Joanne Kathleen Rowling is an English fiction author who has turned a generation of youth onto reading. Rowling is renowned for the creation of the Harry Potter fantasy series, which has caught the attention of both children and adults worldwide. Furthermore, the fantasy series has won Rowling multiple awards and has sold well “over 375 million copies worldwide” (Wikipedia par. 1). Though there remains one more book until the celebrated series is complete, Rowling has still accumulated quite a fortune; estimated to be over one billion USD (United States Dollars) (Wikipedia par. 1).
Rowling’s “rags to riches” story has and remains a source of great inspiration for both struggling and established authors. Her novels are a source of entertainment, often substituting for television, movies, and video games in many households across the world. J. K. Rowling’s novels consist of an array of characters and various settings, some based off of Greek Mythology, others created purely by imagination and several relating to her own life. However, beneath the light humor and suspense of each book lies a moral lesson. Her stories aim not only to entertain but alert readers to the ills of society, flaws such as prejudice and egoism.
Joanne Kathleen Rowling was born in Chipping Sodbury, a small town near Bristol, on July 31st, 1965. It was this very town which Rowling believes “doomed [her] to a love of weird-place names. ” These names would often be seen in her writing, as they would inspire many of the names for various areas of the Potter’s Wizarding world. Joanne, or as her friends and family referred to her, Jo, was an imaginative thinker since birth and writing a full story by the age of six called “Rabbit”. Her sister Dianne, who also had a nickname, Di, was born when Rowling was almost two years old.
Rowling refers to her sister’s birth as her “earliest datable memory”. As children Rowling and her sister would constantly fight and Rowling refers to their animosity as that of a “cat and dog”. However the two were each other’s playmates and Rowling continued to display her early imagination through the various interesting games she was apt to create for their enjoyment; “I told her a lot of stories [… ] often the stories became games. ” Their stay at Chipping Sodbury was not long. At the age of four, Rowling’s family moved to a nearby village in the country, Winterbourne.
This move was solely due to her parents dream to one day live near the lush fields of the country. Here she attended St. Michael’s Primary School. The children regarded her home (the former village school) as spooky since it stood adjacent to a graveyard. This fact did not deter Rowling, for she found it to be a great source of names for her games and later for her books. The graveyards did not only provide Rowling with a source of names but also as a setting for one of the darker points in her series, the rebirth of Harry Potter’s nemesis Lord Voldemort.
At the age of nine her family once again moved, this time to “Tutshill, a little village near Chepstow in South Wales. It is a town dominated by a castle on a cliff, which might explain a lot. ” The castle and vast green space of Tutshill played an important role in the creation of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The village school of Tutshill was where she met one of her many influences for the character Professor Snape. The teacher placed children in rows based on his own opinion of their knowledge, and she was almost immediately placed in the “dim row”.
Professor Snape is shrewd, cold, and mysterious with a seemingly traitorous personality. Rowling’s teachers’ dispassionate personality by segregating and demoralizing the children in her class is portrayed through the character Severus Snape. As a child Rowling always remained bossy, and strived for perfection in and out of the classroom, hence the character Hermione Granger who is said to be a portrait of Rowling. Despite, the over-achieving attitude, Rowling states that her disposition was but a mask to cover her insecurities.
Reading was an important part of Rowling’s life. There wasn’t much to watch on T. V. as a child, so she would look to books for entertainment. Her favorite authors included Edith Nesbit, Noel Streatfild, Paul Gallico, C. S. Lewis, and her favorite, Elizabeth Goudge. In fact, Goudge’s The Little White Horse “influenced the world of Harry Potter perhaps more than any other book. “. Goudge’s main character, and orphaned girl, Maria, learns she is actually the princess of a magical kingdom full of fairytale creatures.
This relates closely to the orphan character of Harry Potter in Rowling’s series. Goudge’s vivid descriptions of what her characters ate also influenced Rowling; consequently, any portion regarding food in Rowling’s series is vividly described. As primary school came to and end Rowling moved on to attend secondary school at Wyedean Comprehensive School. Though Rowling excelled in her humanities courses, her math was not up to par and she was no athlete. Rowling even broke her arm trying to play the harmless sport of netball (a sport equivalent to American basketball).