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Apart from May 2 and July 31—the Battle of Hogwarts and Harry Potter’s birthday respectively—no other date looms larger in the minds of Harry Potter fans than that of Sept. 1. It represents a new beginning as witches and wizards as young as 11 board the Hogwarts Express, located on Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station in London. At 11am on the dot, the train leaves the station and whisks those students to school.
Although more than 20 years has passed since Harry, Ron, and Hermione first took that train ride to Hogwarts, the time for one of the more fateful trips has arrived.
Sept. 1, 2017, marks the day that Harry and Ginny Potter’s second child, Albus Severus Potter, Ron and Hermione’s eldest child Rose Granger-Weasley, and Draco Malfoy’s son, Scorpius, board the Hogwarts Express for the first time. (The date itself is calculated from J.K. Rowling’s “Nineteen Years Later” flash forward scene after the Battle of Hogwarts, which took place on May 2, 1998.) It’s significant enough in Potter canon that it occurred in two different mediums: It marked the end of the Harry Potter series in its polarizing epilogue as well as the very beginning of the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. We discovered on the page and on the stage that Albus was afraid that he would be sorted into Slytherin House, the same fear Harry had as a child, while his father tried to assure him that it would be his choice.
Although us mere Muggles cannot enter Platform 9 3/4 to get to Hogwarts like those young witches and wizards, fans have gathered to King’s Cross Station to mark the occasion. Fan hub Pottermore livestreamed as fans from all over the world traveled to one meaningful place to celebrate 20 years of Harry Potter as well as 19 years later. They raised their wands and their phones to celebrate a new beginning for the next generation.
They also counted down as the clock struck 11, marking the start of something brand new.
“This is our home, this is our family, this whole entire event means love,” a fan named Katie, who was dressed as a Hogwarts Express conductor and traveled from California to attend, said. “The love we have for each other, the love we have for the fandom, and the stories and for J.K. Rowling.”
Rowling also marked the occasion on Twitter as she retweeted snapshots of the scene at King’s Cross and, when reminded by a fan of what else took place on Platform 9 3/4, to give a young couple a bit of privacy.
Today's the day Albus Severus Potter boards the Hogwarts Express at King's Cross for the first time #19yearslater ⚡️— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 1, 2017
Please, allow them some privacy. https://t.co/xaHh65Y2rD— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 1, 2017
The cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child discussed the particular significance of Sept. 1 for them, for it encapsulated both a beginning and an end in Harry’s story.
Pottermore also launched a new feature on its website that will allow users to thoroughly explore Hogwarts through 100 different “hotspots” located around the castle and its grounds. Hotspots can be found by clicking on various objects as you explore Hogwarts.
Albus, Rose, and Scorpius are now on their way to Hogwarts. It’s unclear if Rowling will live-tweet the Sorting Ceremony like she did with Albus’ older brother James—the Sorting is covered in Cursed Child—but, we do know one thing. All their lives are about to change.
Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and the resident Game of Thrones expert at the Daily Dot. She covers entertainment, geek culture, and pop culture and has brought her knowledge to conventions like Con of Thrones. She is based in New Jersey.