"Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home."Joanne ("J.K.") Rowling
, born in 1965, is one of the richest and most influential women alive today (she holds the distinction of being the first novelist to become a billionaire in US dollars solely through writing), and is the author of the Harry Potter
heptalogy. Her published works so far include:
Outside of the Harry Potter story arc, but set in the same universe
, she wrote three books for which all proceeds are donated to charity:
Rowling's biography is quite famous — the Potter-related details of it, at least. The first idea for Harry Potter "fell into her head" as she was riding on a train, and the idea seized her — but she had nothing to write on and was too shy to ask a stranger to loan some paper. However, early into the writing process on Philosopher's Stone
, Rowling's mother passed away, which "changed her world and Harry's forever", intensifying Harry's feelings of being orphaned. Further intensifying Harry's loneliness is the fact that Rowling was very poor when she began writing — she and her baby girl lived on food stamps, at a time of high government cuts. The image of Rowling writing in a cafe with her baby at her side is one born of necessity — her apartment had no heating, but the cafe did.
After that, history took its course. Harry Potter
is one of the biggest brands in existence today; in an age of The Internet
, Video Games
and mass Television saturation, Harry made reading cool again. This may be Jo Rowling's most important contribution of all.
Rowling has a very distinctive Signature Style
(though apparently she's also good at hiding it
). If you're reading one of her books, expect a story set Twenty Minutes into the Past
with an Intro-Only Point of View
, a Plot Triggering Death
, Loads and Loads of Characters
with Meaningful Names
(just don't get too attached to them
), Said Bookisms
, plenty of lampshaded Narm
, and plenty of Foreshadowing
for her overstuffed Chekhov's Armory
Her next novel was The Casual Vacancy
, released on 27 September 2012. It is not a Harry Potter
book and was marketed as her "first novel for adults." After mixed reviews, Rowling followed up with the hardboiled crime novel The Cuckoo's Calling
, with the added twist that she used a pseudonym, Robert Galbraith
, and managed to stay under the radar for four months
until she was outed.
On Septermber 12, 2013 Warner Bros.
announced they will produce a new series of Harry Potter Spin-Off
films based on Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
with the book's fictional author Newt Scamander as the protagonist. It will take place in the same world as Harry Potter but set 70 years before the events of the Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
. Rowling has agreed to write the screenplay for the first film.
- Absolute Cleavage: Indulged in this during the during the Goblet of Fire premiere.
- Acclaimed Flop: She wrote a detective novel called The Cuckoo's Calling under the pen name Robert Galbraith that received strong reviews but only sold about 1,500 copies. However, sales increased sharply after the author's true identity was revealed.
- Adam Westing: Mildly in her brief appearance on The Simpsons. To date, this is the only time Rowling has played herself in any fictional context, granted it was just two voice-over lines.
Lisa: Can you tell me what happens at the end of the series?
Rowling: (exasperated) He grows up and marries you. Is that what you want to hear?
Lisa: (dreamily) Yes.
- Aunt Pennybags
- Has donated a buttload to charities. Case in point.
- She's also an outspoken democratic socialist, having lived in poverty.
- Author Avatar: Hermione is based off her when she was younger. Apparently, she split her personality into three parts when designing the Golden Trio, but Hermione is the one with the most aspects of her personality, according to Word of God.
- Black Comedy: All her novels are full of this.
- Blunt Yes: At least she apologized.
F.A.Q.: Are you going to kill any more characters?
Rowling: Yes. Sorry.
- Celeb Crush: In Conversations with J. K. Rowling, she mentions that as a kid she had crushes on Dustin Hoffman, after seeing him in Little Big Man, and Davy Jones of The Monkees.
- Cluster F-Bomb: In all of her adult novels to date. Almost every other word.
- Country Matters: Oddly enough, she's extraordinarily versatile with the word "cunt", especially in The Casual Vacancy. Though it should be noted that, while it's still a strong curse word, "cunt" isn't as profane in the UK as it is in the States.
- Deadpan Snarker: It's obvious where many of her characters get it.
- Doorstopper: All but her first three books are at least 400 pages long.
- Dye Hard: She's a natural brunette, but she dyes it blonde. The Lifetime movie starring Poppy Montgomery inaccurately portrays her as being blonde through her whole life.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: With her sister Di.
- I Just Write the Thing: Rowling often tells us that she only kills off characters she likes because the plot demands it.
- Irony: Ian Rankin once predicted that Rowling would make a great crime novelist due to her strong themes surrounding death and mortality, as well as having Characters Dropping Like Flies yet still making their deaths meaningful. Then Rowling released her first crime novel, which has her second lowest body count ( one, two if we're counting the Plot Triggering Death), beaten only by Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban where Everybody Lives.
- Lies to Children: Not maliciously, of course, but if the truth would be unnecessarily harsh for small kids. Compare her example on that page (regarding Aberforth and his goats) and the Adam Westing and Blunt Yes examples on this page.
- The Maiden Name Debate: Her name has actually been Joanne Murray since her second marriage in 2001, but she still uses her maiden name in her pen name.
- Mama Bear: She really does not like people taking pictures of her children.
- Mathematician's Answer: She's fond of giving them to avoid spoilers, like reciting the physical dimensions of her next book when asked to describe it.
- Moustache de Plume: She actually doesn't even have a middle name. She added the "K" (after her grandmother Kathleen) when Bloomsbury asked her to use her initials.
- Played even more straight with The Cuckoo's Calling which she published as "Robert Galbraith"
- Narm: When she's not falling victim to this trope or succeeding in spite of it, she has a tendency to deliberately ruin dramatic moments with something silly. The most prominent examples are probably the "(X character) tried not to laugh" Running Gag in the Potter series and the hilariously melodramatic YouTube fist-bump in The Cuckoo's Calling
- No Pronunciation Guide: Her name is pronounced like "bowling", not like "howling", although nearly everyone makes that mistake (including news presenters) until they hear it from the Word of God.
- She also pronounces "Voldemort" with a silent "t", but she admits she's probably the only person who does this.
- This makes sense, as it is the french phrase "Vol de Mort," which translates literally to "Flight from Death." Jim Dale also used this pronunciation of his name until Philosopher's Stone had it pronounced with the hard T.
- Rags to Riches
- Writers Cannot Do Math: As she admits. Mostly its dating inconsistencies which make it hard for fans to construct a timeline of the series. The number of students in Hogwarts is also a point of contention. As are the House points added up at the end of each schoolyear.
- In a related sense (maybe Writers Cannot Do Geography,) she also said the reason the staircases moved around in Hogwarts was because she knew she couldn't remember where everything goes and used that as a way to smooth it over.
- The latter is strongly averted in the Cormoran Strike novels; many of the London places, especially pubs (such as the Tottenham and the Cambridge, two of the pubs nearest Strike's fictional office) are real and in their correct locations.
- Write What You Know: The first Strike novel carries a spirited denunciation of the British tabloid press (which spent years intruding into Rowling's life—and not always in a peaceful manner, either). The second Strike book revolves around novelists, gee, I wonder where she got that idea?