JK Rowling at 50: sharp, witty, outspoken and passionate

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

50 things we love about J.K. Rowling for her 50th birthday.

Rowling has an estimated net worth of more than $1 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth—a combination of the writer’s impressive book sales and, in no small part, to the success of the “Harry Potter” films. It’s Harry Potter’s 35th birthday today (happy birthday Harry!) and although he’s marching on towards the big 40, no doubt he still remembers the first time he unwrapped a chocolate frog on the Hogwarts Express on the way to school and watched it leap out of his hands.Harry Potter turns 35 today – and is still enjoying having a scar that causes him no pain after slaying Voldemort in the Battle of Hogwarts 17 years ago.And while most people are content with a birthday card that’s been passed round the office and a crisp fiver from Auntie Mavis, Rowling was inundated with messages from the stars who took her story from the page to the big screen. She has written her first novel for adult readers, The Casual Vacancy and her first two crime novels, which she wrote under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

TIME magazine called on some of the show’s iconic characters (and some you might have forgotten about) to send Rowling well wishes, kind words and maybe the occasional chocolate frog. Back in the late Nineties/early 2000s, when her bestselling Harry Potter novels first propelled her into the limelight, the author – who turns 50 today – was portrayed as something of a JD Salinger figure: a fiercely solitary woman, emerging for the rare book signing, but otherwise jealously guarding her privacy. Similarly, the books have grossed more than $7.7 billion and will only grow as publisher Bloomsbury prints editions with new cover designs and full-color illustrations. Her Twitter feed is rife with sly humor, whether she’s laughing at herself for typos, rolling along with followers’ jokes or getting exasperated by Harry Potter rumors. 5) She touts great social causes on social media.

If (like this writer), Harry Potter’s secondary school career roughly matched yours year for year, you may be wondering why the wizard isn’t in his mid-Twenties. Robbie Coltrane, who played gentle (half) giant Hagrid, praised the author for her sense of humour and incredible impact on getting more children to read. She is also founder and president of the children’s charity, Lumos, which works to end the institutionalisation of children globally and ensure all children grow up in a safe and caring environment. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter, real versions have been made of the prop sweet treats by Mary Luther, who worked behind the scenes on the films.

As just one example, she recently tweeted support for imprisoned Saudi Arabian blogger Reif Badawi and Ireland’s legalization of gay marriage. 6) Her Easter egg-loaded website, JKRowling.com is amazing. Evanna Lynch, who played the quirky Luna Lovegood, sent a heartfelt message about how inspiring the author had been to her on their very first meeting. “It was both marvelous and incredible to realise you were human, to see your warmth, curiosity, the generous gaze and genuine interest you afforded each person you encountered,” she said. Instead, she was simply trying to live as ordinary a life as possible, and ensure some protection for her daughter, Jessica, whom she was then raising alone (the author has since remarried and had two more children). On deciding what to say to the students she asked herself what she wished she’d known at her own graduation and what important lessons she had learned since. Laid out like the Marauder’s Map, it features a timeline of Rowling’s projects as well as personal background. 13) She cares about children in need.

No, Daniel Radcliffe may be 26, but it turns out the books (and films) were set at least half a decade before their release date, meaning Potter is quite a bit older in ‘real life’. Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson were absent from the well-wishers, but Rupert Grint sent a brief, typically Ron Weasley-esque message wishing her a happy birthday.

Indeed, the fact that she took the time to individually answer thousands of fan letters – often by hand – was testament enough to the fact that she wasn’t intentionally remaining aloof. With locations currently in Orlando, Florida, and Osaka, Japan, and another headed to Hollywood, California, Potterheads have ample opportunities to sip on a $6 Butterbeer and bask in all that Rowling helped create. Having the courage to fail, she said, is as vital to a good life as any conventional measure of success; imagining ourselves in the space of another – particularly someone less fortunate than ourselves – is a uniquely human quality to be nurtured at all costs. The Sweets and Treats tour is open until September 6, but for now you can test your Harry Potter prop knowledge from the comfort of your home/train/park/walk along the high street. It’s very sweet. “I could talk about the millions of lives Jo has enriched whether through the stories and characters she’s created or through the millions of pounds she’s given to charity,” Lewis wrote. “She’s a remarkable woman.

Because his birthday fell during Hogwarts’ holidays, Harry waited eagerly for birthday owl posts from his friends – which came in the form of cards, letters, a broom servicing kit, Honeydukes chocolates and the snapping The Monster Book of Monsters. While Universal would not discuss financial details, reports estimate that Orlando’s Wizarding World cost about $265 million to construct and the Osaka-based park cost $442 million. “Full-year revenue increased 17.3 percent to $2.6 billion and operating cash flow grew 16.4 percent to $1.2 billion [for Universal’s theme park segment.] Fourth-quarter revenue increased 29.9 percent and operating cash flow grew 37.6 percent driven by the continued success of Orlando’s Harry Potter…” Brian Roberts, Comcast CEO and chairman, said during a February 2015 earnings call. The stories she shared and the provocative questions she asked the young graduates have inspired others to consider what it means to have “a good life”. Harry and Ginny see their three children James Sirius, Albus Severus and Lily Luna onto the train to Hogwarts 19 years after the events of Deathly Hallows.

Rowling was a writer we loved, but, if we felt a connection, it was perhaps more with the author’s characters – orphan hero Harry, kind, wise Dumbledore and bookish-but-brave Hermione – than with their creator. Recently, an annotated version of Sorcerer’s Stone with Rowling’s sketches was auctioned for charity. 27) She proved anyone can take control of their life.

In daring to take a risk, and perhaps fail, and by harnessing the power of your imagination, we can all begin to live less cautiously and become more open to the opportunities life has to offer. Back in 2000, the author told The Times that she was planning to drift into “blissful obscurity” after the publication of the final Harry Potter book, which eventually took place in 2007. Rowling says in the book: “There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.” Talking about the books beneficiary, JK Rowling says she founded Lumos to help end the incredibly damaging practice of institutionalisation. Instead, at 50, she’s more famous than ever: throwing herself into politics (she was a vocal Labour supporter during the last election), taking up various charitable causes, and communicating with fans on a day-to-day basis.

Whether she’s making like Ron, Hermione and Harry in the very first Potter book and tackling trolls (albeit the sexist/ homophobic online variety, rather than the big club-wielding ones found in bathrooms at Hogwarts), or shocking fans with revelations and observations about her own characters – just for the record, we still think it’s OK to fancy Draco Malfoy – these days, the internet just can’t get enough Rowling. That one sale ultimately raised £1.95 million ($3 million) for the charity and when the book was widely published, in aid of Lumos, it became the fastest-selling book of 2008. But the magic spell that unlocked the author, allowing her to speak directly to her readers, wasn’t “Alohomora”, but the social media platform Twitter. Rowling might publish all her new writing on Sony’s Pottermore site, but it’s on Twitter that she arguably has the most impact: she has well over five million followers, and receives thousands of retweets a day.

Hermione Granger valiantly fought for the rights of house elves, the oppressed underdogs of the wizarding world; her creator speaks up for the rights of – well, just about anyone who needs speaking up for. Isolated gay teens, Eastern European orphans, struggling single mothers, children battling cancer, anyone living in poverty, the BBC … the list goes on and on. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. Subjected to some particularly nasty vitriol after she expressed her support for Labour during the May 2015 elections, the world’s most famous children’s author made headlines across the world and generated 1000s of retweets after she snapped and told one of her abusers: And when a online commenter recently decided it was appropriate to share his opinion that tennis player Serena Williams is “built like a man”, the author responded with a picture of Williams in a fitted red dress, and the pithy retort: So much for “blissful obscurity”. Many of my friends had already read the first six and were waiting for the seventh, but I made a conscious decision not to start on the first one until all seven books were available.

In any situation, I would have a “What would Dumbledore say?” moment or a “What would Harry do?” moment (although, in my case, it was more “What would Ron do?” He is my favourite). The year after, Severus might need a little gentle persuasion that, in the words of your wonderful mentor, “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities”.

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