The Harry Potter stories weren't written in a day, and through it all, author J.K. Rowling passed some milestones of her own. Here's a sampling.
July 31, 1965
J.K. (Joanne Kathleen) Rowling is born in Chipping Sodbury near Bristol, England. Faithful readers will notice that she gave Harry the same birthday (month and day) as her own. (Her last name rhymes with bowling.)
1970 or 1971
Rowling writes her first story, "Rabbit," about a rabbit with measles.
Rowling earns her degree at the University of Exeter, where she focused on the study of French. During her school years, she had always excelled in languages.
Harry Potter is "born," according to Rowling, when he just pops into her head while she is riding a train. It takes her several years to write the first book.
(The Hogwarts Express, not the train Rowling was riding when she first thought of Harry Potter.)
Rowling gives birth to her first child, Jessica. Divorced after a brief marriage to journalist Jorge Arantes, Rowling settles in Edinburgh, Scotland, to be near her sister, Di. She goes through a time of poverty and depression.
"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is published. Harrymania ensues shortly thereafter.
The title of the final book in the Harry Potter series in announced as "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows."
No publication date or other details were offered. Author J.K. Rowling is still working on the book, she explained on her Web site, which also offers a game for fans.
Feb. 1, 2007
Author J.K. Rowling announces that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the last of seven installments of her mega-selling international phenomenon, will be published at midnight on July 21, 2007.
It's a time to be marked by celebrations and more than a few tears, as Rowling wraps up the magical adventures of the boy wizard, his friends and his enemies.
May 31, 2007
Plans are announced for "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter," attraction at Universal Studios in Orlando. The "theme park within a theme park" is scheduled to open in late 2009.
June 26, 2007
A first edition "Harry Potter" book fetches $18,000 at auction. The winning bid for the first novel by J.K. Rowling that launched Pottermania went to an anonymous buyer. Bonhams auctioneers had estimated the book would sell for between $10,000 and $20,000.
July 11, 2007
"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" hits theatres.
J.K. In April, Rowling testifies before a packed federal courtroom in New York City in a lawsuit to block publication of a Harry Potter lexicon, telling a judge that the book amounts to a "wholesale theft" of nearly 20 years of her hard work.
Later that year, a judge ruled in her favor and blocked the publication of the book.
July 15, 2009
The film version of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" hits theaters.