J K Rowling – Our Tha-One.Icon
By Stacey Cass/ Tha-One.Icon Writer When Rowling started writing Harry Potter, she was living on Social Security, and would soon become a single parent. She described herself as “the biggest failure I knew”. Now she is the 12th richest woman in the UK, but it’s not been plain sailing. Rowling has been a story teller […]
When Rowling started writing Harry Potter, she was living on Social Security, and would soon become a single parent. She described herself as “the biggest failure I knew”. Now she is the 12th richest woman in the UK, but it’s not been plain sailing.
Rowling has been a story teller for as long as she can remember, creating tales to entertain her younger sister, Dianne. The first story she ever wrote down was about a rabbit called Rabbit, when she was just 5 years old.
Rowling first had the idea for a book about a boy at a school for wizards on a train journey from Manchester to London. By the end of the trip claims thee major story arc and most major characters had just “popped” into her head.
12 publishers rejected the first book, saying it was too long and serious for children; even the publisher that eventually took it on advised Rowling to get a day job, as she wouldn’t make much money from children’s fiction. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone eventually started with a run of 1,000 copies. Today these books are valued between £16,000 and £25,000. The final book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, sold 11 million copies in the first 24 hours after release, the fastest selling book of all time. Costumed fans cued for hours to be among the first to get their hands on Harry’s final adventure.
The books were published under the name J K Rowling, under fears that young boys would not want to read a book written by a woman; a sexist and outdated view, clearly proven wrong. Today there are few people who couldn’t put a face to the name J K Rowling; she’s probably one of the most famous authors of our time, and yet her books remain as popular as ever. J K stands for Joanne Kathleen. She asks friends and fans to call her Jo, claiming that she was only ever called Joanne when she was in trouble.
In 1998 Warner Brothers purchased the rights to convert the 7 books into films. They eventually made 8 films, splitting the final book into two films. Rowling maintained integrity throughout the making of the films, demanding they be made in Britain, with an all-British cast. The books very essence is British and the films reflect this wonderfully thanks to Rowling’s tireless persistence.
Rowling has always been a strong charity supporter and continues to give generously. She wrote two books for Comic Relief, spin off’s on the Harry Potter series. One of seven handwritten and illustrated copies of Beedle the Bard sold for £1.95 millions, with all proceeds going to Children’s High Level Group. The book was subsequently published, and the proceeds also went to the same charity. She has also written various short pieces for charity and privately donates large amounts to charities she holds close.
Rowling’s writing have offered a world of escape to both children and adults, whilst the characters remain relatable, dealing with the same issues of any child that age, friendships, first kisses and homework. In a controversial move Rowling “outed” headmaster Albus Dumbledore, making her even more unpopular with the Christian church, but showing support for individuals struggling with their own sexuality, whilst showing that a character in a book can be gay, without affecting the story.
J K Rowling has shown us all that with hard work, and perseverance you can come from nothing and be everything, not to take no for an answer, that those higher up than us are not always right and that you can be successful without sacrificing integrity. I wish her so much happiness in her future and look forward to reading whatever she writes next.