J.K. Rowling’s original “Harry Potter” pitch is now being revealed to the public
We don’t mean to make you feel old (ancient even), but did you know that J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published twenty years ago? That’s an entire two decades, but thankfully, that’s an entire two decades that we’ve had to bond with Harry, Hermione, Ron, Hagrid, and the gang.
Twenty years later, we’re still celebrating the author and her wizarding world, especially as we get to see her original pitch, which will be on display at the “Harry Potter: A History Of Magic” exhibition at London’s British Library. Because even though her world is magical, J.K. Rowling still had to put in a lot of work to get where she is today, and that’s worth celebrating.
Did you know that J.K. Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers before signing to Bloomsbury?
You can’t have chill as a writer, and more than anything, you have to believe in your work and voice no matter how many rejections come your way.
While the original iteration of Harry Potter is different from the one we now know, the original pitch of the book proves that the foundation is the same. Harry lived with the Dursleys, Hagrid broke down the door to deliver Harry his Hogwarts acceptance letter, and Harry still had his infamous scar, given to him by Lord Voldemort.
We got a sneak peek of the original pitch from Seventeen, including:
"The Dursleys' greatest fear is that Harry will discover the truth about himself, so when letters start arriving for him near his eleventh birthday, he isn't allowed to read them. However, the Dursleys aren't dealing with an ordinary postman, and at midnight on Harry's birthday the gigantic Rubeus Hagrid breaks down the door to make sure Harry gets to read his post at last. Ignoring the horrified Dursleys, Hagrid informs Harry that he is a wizard, and the letter he gives Harry explains that he is expected at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in a month's time."
We love that the original pitch included the fact that Harry’s “secret” was being kept by the Dursleys. And we love even more that the pitch goes on to mention Harry’s soon-to-be best friends.
"Harry makes friends with Ronald Weasley (sixth in his family to go to Hogwarts and tired of having to use second-hand spellbooks) and Hermione Granger (cleverest girl in the year and the only person in the class to know all the uses of dragon's blood). Together, they have their first lessons in magic — astronomy up on the tallest tower at two in the morning, herbology out in the greenhouses."
We hope that we’ll eventually get a chance to see the exhibit for ourselves. Until then, we’ll just be reading this manuscript until we can get our eyes on the real thing.