Happy birthday, Harry Potter! The Chosen One turns 37 today

JK Rowling's iconic character - who shares her birthday - was born into the wizarding world on 31st July 1980

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It’s 31st July and any Harry Potter fan worth their weight in gold galleons will know what that means – it’s the Boy Who Lived’s birthday.

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JK Rowling gave her famous character her own birthday: Rowling turns 52 and Harry hits 37.

Now, 2017 is even more special given that it’s been 20 years since the first Harry Potter book was published, but that doesn’t mean we can’t also celebrate Harry and Rowling’s birthdays too does it?

Hold on, Harry Potter can’t be in his mid-thirties, can he?

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He can indeed. Harry James Potter was born to James and Lily Potter on Thursday 31st July 1980. No, there’s no mention of the exact year in the book, but thanks to Nearly Headless Nick’s Death Day, fans were able to work it out.

In Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, the trio are celebrating Nearly Headless Nick’s 500th Deathday – the anniversary of the fateful day when his head was nearly chopped off – on 31st October. Nick says he was almost decapitated in 1492, so if we count forward 500 years it means Harry was 12 years old in October 1992.

Count back 12 years and you’ll find yourself in 1980.

But I thought Daniel Radcliffe was only 28?

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Yes, the Harry Potter actor celebrated his 28th birthday this year (he was born on 23rd July 1989) but JK Rowling didn’t write a book about him. You’d be forgiven for struggling to differentiate between the two, given that the later novels were released while Radcliffe was growing up on-screen before our eyes.

What was happening when Harry Potter was born, then?

1980 was a big year for the wizarding world, with Harry arriving mere hours after Neville Longbottom, who was born on 30th July.

Molly and Arthur Weasley welcomed a son by the name of Ron on 1st March – he celebrates his 17th birthday on that date, under the influence of Romilda Vane’s love potion, in Half Blood Prince.

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And Hermione Granger celebrated her first birthday, having been welcomed into the muggle world on 19th September 1979.

Over at the Ministry of Magic, Millicent Bagnold took control, staying in power as Minister until 1990. Her real-life counterpart, Margaret Thatcher, made her “Lady’s not for turning speech” that same year. We bet that proved for a lively first meeting with The Other Minister.

So when did Harry actually defeat Voldemort once and for all?

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If we follow the timeline based on Nearly Headless Nick’s Deathday, the Battle of Hogwarts takes place in 1998, just before Harry’s 18th birthday.

And when will it be those ’19 years later’ mentioned in the Deathly Hallows epilogue?

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2017 – this year! Harry Potter play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be marking the date on 19th September, the day the Harry Potter films end and the play begins. #19YearsLater

Now, it’s time to celebrate: let’s all go and have a Harry Potter party.


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