(Reuters) - Following are the events in the Harry Potter saga, leading up to the premiere of the eighth and final film in the series on Thursday — “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2.”
1995 - In Edinburgh, Joanne Rowling completes the manuscript of her first Harry Potter story, called “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.”
1996 - Bloomsbury accepts the manuscript for publication. The Scottish Arts Council gives J.K. Rowling a grant to work on her books.
1997 - “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” is published in July and in the United States as “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in October 1998.
July 1998 - “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” is published by Bloomsbury and goes straight into the no. 1 slot in BookTrack bestseller list.
October 1998 - Warner Bros. secures film rights to the first two books for a seven-figure sum.
July 1999 - “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is published by Bloomsbury.
July 2000 - “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is published. Some 372,775 hardback copies of the book are sold in British bookshops and Internet sites when it is released on July 8, dwarfing previous records.
November 2001 - The film of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” is released.
November 2002 - “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” film version is released in Britain and the United States. In Britain, the film earned $15.7 million in its first weekend, edging past the original’s record by about $300,000.
June 2003 - “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” is published in Britain and the United States. The fifth book in the series, sells more than 5 million copies in its first day.
June 2004 - Film of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is released taking $92.7 million in the United States. The three-day haul for the new film surpasses the $90.3 million for “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (as the movie was called in North America) in November 2001, and the $88.4 million launch for “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” a year later.
July 2005 - “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” the sixth volume of the Harry Potter saga, sells more than 8.9 million copies in its first 24 hours in the United States and Britain.
November 2005 - The film of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” opens with new additions to the cast including Ralph Fiennes as the evil Lord Voldemort, who helps give the film a darker tone than its predecessors.
July 2007 - “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” the fifth movie in the series has the wizard Harry flummoxed by his mates at the Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft who doubt his near-death battle with the evil Lord Voldemort.
— “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the seventh and final volume in the tale of boy wizard Harry Potter sells more than 11 million copies snapped up during the first 24 hours of release in three markets alone.
July 2009 - The sixth film in the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” opens. It grossed $934 million.
June 2010 - The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park opens at Universal’s Islands of Adventure park in Orlando, Florida. The 20-acre Harry Potter park reportedly cost $250 million to build and recreates the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
October 2010 - Rowling is interviewed by U.S. television host Oprah Winfrey saying she cried uncontrollably when she finished the last Potter book.
November 2010 - The seventh film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1” opens around the world on November 19. It has to date grossed $952 million.
July 2011 - The final movie “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2” is to be premiered in London on July 7 and released eight days later in the United States and many other countries.
— The film follows Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) as they prepare for a final battle with Lord Voldemort (Fiennes), who is determined to destroy Harry once and for all.
Sources: Reuters/Warner Bros. website/www.hp-lexicon.org
Writing by David Cutler, editing by Paul Casciato; London Editorial Reference Unit