Becoming a worldwide household name is no mean feat, and yet a then 32-year old British secretary managed it in less than twenty years.
I’m of course talking about Joanne Rowling. Known by all and sundry as J.K Rowling, she’s mostly famous for her Harry Potter seven-book fantasy series, as well as their relevant movies. The twelfth richest woman in the United Kingdom will be turning 51 years old on the 31st July, when the latest addition to the franchise will be published.
Image Source: Telegraph
The eponymous main character in her bestselling books, Harry Potter, is also described in the novels as celebrating his birthday on this same date. So dear Harry, a very Happy Birthday to you too! Harry was 11 years old in 1997 when the first book in the series was published, meaning that he’d be turning 19 years old today.
The books however do not follow our timeline, as they obviously skip a number of years. In fact, within the plot line of the very much awaited new book by J.K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Harry is in his thirties or forties, and has children of his own.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is not a novel per se, since it’s actually the script of a play in two parts. The official opening night will be the 30th July at the Palace Theatre in London, while the script itself will be out for mass-readership in bookstores the day after.
Fortunately for die-hard Rowling fans, though the Harry Potter saga seemed to be over for a time, it’s obvious that it most certainly is not. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child centres not only on Harry, but also on his son Albus Serverus Potter. This means that if Rowling still means to aim her work at children and young adults, Albus Severus could be the perfect new character with whom they could empathise as readers and viewers.
Image Source: Moviepilot
On the other hand, keeping in mind that the young adults of yesterday are today’s adults, it was a simple stroke of genius to introduce the character of Albus Severus together with his father Harry as a special treat for all those of us who were really curious to see what had actually happened to our childhood hero after he grew up. Although the play is obviously based on an official new story by Rowling, the script itself was written by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany.
Another movie, this time inspired by Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will be out in theatres in November/December 2016 and will star Eddie Redmayne. In this case, although the story is still set in Rowling’s universe, it doesn’t actually centre around Harry, taking place roughly 70 years before he was born in America, instead of Britain.
J.K. Rowling’s life has really been a rags-to-riches fable. She was working as a secretary for Amnesty International when she first had the idea for the Harry Potter stories in 1990. The book itself took seven years to be written and published, during which time the writer’s life was very eventful. Her mother died, she moved to Portugal, got married, had a child, got divorced, and then moved to Scotland. There, she lived jobless on welfare benefits, suffered from clinical depression and got rejected by twelve publishing houses, before finally landing a contract for the first book in the Harry Potter franchise, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. That same year, the book won the British Book Award for Children’s’ Book of the Year. All of the six subsequent books broke sales records and won awards.
Image: J.K Rowling in the 1998
Harry Potter is now a global brand worth an estimated US$15 billion. The books have been translated in over 65 languages, and Rowling’s partnership with Warner Bros has rocketed this media phenomenon further towards success.
J.K Rowling is the writer of a number of other books, including The Casual Vacancy (2012) – which was made into a T.V series – as well as a series of crime novels. However, it is without a doubt that she’ll be mostly remembered for her Harry Potter books, which have not only indelibly influenced more than one generation of readers, but which have become part of the staple diet of fantasy aficionados the world over.
Image: The Making of Harry Potter studios
We’d like to give a big shout out and ‘break a leg’ to the cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for their West End debut.