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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 February 2007, 18:24 GMT
Rowling unveils last Potter date
Scene from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The books have spawned a successful movie series
The last instalment of the Harry Potter saga will be published on 21 July, author JK Rowling has announced.

She confirmed the date fans will be able to get their hands on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on her website.

Rowling has said two characters die in the final book and fans are wondering whether Harry is one of them.

The Potter books have sold 325 million copies worldwide, have been translated into 64 languages and spawned five blockbuster movies.

This is the 10th anniversary of the first book of the hugely successful series being published.

Page from Rowling's website
The release date was announced on Rowling's wizard-themed website
Shops opened at midnight and queues formed when the last book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was released.

It sold 2,009,574 copies in Britain on the first day of its release, publisher Bloomsbury said.

The firm said it would publish a children's hardback edition, an adult hardback, a special gift edition and an audio book on the same day.

As well as making Rowling a dollar billionaire, the books have been credited with bringing children back to reading and reviving the British film industry.

When asked about Harry's fate, Rowling has said she could understand authors who killed off their characters, to stop others writing new adventures.

'Much anticipation'

But she admitted being worried about the reaction from fans if the boy wizard came to a sticky end.

Rowling always made it clear the series would be in seven parts and much of the plot was almost set in stone.

In a recent web posting, she said: "I'm now writing scenes that have been planned, in some cases, for a dozen years or even more."

THE COMPLETE HARRY POTTER
A selection of Harry Potter books
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the US)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The latest film based on the books, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be released in the UK on 13 July 2007.

Wayne Winstone, children's manager for Waterstone's book store, said: "Not only will this be the biggest selling book, it will also break all records to become the fastest selling book of all time."

"There are not many people who want to wait to find out what happens and risk hearing the news from their friends."

Head of books at online retailer Amazon, Christopher North, said: "It may be a long time before we see another book that commands as much anticipation, attention and demand as this final book in the Harry Potter series."

E-mails sent to the BBC backed up this sense of excitement.

"Heck, yeah! The party to end all parties - I am NOT missing that, I've been imagining the moment since I was eight!" wrote one fan.


SEE ALSO
Title of Harry Potter 7 revealed
21 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
Rowling returns to cafe writing
20 Dec 06 |  Edinburgh and East
'I'll miss Harry' says JK Rowling
02 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
A Muggle's guide to Harry Potter
28 May 04 |  Entertainment

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