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It's been a big year for Harry Potter nostalgia already. On June 26, it was 20 years since the series began with the arrival of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. And then, just 10 days ago, we bemoaned the fact that it's been a decade since the book series ended with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' arrival on shelves on July 21, 2007.
Today, on July 31, Harry is celebrating his 37th birthday and JK Rowling, her 52nd.
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies...," Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
In Harry's world, it's been almost two decades since Voldemort was vanquished — long enough that he may have forgotten what his birthdays used to be like then. It's time to remind him.
7. Order of the Phoenix (15 years old): Harry had a pretty frustrating 15th birthday. Voldemort had just returned but nobody seemed intent on discussing it with Harry. Meanwhile, the Daily Prophet had begun a campaign to make him out to be some sort of 'Scarlet woman'. And all this time, Harry couldn't shake the feeling that all his friends were holed up together somewhere and having a great old time without him. And then came Dementors.
Meeting Mrs. Figg hardly improved Harry's summer (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)
6. Chamber of Secrets (12 years old): While Harry was perhaps eyeing his birthday being genuinely acknowledged for the first time ever, Dobby the House Elf had other plans. Letters from Ron and Hermione were kept from him and he didn't even get to have any of that whipped cream and purpled violets dessert that Aunt Petunia had made for the Masons!
If only Aunt Petunia had made that for Harry (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)
5. Half Blood Prince (16 years old): And so, at the age of 16, Harry got his first birthday party. Of course, it would've perhaps been a more joyous occasion had Sirius not passed away mere weeks ago or if Order members hadn't insisted on sharing worrying reports of the Death Eaters' activities. But by this time, everyone was in pretty deep and Voldemort had just come out into the open. Still, the Molly Weasley-led celebration was much appreciated and well deserved.
Things were getting quite tense by this point (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince)
4. Prisoner of Azkaban (13 years old): This was a mixed one. It began with the arrival of some of the first birthday cards and gifts of Harry's life. There was the broomstick servicing kit, sneakoscope and the Monster Book of Monsters. While Harry was thankful, what he really wanted was for Uncle Vernon to sign his Hogsmeade permission slip. Unfortunately, its fortunes became linked to the arrival of the biggest anti-gift of them all: Aunt Marge
Aunt Marge definitely enjoyed Harry's birthday week. Till this happened... (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
3. Deathly Hallows (17 years old): Taking place shortly after the Battle of the seven Potters which resulted in the death of Mad-Eye Moody, and just before the fall of the Ministry, Harry's 17th was a coming of age in more ways than one. As he entered adulthood (in the Wizarding world), Dumbledore was no longer at hand to protect him. Harry, Hermione and Ron would shortly have to go into hiding in order to hunt Horcruxes, but before all that, there was one final kiss from Ginny and one more marvellous supper cooked by Mrs. Weasley. There were even gifts, courtesy the Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour.
Not a bad birthday gift — a Hallow (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)
2. Goblet of Fire (14 years old): It was going to be a super summer (what's a Dark Mark here and there?) as Harry would go to see the Quidditch World Cup and then stay on at the Burrow before returning to Hogwarts. But before the excitement could begin, Harry had to deal with the Dursleys' new diet rules and the ensuing bad tempers. Thankfully, Ron, Hermione, Sirius and Hagrid came to his rescue by sending him 'superb' birthday cakes!
It was going spectacularly at this point (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
1. Philosopher's Stone (11 years old): Just when it looked like Vernon Dursley had succeeded in evading those pesky owls and St Brutus' Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys beckoned, Hagrid arrived and told Harry something incredible that changed his life (and the wizarding world) forever. And there it began.
Even running into Voldemort couldn't ruin Harry's 11th birthday (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone)
What do you think of this ranking? Let us know!