Flashback: J.K. Rowling Talks Harry Potter After Release of First Book in 1997

It’s been 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone hit bookshelves and spawned a billion-dollar book and film franchise. To celebrate the milestone, the BBC released a 1997 interview with author J.K. Rowling in which she talks about seeing the book on the shelf for the first time and the direction in which the franchise was heading.

First editions of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, top, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, middle, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban are seen on display before the start of Continental & English Antiquarian Books, Modern First Editions auction in London. (AP Photo: Sang Tan)

“That was the best moment of all. Better than anything that’s come since was seeing it. And it was a real book in a proper real bookshop. It was wonderful,” Rowling said of the first time she saw the book in the bookstore.

Though it’s common knowledge nowadays among Harry Potter fans, Rowling also gave insight into the future of the young wizard when talking about the second book, which she’d just finished.

“It’s called Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry finds out he has a power that sets him apart from other wizards,” Rowling said, adding, “There’s some quite scary stuff in it as well.”

Rowling’s advice for aspiring writers was to start with a subject you’re familiar with and just keep going.

Watch this BBC anchor sit in captivating silence while everything around him breaks down:

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