“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”
That’s J K Rowling, a woman par excellence, with an endless amount of struggle stains up her sleeves before becoming the global phenomenon which she is today with her mind blowing, unanimously loved Harry Potter series.
Joanne Kathleen Rowling was born on July 31, 1965 in Yate near Bristol, England. An author, screenwriter and philanthropist, Rowling is a household name today primarily for her breakout series named ‘Harry Potter’.
“Certainly the first story I ever wrote down was about a rabbit called Rabbit,” Rowling mentioned in a 1998 interview. She always knew since a very young age that she wanted to write novels. That’s all that was on her mind and that’s all that she had always wanted to do in her life.
Post her graduation, while dabbling between multiple jobs for a basic livelihood, the writing enthusiast came up with an idea revolving around an orphan kid who realises that he is blessed with exceptional other worldly powers and gets himself enrolled in the highly prestigious ‘Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’.
After being rejected multiple times since 1995, the very first part of the Harry Potter series released in 1997 named ‘Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone’ while creating a rage amongst the young readers, only for the target audience and the reader base to widen considerably over months and years. It made young minds imagine a highly fictitious world filled with magical realism. Within a year, 3 lakh copies were sold in the UK, while also winning numerous literature awards.
As confessed by Rowling herself, she had to undergo a lot of hardships in order to complete the first book. She ended up visiting cafes to write on a regular basis while making ends meet back home somehow on the basis of the governmental grants for her prior work. The very idea for the book (and the series as a whole) hit her during a train journey she undertook from Manchester to London’s King Cross station.
Rowling read extensively all through her youth, influence of which is visible in her books with an endless number of creative, never heard before terminologies and original ideas making way one after the other in her work.
By 1998, the second part in the series ‘Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets’ was out, again to great critical acclaim and phenomenal commercial success. The same year Warner Bros bought the film adaptation rights for the first two parts and the rest thereafter is history.
‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ came out in 1999 and ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire’ came out in 2000 with a significant rise in the franchise’s popularity. ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ and ‘Quidditch Through the Ages’ were released in 2001 out of which Fantastic Beasts also ended up getting adapted into a series of films quite recently.
Potter series continued with ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ being released in 2003 and ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ in 2005. In 2007, the series got a fitting closure with the highly anticipated ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’.
The gigantic success of the 7 part series had an unprecedented effect on the publishing industry with the books being translated in 60+ languages while being distributed across 300 countries selling over 500 million copies worldwide.
Post Harry Potter phase, Rowling wrote and published her other books ‘A casual vacancy’, ‘The Cuckoo’s calling’, ‘The silkworm’, ‘Career of Evil’, etc.
In 2016, Rowling wrote a play set in the Potter world named ‘Harry Potter and the cursed child’. In the succeeding years, she wrote screenplays for her ‘Fantastic Beasts and where to find them’ series.
Other than being a world renowned figure for her creative contribution to literature and writing in general, the legendary storyteller is also known for her vastly extensive philanthropy work, so much so that she always detested the tag of being a Billionaire. She used to always donate a major part of her earnings to charity from time to time.
J K Rowling had once mentioned “I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”
Isn’t that inspiring and motivating enough for you to deep dive into the Hogwarts madness or maybe even create one of your own? 🙂