Enjoy these Harry Potter facts (mental floss):
* Many of the dates used in the Harry Potter books have holiday significance. Harry's birthday is July 31, just like J.K. Rowling's. The young wizard's parents were killed on Halloween, and godfather Sirius Black was incarcerated at Azkaban the following day. Tom Riddle was born on New Year's Eve 1926, and the mischievous Weasley twins – Fred and George – were born on April Fool's Day.
* Author J.K. Rowling has seen both sides of plagiarism cases involving her most famous character. In 2002, author Nancy Stouffer accused her of stealing her character, Larry Potter, from a 1984 book titled The Legend of Rah and the Muggles, but the case was thrown out of court after the judge determined that Stouffer had falsified evidence to back her claims. But only one year later, Rowling and her publisher successfully sued a Dutch publisher trying to push a book about a young female wizard named Tanya Grotter.
* Rowling was once a single mom on Welfare, but earlier this year, Forbes placed her estimated net worth at $1 billion, behind only Oprah Winfrey. The combination of the new book and the pending movies may well help her reach the top of their list of "The Richest 20 Women in Entertainment." Rowling is the only full-time author on the Forbes list, and is thought to be the only author in history to exceed the $1 billion mark. The success of the books has also helped the companies associated with the brand, from Scholastic (the books) to Mattel (the toys) and Warner Brothers (the films). Each has earned hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to the popularity of Harry Potter.
* The timeline of the Harry Potter book series is now ten full years behind "real time." Based on other dates in the book, Harry was born in 1980 and started school at Hogwarts in 1991. The pending book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is set in 1997 during Harry's final year at Hogwarts. (Coincidence or not, the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, was first published in 1997.) If Harry were alive today, and if he were real, he'd be preparing to celebrate his 27th birthday at the end of this month.
Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-6)