Harry Potter Birthday Controversy

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff
Happy Birthday, Harry!
A whole lot of cheering, but how many candles for Harry's cake?


by Holly Hartman


* Visit our Harry Potter Page for more news! *

This article was posted on July 26, 2001.

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



How will you honor Harry's birthday—with some chocolate frogs, or by staging one of your favorite scenes?

Harry Potter birthday parties have taken place in other years. But this time around, his birthday comes more than two years after the release of the fourth book in the series. And since the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, is unlikely to hit stores before spring 2003, birthday parties will probably be the major Harry event of 2002 until the second movie is released in November.


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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 turn 23 in 2002.

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 deathday 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 22 in 2002.

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!


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More Harry Hullabaloo



It looks like most of the 2002 Harry Potter news will be movie-related. The video and DVD of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone were released at the end of May. The trailer for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which included a first glimpse of Dobby the House Elf, was released the following month. The new film is scheduled to debut November 15.

Harry Potter fans in China have gotten their hands on a fifth Harry Potter novel—but J. K. Rowling had nothing to do with it. It's a fake called Harry Potter and Leopard-Walk-Up-Dragon, and it's selling like hotcakes. In the book, Harry has shape-shifted into a plump and furry dwarf who must battle an evil dragon. There is no word yet on whether Rowling's representatives will sue.




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



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