"Harry Potter's" gifts to pop culture

Slide show: More than a decade after the first J.K. Rowling story was released, we're still saying thank you

Published July 14, 2011 11:30AM (EDT)

 Since the first release of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in June 1997, author J.K. Rowling and her young wizards have helped define more than a decade of pop culture. Where would we be without the homosexual-Dumbledore controversy, sorting-hat jokes, and the knowledge that these books and movies are secretly turning our children into godless heathens?

It's hard to imagine a world without "Harry Potter" and its various franchise tie-ins, and though I'm not the hugest H.P. fan out there, I'm eternally grateful to Ms. Rowling for making Quidditch a real sport played by college students, and for bringing "Doctor Who" scarves back in style.

Below, a guide to some of the best gifts "Harry Potter's" world has bestowed on our own.

By Drew Grant

Drew Grant is a staff writer for Salon. Follow her on Twitter at @videodrew.

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