Ready to feel old? Today marks 20 years since the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was published.

Time certainly flies while you’re up there on a Quidditch Broom.

I don’t know about you all, but the Harry Potter series was an essential part of my childhood. I’ve read each and every one of the books multiple times, and still can remember the anticipation of getting my hands on the next installment — which I had to get the day it came out.

And, every time a new book came out, it was a pretty big deal — Barnes and Noble would have release parties where you would dress up as Harry or Hermione, and there would be huge lines of readers looking forward to getting their hands on that latest book.

But, Harry Potter spans so much more than just seven novels. There are movies, Harry Potter themed parks, plays and so much more.

And to think, all that didn’t almost didn’t happen, as J.K. Rowling received rejection upon rejection for that first novel. I can’t even picture my childhood without Hogwarts, without the beloved cast of characters, and without those seven books.

With that being said, there are few books out there, if any at all, that have received the same amount of acclaim that the Harry Potter books did. Let me ask you this, when was the last time a book series made headlines each time the next book came out? I minored in English in college, and I can’t even tell you. Harry Potter got people reading, and excited about doing so.

For me, reading a Harry Potter book was like going on adventure as a kid — it was almost as if I had my own ticket to the Hogwarts express and snuck into Hogsmeade with Harry. I remember how I cried when beloved characters such as Snape and Dumbledore died, and I remember how I felt when the series was finally over. In my almost 20 years as a reader, I can only think of a select few novels that had the power to do so.

And I’m not the only one whose life has been touched by Harry Potter. For example, one of my friends fell in love with reading when she read the series for the first time when she was younger. Several of my friends still quote the series on a regular basis, and even re-read the books to this day.

With that being said, happy 20th anniversary to the series that not only shaped a generation, but became an essential part of literature in the modern world.

What do you think? Comment below