Harry Potter Timeline

The life of J.K. Rowling and her famous creation, Harry Potter, are presented in this timeline.
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Holidays (392)

Updated on: July 9, 2007
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Nancy Stouffer counter-sues, claiming that Rowling did steal her ideas.

March 28:

Chris Columbus is chosen as the director for the first Harry Potter film.

August 21:

After a long search, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint are chosen to play Harry, Hermione, and Ron on film.

July 8:
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, is published in both the United Kingdom and the United States, with a record-setting combined first printing of more than 5 million copies. This is the first time the book is released at the same time in both countries, and the first time it's released on Saturday, so that children can get and read the book as soon as it comes out without skipping school. Both these practices are followed for every book that follows.

This book is much longer (734 pages!) and darker than any of the previous books in the series, leading some critics to predict that the Harry Potter fad will end here.

July 23:

Up until now, the available Harry Potter books have been at or near the top of the New York Times list of bestsellers. Beginning this week (the first one in which Goblet of Fire appears), children's books have a list of their own, to keep them from competing with more grown-up titles.

March 12:

Two schoolbooks from Harry's world–Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages–are released. All the profits go to Comic Relief, a British charity.

November 16:

The first film is released, opening on a record 3,762 screens in the U.S. alone. On opening weekend, it grosses $90 million in America and £16 million in the U.K., setting records in both countries.

A few scenes have been filmed twice, so that characters talk about the "Sorcerer's Stone" in the American version and "Philosopher's Stone" in the British version.

December 26:

Rowling marries anesthesiologist Neil Murray.


The court deciding the lawsuits involving Nancy Stouffer rules in favor of Rowling, saying that there is no reasonable possibility of confusion between the books. Stouffer is found to have lied to the court and forged documents to support her case, and is required to pay a fine and some of her opponents' legal fees. Stouffer appeals the ruling.

October 25:

Richard Harris, who played Dumbledore in the movies, dies. This does not affect the second film, which has already been completed.

November 15:

The second film, once again directed by Chris Columbus, opens. On opening weekend, this one makes $88 million in America, for the third-largest opening (behind the first film and Spider-Man), and almost £19 million in the U.K., setting another record.

March 23:

Rowling gives birth to her second child, David Gordon Rowling Murray.

June 21:
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, is released. The first printing is 6.4 million copies in the U.S. alone— the most ever, by a wide margin. At 870 pages, this is the longest book in the series, about three times the size of the first volume.


A higher court rejects Stouffer's appeal, and orders her to pay the court costs.

May 31:

The third film opens in the United Kingdom, taking in £5.3 million in one day, and £23.9 million on opening weekend; both are records. It opens four days later in the United States, grossing $93.7 million, for the third-best opening weekend (this time behind Spider-Man and Shrek 2.) There's a new director, Alfonso Cuarón, and Michael Gambon takes over the role of Dumbledore.



January 23:

Rowling gives birth to her third child, Mackenzie Jean Rowling Murray.

July 16:
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is released. It's 672 pages long, making this the first book in the series to be shorter than the one before it. The U.S. first printing is a record-shattering 10.8 million copies. In another first, Braille and large-print editions are released on the same day as the other editions.

November 18:

The fourth film is released. This time, the director is Mike Newell. It has biggest opening weekend of any Harry Potter film, taking in $101.4 million in the U.S. and £14.9 million in the U.K.

February 1:

The publication date for the seventh and final Harry Potter book is announced to be July 21, 2007 at 12:01 A.M. The title of the book is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Rowling states that two characters will die, leading fans to speculate that Harry is one of them.

November 17:

The first trailer for the film version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is released. The movie's release date is set for Wednesday, July 11th in the US. Michael Goldenberg replaces Stever Kloves as screenwriter, a position Kloves had held for the previous four films.

May 31:

Warner Brothers Entertainment and Universal Orlando Resort announce that they plan to create "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" at the Florida amusement park. The attraction is described as a "theme park within a theme park," and will include full scale models of the spots made famous by the popular books and movies. The park is set to open in 2009.

July 11:

The next film in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, is scheduled to open.

July 21:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The final book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is scheduled for release at 12:01 a.m. J.K. Rowling has said that two characters will die in the final installment. Whether Harry Potter will be one of those two is something fans are pondering.


It is announced that the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is set to be released worldwide.


The series sells over 400 million copies.

December 4:

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is published for the public; Rowling created seven hand-made copies of the book and auctioned the seventh in 2007 for charity. The book consists of original fairy tales and is mentioned throughout Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

July 15:
The film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth book in the series, is released.


Provided by Infoplease—an authoritative, comprehensive reference website that offers an encyclopedia, a dictionary, an atlas, and several almanacs. Visit Infoplease.com to find more resources endorsed by teachers and librarians.

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