Happy Birthday, Harry Potter!

Find out about the mystery of the real Harry Potter birthdate!
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Updated on: November 2, 2001

Happy Birthday, Harry Potter!

If Harry Potter could collect birthday cards from fans, on July 31 he'd be flooded with mail at the Dursley House once again. That day marks his birthday, which many readers of the Harry Potter series will celebrate at homes and bookstores in Harry's native Great Britain and abroad.

Party While You Wait
Harry Potter birthday parties have taken place in other years.

How will you honor Harry's birthday — with some chocolate frogs, or by staging one of your favorite scenes? You could buy yourself a present for Harry's special day. In honor of Harry's birthday, why not buy another Harry Potter book?

How Old Is Harry Anyway?
J. K. Rowling has told us that Harry's birthday is July 31, which happens to be her birthday, too. But what year was Harry born?

Near the beginning of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone it says that "tomorrow, Tuesday, was Harry's eleventh birthday." July 31 doesn't fall on a Tuesday very often. Most readers of that first book assumed that, because it was published in 1997, Harry attended Hogwarts during the 1990s. In 1990, July 31 fell on a Tuesday. This would mean that Harry was born in 1979 and would have turned 22 in 2001.

But wait—this theory is contradicted by evidence in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, in which Harry helped celebrate Nearly Headless Nick's death-day anniversary on October 31, 1992. Harry was 12 at that time. So this would mean that Harry was born in 1980, and that he would turn 21 in 2001.

Anyway, does it matter exactly when the books take place? They are, after all, fantasy. Maybe there are contradictory dates because time doesn't pass exactly the same way in the books' world as it does in ours. Or maybe calendars in the land of fantasy don't have to follow our rules!

Some Years That July 31 Falls on a Tuesday:
1962 | 1973 | 1979 | 1984 | 1990 | 2001 | 2007 | 2012

More Harry Hullabaloo
In August 2001, Harry Potter trading cards becameavailable from Wizards of the Coast, a company in Washington state that produced Pokemon trading cards. And in November 2001, a Harry Potter video game was released by Electronic Arts, which developed the game at studios in Seattle, Washington, and London, England.

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