Thursday, 31 July 2014

Happy Birthday JK

Seems it's quite the week for anniversaries - though the subject of this post is thankfully far more cheerful than my last!

Today is JK Rowling's birthday, and I figured there's no better time to give a nod to the woman who played a significant role in pretty much the entirety of my childhood (and beyond). I'm sure I'm not alone here - any self-respecting 90s kid grew up with the presence of Harry and his pals remaining one of the few constants in a time of significant change.

I guess it's for this reason that for many of said 90s kids, JK has come to represent all that is pure and good in this world (no hyperbole to see here, people). In each of those seven books, she tapped into the fact that while not all of us have an evil, sociopathic wizard constantly on our tails, growing up, we all had our own battles to fight.

In fact, there were plenty of things many of us have probably shared at one time or another with the residents of Hogwarts - always feeling second best a la Ron, contending with arrogant Draco Malfoy-like peers, or struggling like Harry to hold anything resembling normal conversation with our Cho Chang equivalents.

While the likes of the Twilight franchise sucked you in essentially by making you fancy the pants off a fictional character, it was JK's investment in the more admirable themes of friendship, unity and love being the ultimate forces for good that I think brought Harry Potter the scale of success that it still enjoys today.

Add to that what we know about JK's own story, and the way in which she overcame some huge personal struggles of her own to achieve this success, and it's no surprise that for millions of people all over the world, she's a real life heroine.

For any other HP fans out there, here are some unmissable JK moments: 

1) Her incredibly lovely response to a fan letter thanking her for creating Harry Potter, the reader's 'best friend' through some of her most difficult experiences.

2) The commencement speech she gave at Harvard, in which she describes the 'fringe benefits of failure'.

3) The speech she gave at the premiere of the final Harry Potter film, in which she tells everyone: "Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home."

4) This documentary where she revisits the flat that she lived in when she first started writing Harry Potter as a struggling single Mum, and finds copies of Harry Potter on the current occupants' shelves: