. But something much more terrifying has yet to be unleashed. These new editions of the classic and internationally bestselling, multi-award-winning series feature instantly pick-up-able new jackets by Jonny Duddle, with huge child appeal, to bring Harry Potter to the next generation of readers. It's time to PASS THE MAGIC ON .
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    Harry Potter is lucky to reach the age of thirteen, since he has survived the murderous attacks of the feared Dark Lord on more than one occasion. His hopes for a quiet school term concentrating on Quidditch are dashed, though, when a maniacal mass-murderer escapes from Azkaban, pursued by the soul-sucking Dementors who guard the prison. It's assumed that Hogwarts is the safest place for Harry to be. But is it his imagination that is making him feel eyes watching him in the dark, and should he be taking Professor Trelawney's ghoulish predictions seriously? These new editions of the classic and internationally bestselling, multi-award-winning series feature instantly pick-up-able new jackets by Jonny Duddle, with huge child appeal, to bring Harry Potter to the next generation of readers. It's time to PASS THE MAGIC ON .
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    Prepare to be spellbound by Jim Kay's dazzling depiction of the wizarding world and much loved characters in this full-colour illustrated hardback edition of the nation's favourite children's book - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Brimming with rich detail and humour that perfectly complements J.K. Rowling's timeless classic, Jim Kay's glorious illustrations will captivate fans and new readers alike. When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him that apparently he's the last to know. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord's curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Leaving his unsympathetic aunt and uncle for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry stumbles upon a sinister mystery when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers, which could be valuable, dangerous - or both. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

    This book is longlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2017.
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    When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him that apparently he's the last to know. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord's curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Leaving his unsympathetic aunt and uncle for Hogwarts, a wizarding school brimming with ghosts and enchantments, Harry stumbles upon a sinister adventure when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers which could be valuable, dangerous, or both.
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    As the Dark Lord's sinister forces amass, a spirit of gloom and fear is sweeping the land. Harry Potter waits nervously in his bedroom at the Dursleys' for Professor Dumbledore to arrive. One of the last times he saw the Headmaster was in a fierce duel with Voldemort at the Ministry of Magic. Why is the Professor coming to visit him now? What is it that cannot wait until Harry returns to Hogwarts? In his sixth year, Harry will discover the secret behind the Half-Blood Prince, as Professor Dumbledore prepares him to face his destiny . These new editions of the classic and internationally bestselling, multi-award-winning series feature instantly pick-up-able new jackets by Jonny Duddle, with huge child appeal, to bring Harry Potter to the next generation of readers. It's time to PASS THE MAGIC ON .
  • HPF2 9 years +
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    Head to Hogwarts and discover where it all began with this special children's edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

    Living at number four, Privet Drive, Harry Potter has never even heard of the Wizarding school when the letters start arriving (and are subsequently confiscated by his aunt and uncle, Petunia and Dudley Dursley). On his 11th birthday, Harry learns from a giant of a man named Rubeus Hagrid that he is, in fact, a wizard... And that's when the most magical adventure really begins!

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  • The Complete Harry Potter Collection - 7-Book Box Set - Collection - 9781408856772 - JK Rowling
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    If you're lucky enough to have tickets to see The Cursed Child on stage or are already excited for the next Fantastic Beasts film later this year, then why not head back to Platform 9 3/4, climb aboard the Hogwarts Express and enjoy the Complete Harry Potter Collection for a magical price. Presented in a gorgeous slipcase, these editions of J. K. Rowling's classics come complete with stunning cover illustrations from Jonny Duddle.

    A phenomenon like no other, Harry's incredible journey begins with The Philosopher's Stone. Unhappily living in a cupboard under the stairs at his aunt's, he's visited by a giant called Rubeus Hagrid who delivers the most astonishing news - Harry's a wizard. As he heads to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry makes friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, meets oh-so-wise Professor Dumbledore and the complex Severus Snape and their incredible adventure begins. But evil in the shape of Lord Voldemort is getting ever closer - and the Dark Lord has his sights set firmly on Harry.

    Throughout the seven books, Harry learns what it means to be a Gryffindor student and the value of friendship and trust. The eight films starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were a record-breaking success and now you can relive the stories where it all began time and time again with this amazing Harry Potter box set - Expecto Patronum!
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