Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main story arc concerns Harry's quest to overcome the evil dark wizard Lord Voldemort, whose aim is to subjugate non-magical people, conquer the wizarding world, and destroy all those who stand in his way, especially Harry Potter.
Since the 30 June 1997 release of the first novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the books have gained immense popularity, critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide. The series has also had some share of criticism, including concern for the increasingly dark tone. As of June 2011[update], the book series has sold about 450 million copies and has been translated into 67 languages, and the last four books consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history.
A series of many genres, including fantasy and coming of age (with elements of mystery, thriller, and romance), it has many cultural meanings and references. According to Rowling, the main theme is death, although it is primarily considered to be a work of children's literature. There are also many other themes in the series, such as love and prejudice.
The initial major publishers of the books were Bloomsbury in the United Kingdom and Scholastic Press in the United States; the books have since been published by many publishers worldwide. In October 2011, the series will be released in various ebook formats through "Pottermore". The books have been made into an eight-part film series by Warner Bros. Pictures, with the seventh book split into two parts; it is the highest grossing film series of all time. The series also originated much tie-in merchandise, making the Harry Potter brand worth in excess of $15 billion