Happy Birthday, J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter! The author of the beloved fantasy novel series turns the big 5-0 on July 31. She shares her birthday with her most famous character, The Boy Who Lived.
In our housek and in a million others around the world, Harry Potter was simply magic. My 9-year-old son hated to go to bed. Then I heard about a captivating new children's book by an unknown British author. I hit upon the idea to read to him, which I hadn't done since he began school. Aw, Mom! By the end of the first chapter, he was hooked, and so was I. The rule was: No reading ahead. We had to read it together (Dad was in bed with us every evening by chapter 3.
We devoured each book. My son's creative writing improved, his vocabulary increased, he aced his SATs and went off to college. Thank you J.K.!
Of course, we all now know how this story goes: J.K. Rowling's wizard grew into a worldwide phenomenon with 450 million books sold, $7.7 billion world-wide movie gross, a theme park on two continents, and a formerly destitute single mom author whose net worth now is a billion dollars US.
But it all started with The Sorcerer's Stone that first book Rowling spent six long years writing longhand at her neighborhood coffee shop while her baby daughter napped. As an author, I admire her determination and stamina. Six years is a long time to perservere on a single writing project. I'm sure she became discouraged. However, she could keep herself engaged by writing snippets of upcoming books in the series. She says she knew every bit of the plot before she started writing. That's amazing!
So to honor J.K. and Harry's birthdays, I've put together this list of my favorite book quotes:
1. "I can teach you how to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. I can tell you how to brew glory and bottle fame, and even put a stopper in death." ~ Professor Severus Snape,
The Sorcerer's Stone.
Oh, Professor, how I love thee. Your character hooked me from the start, as did Alan Rickman, your screen persona.
2. "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we are, far more than our abilities." ~ Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, The Sorcerer's Stone.
3. "To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure." ~ Albus Dumbledore, The Sorcerer's Stone.
4. "Well, it's just that you seem to be laboring under the delusion that I am going to--what is the phrase?--come quietly. I am not going to come quietly at all, Cornelius." ~
Albus Dumbledore, Order of the Phoenix.
Dumbledore is my other favorite character. Deep thinker, but with a wicked sense of humor. Caring but ruthless. Just before the sixth movie came out, J.K. revealed Dumbledore was gay. "I read a script for the sixth film," she said, "and they had a Dumbledore line to Harry saying, "I knew a girl once, whose hair..." (laughter)." I had to write a little note in the margin and slide it to the scriptwriter."
She was asked if Dumbledore was ever truly in love, and she said yes, he loved Gellert Grindelwald. Their partnership fell apart afer the two were involved in a three-way duel with Aberforth Dumnbledore that resulted in sister Ariana Dumbledore's death.
5. "I've already read chapter two," said Hermoine.
"Well then, proceed to chapter three."
"I've read that too. I've read the whole book." ~ Hermoine Grainger, Order of the Phoenix.
Hermoine, the little know-it-all with the big heart. Rowling says there is a bit of Hermoine in her. I'd like to think there's a bit of her in all of us.
6. Flitwick: "You do realize we can't keep out You-Know-Who indefinitely.
Minerva McGonagall: "That doesn't mean we can't delay him. And his name is Voltemort. You might as well use it, he's going to try and kill you either way." ~ The Deathly Hallows.
Much like seeing Yoda grad a light sabre and fight in the Star Wars prequel, seeing Professor McGonagall take a stand to defend Hogwarts, and faceoff agains Snape, was a big, badass moment. And it made Snape extremely uncomfortable, always a good scene.
7. "The origin of Avada Kedavra? It's an ancient spell in Aramic, and the origin of abracadabra, which means, 'let the thing be destroyed.'" ~ J.K. Rowling, answering audience questions during a reading of The Half-Blood Prince.
See, that's why I love this series. She was a meticulous researcher, and everything has a historical or mythological root.
8. "You have to be careful if you get friendly with me, because you tend to turn up in my books. If you offend me, your character is often nasty." ~ J.K. Rowling interview.
Joanne, I'm willing to take my chances and would love to know you personally. In the meantime, happy birthday to you and Harry.