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Bookshop In Salt Lake City Celebrates Harry Potter's Birthday

White male stands in front of microphone reading. He holds Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in front of the microphone. He stands beneath a green umbrella.
Tamsen Maloy

It’s been 20 years since the first Harry Potter book was published in the United States, and 11 years since the final book was published. The passage of time since publishing hasn’t diminished the devotion fans have for the series—especially on what was Harry’s birthday, July 31st.                   

Visitors to The King's English Bookshop on July 31 could listen in while the Harry Potter books were read on the lawn in front of the store. 

Rob Eckman, the marketing manager at the King’s English Bookshop read from the books at a Harry Potter birthday celebration at the bookstore in Salt Lake City.

The celebration included costumes, a scavenger hunt and Hogwarts classes like Muggle Studies and Astronomy.

Harry Potter stories have a cult following and innovative ideas but contain timeless storytelling elements.

"First of all we have a kid who’s an orphan—not an uncommon theme in any age of literature," said Margaret Neville. Neville is the children’s book buyer and a manager at King’s English.

"He’s got dueling worlds," she said. "He’s got this evil stepmother side, and then we’ve got the school with all the magic. I think that classic good versus evil story still holds true also. People want the good guys to win."

Neville says Harry Potter is a story that appeals to all kinds of people, and that part of the lasting love for the series is because of the decency the “good” characters have for each other.

"There’s a lot of awareness that other people have feelings, that other people belong just because they’re people or creatures, or whatever they are. And I think that’s a really important thing," Neville said.

The magic of Harry Potter is rich and detailed, Neville said. But the books also have elements we are all familiar with.

"This is a book where somebody says Snape is bad. But Snape is not bad. Somebody says Snape is good, but Snape may not be good either. And that’s what the world is really like."