Time flies when you're a wizard. Well, if flies when you're a muggle too. Now that we're firmly footed in 2017, it seems well worth acknowledging that this is the year in which J.K. Rowling set the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (Major Harry Potter spoilers ahead!)
The epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is set nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts and the defeat of Lord Voldemort. Though four out of seven of them were released in the 2000s, the books were technically set in the 1990s, with Deathly Hallows' final (pre-epilogue) chapter closing out in Spring 1998. The actual years weren't specifically referenced in the Harry Potter books, however there were certain references that lock down the timeframe. The one fans most-often use is probably Nearly Headless Nick's 500th deathday celebration in Chamber of Secrets. Harry attends the ghostly party, and notes the text on Nick's tombstone cake:
The year on the cake celebrating his 500th deathday is 1492, which would make the present day 1992 in the fall part of Chamber of Secrets. The years that follow lead the Battle of Hogwarts to take place in 1998, which means that 19 years later would be 2017. This year.
In the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry, Ron and Hermione are all adults, and standing on Platform 9 3/4, ready to see their children off to Hogwarts. Harry and Ginny's son James is returning to school, while their second son, Albus Severus, anxiously prepares to board the Hogwarts Express for the first time. Young Lily is still waiting for her own first day of school.
The epilogue of Deathly Hallows is actually also part of the introduction to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which picks up where the books left off, and takes us through the challenges Albus Potter faces in the shadow of his older brother, and -- more importantly -- his hugely famous father.
Albus' first day at Hogwarts won't happen for another nine months, so we're not quite there yet. Still, it's a bit surreal to realize we've stepped much closer to the "future" of the Potterverse, especially when we consider how far off this time period seemed when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows first hit shelves... nearly ten years ago.
The Harry Potter fandom is obviously still going strong, and J.K. Rowling has proven time and again that the magic is still alive and well in her mind and heart. Not only did she revisit her beloved characters through the development of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child West End stage production, but she's also taken us back in time to tell Newt Scamander's story with Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. The film released in November, and four more are expected to arrive in the years to come.
Last September, J.K. Rowling mistakenly referenced the epilogue in a Tweet acknowledging the 19-years-later event. Soon after, she issued a correction, blaming Cursed Child for getting her wires crossed on the dates. We imagine she'll have something to say on the subject of Albus's official first day at Hogwarts when September of 2017 finally does roll around.
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