"Blimey Harry, didn't you ever wonder where your Mum and Dad learned it all?"
On 26 June 1997, J.K. Rowling launched the first of what was to become one of the most popular pieces of fantasy fiction of all time – Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone. Today, the seven Potter books are considered must-reads for children (and many adults) and have gone on to earn fans from all corners of the world.
The magical adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione go beyond just tales of good versus bad, enchantments, spells and fantastical creatures. The books are recognised for the important messages they promote, from tolerance to inclusion. Celebrating two decades of magic, IBTimes UK lists 10 life lessons learned from J.K. Rowling and the Potter series.
Never give up
Wealth, popularity and fandom did not come easily to Rowling. The author was faced with at least 12 rejections from publishing houses before Bloomsbury finally took a chance on her.
"The first agent I ever queried sent back a slip saying 'My list is full. The folder you sent wouldn't fit in the envelope," the 51-year-old recalled. "I really minded about the folder, because I had almost no money and had to buy another one."
Choose your friends wisely
On his first day at Hogwarts, Draco Malfoy introduced himself to Harry and tried to win his friendship. Harry went with his gut and decided to instead to become friends with the ginger-haired Ron Weasley and Muggle-born Hermione Granger.
People aren't always what they seem
Right from the start, characters in the books never turned out to be how they first seemed. Bumbling Professor Quirrell played host to Voldemort, Sirius Black turned out to a warm and loving godfather and most famously, scary Severus Snape sacrificed himself for Harry out of love for his mother, Lily.
Love is eternal
"Don't pity the dead," Dumbledore tells Harry. "Pity the living, and above all, all those who live without love." Many believe that Tom Riddle turned evil because he never felt love and it was love after all that almost killed him when Lilly sacrificed herself for baby Harry.
Wear your weirdness with pride
Luna Lovegood was considered odd and weird because of her eccentric behaviour and even earned the nickname Loony. However, it was her unique outlook on life that often came to Harry's rescue and she proved to be a worthy friend.
Money can't buy happiness
Harry had a vault full of gold at Gringotts but he always envied Ron because despite not being well-off, the latter had a large and loving family... something Harry never experienced.
Draco Malfoy taught he could buy his way into the Slytherin Quidditch team as seeker by providing all the players with the latest brooms. But despite the faster gear, they were unable to compete against real skill and talent.
Treat everyone with a modicum of respect
"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals," Sirius Black rightly said in The Goblet Of Fire book. A great example of this is the relationship of master and slave that Lucius Malfoy had with Dobby, his house elf.
Knowledge is as important as physical strength
Hermione is the perfect example of this. On various occasions when neither Harry nor Ron could find a way out of a sticky mess, it was Hermione who discovered the solution thanks to the extensive amount of knowledge she gained from reading books.
Good friends can help you through anything
The Harry Potter books are as much about friendship as they are about magic. Harry, Ron and Hermione support and help each other through various obstacles and forge a friendship that helps them defeat trolls, death eaters and most famously, Lord Voldemort.
Lilly and James, Harry's parents also had a close circle of friends who were willing to do anything for them.
Magic is everywhere and in everyone
While many of us are still waiting on our Hogwarts letters, there is no denying that magic is not present in the Muggle world. Rowling's works opened out eyes to the magic of books and our own imaginations.