When one of the cable channels aired a biopic of J.K. Rowling, it seemed a good time to revisit the first Harry Potter. I have the complete set on my bookshelf, and it’s comforting to know that a single mother down on her luck was able to imagine a world of wizards and magic that would make a better place. Maybe it helps to be angry and tired to tap into words that are consoling.
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you…Ray Bradbury
Rowling was talented and imaginative and lucky. Other books have offered entrance into a magical world – sometimes wizards – but none had the following of Harry Potter. Rick Riordan’s superheroes series comes close in popularity, but Percy doesn’t seem to have the same appeal to adults as Harry.
Rowling cleverly gave the reader installments that teased into an excitement of expectation. What would happen to Harry in the next book? And the formula worked well – a poor orphan who was relegated to an unloving home, only to find himself a prince of the extraordinary. Doesn’t every little girl and boy – and adult – dream of being discovered and powerful?
Rereading Harry and the Sorcerer’s Stone was just as much fun as reading it the first time – maybe more so since now I know how it will all end.
Joanne (Kathleen) Rowling, (the first syllable rhymes with ‘row’ your boat) creator of Harry Potter, celebrates her birthday today. Her manuscript for The Philosopher’s Stone, the first in the series, was turned down a few times before Bloomsbury agreed to publish it in 1997, when she was 32 years old.
Rowling said her inspiration came while she was waiting…
“It was after a weekend’s flat-hunting, when I was travelling back to London on my own on a crowded train, that the idea for Harry Potter simply fell into my head… I didn’t have a functioning pen with me, and I was too shy to ask anybody if I could borrow one. I think, now, that this was probably a good thing, because I simply sat and thought, for four (delayed train) hours…”
JK Rowling bedroom
Now one of her childhood homes is for sale – with her inscription on the window sill (Joanne Rowling slept here…) – JK Rowling Home.
I read all the Harry Potter books as soon as they were published, and promptly forgot each one until the next. Of course, the movies help to keep the fire burning – with the last in the series now finally out.
If you have not read any, dip in anywhere – not necessary to read them in order. – or better yet – listen to them on tape. My favorite was The Prisoner of Azkaban, when Harry’s Patronus, his mystical protector, saves the day. Expecto Patronum and Happy Birthday!