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Creator / J. K. Rowling

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"Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home."
"I would like to be remembered as someone who did the best she could with the talent she had."

Joanne ("J.K.") Rowling OBE (born 31 July 1965) is a British writer, most notable for being the author of the Harry Potter heptalogy. She is one of the richest and most influential women alive today, with the distinction of being the first US-dollar billionaire exclusively through writing. Her published works so far include:

Outside of Harry Potter's own arc world.

Rowling's life story is famous, at least the Potter-related details of it. The initial idea for Harry Potter "fell into her head" as she was riding on a train, and the idea seized her but she had nothing on which to write and was too shy to ask a stranger to loan some paper. Early on in 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 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 is one born due to the fact moving was the easiest way to make her daughter fall asleep, and she would duck into the nearest cafe to write. She has repeatedly refuted the persistent myth that she did so because her apartment was unheated, such as in this interview.


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 Signature Style (though apparently she's also good at hiding it). If you're reading one of her books, expect a story set 20 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, generous lampshaded Narm, and plentiful Foreshadowing for her overstuffed Chekhov's Armory.

Rowling's first post-Potter book 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 Cuckoo's Calling, a crime novel starring hardboiled P.I. Cormoran Strike. This time she published under a pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, and stayed under the radar for four months before being outed. A sequel, The Silkworm was published in 2014, still under the pen name. Three more novels in the series have since been released.

On 12 September 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 takes place in the same world as Harry Potter but set 70 years before the events of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Rowling wrote the screenplay for the first two films.

Since 2019, Rowling has taken a vocal gender-critical feminist stance on trans-rights topics, leading to widespread denunciation from fans and many Potter cast members. Her use of the cross-dressing serial killer trope in the fifth Strike novel, Troubled Blood (published in 2020), met with criticism in light of her comments.

She ended at #83 in 100 Greatest Britons.

Media portrayals

Associated tropes

  • 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 lines. (Russell T Davies had proposed having her appear on Doctor Who as herself for a Christmas special idea that never happened.)
    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.
  • Author Avatar: Hermione is based on a younger Rowling. Apparently, she split her personality into three parts when designing the Golden Trio, but, according to Word of God, Hermione is the one with the most aspects of her personality.
  • Author Usurpation: While Rowling has written successful books after finishing Harry Potter, discussion about her career always focuses on Harry Potter and nothing else.
  • Black Comedy: All her novels are full of it.
  • Blunt "Yes": At least she apologized.
    F.A.Q.: Are you going to kill any more characters?
    Rowling: Yes. Sorry.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Obviously no one can call her lazy now with the success of Harry Potter or her adult novels, but in secondary school her teachers thought her bright but with unexceptional grades. Rowling would be elected Head Girl before leaving for university but she later admitted that she didn't consider it much of an accomplishment at the time.
  • 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.
  • Compensating for Something: Her response to a Twitter troll:
    "The Internet doesn’t just offer opportunities for misogynistic abuse, you know. Penis enlargers can also be bought discreetly."
  • 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. She's zinged so many politicians and celebrities on Twitter that a subreddit called r/jktrolling was made to chronicle it.
  • Dear Negative Reader: While Rowling has largely embraced the fandom of Harry Potter, she has gone on record of disliking the invokedMisaimed Fandom that Draco Malfoy had developed, and is (understandably) uncomfortable with the more lewd fanfictions, considering how the series revolves around minors.
  • Deuteragonist: All of her work since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has focused on more than one central character (even her expansions to the Potter universe).
  • Doorstopper: All of her work between Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Career of Evil was at least 400 pages long. The streak was finally broken with the published script for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (304 pages); though this is justified by it being a film script rather than a novel, and 300+ pages is still extremely hefty for a script.
  • Former Teen Rebel: As a teenager, Rowling had a penchant for leather jackets and heavy eyeshadow, even with her school uniform, and put up a tough girl exterior to deal with school bullies and her mother's declining health at home.
  • Genre Shift: Subverted. It would seem that going from magical Boarding School books aimed primarily at younger readers to Crime Fiction novels for adults is a leap. However, considering Rowling's escalating Darker and Edgier tone and her love of Red Herrings, The Summation, and all things Chekhov, it was an organic, almost inevitable transition. The Casual Vacancy, with its lower stakes and Rotating Protagonist, is a more straightforward example, and is something of an Oddball in her oeuvre.
  • Godwin's Law: Used this in her essay to influence the vote on Scottish independence by claiming people who wanted independence reminded her of Death Eaters, after pretending that anyone has accused her of being "insufficiently Scottish" to have an opinion.
  • Homage: Writing under her post-Potter synonym as "Robert Galbraith", she revealed in a BBC interview in November 2015 that she is a fan of the Blue Öyster Cult. "Robert Galbraith"'s novel Career Of Evil is inspired by a BOC song of the same title. She admitted to loading the book with a lot of Shout Outs to other lyrics and songs by this band.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Has written in her biography that a boy she once knew, and whom she stole the surname of Potter from, "once threw a stone at Di, for which I hit him hard over the head with a plastic sword (I was the only one allowed to throw things at Di)."
  • I Just Write the Thing: Rowling often tells us that she only kills off characters she likes because the plot demands it.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Her name was the subject of one.
    Q: How did Harry Potter get to the bottom of the hill?
    A: He walked. (jk, rolling)
  • Irony: Ian Rankin once predicted that Rowling would make a great crime novelist due to her 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 of her works, beaten only by 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.
  • 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, their thinking being that the name "Joanne Rowling" would make boys hesitant to read or buy the book.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: "Rowling" rhymes with "bowling", not with "howling". Many people make this mistake, even news presenters. Only when they hear it from the Word of God do they correct themselves.
    • She also pronounces the "mort" in "Voldemort" with a silent "t" as if it were the French word "mort", the masculine form of "dead". However, she accepts that she's probably the only one who still does this.
      • Jim Dale, who narrated the US versions of the audiobooks, also pronounced it this way until the films came out, after which he amended his pronunciation accordingly.
      • The French phrase "vol de mort" is ambiguous and can be translated as both "theft of death" and "flight of death".
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Used frequently in her novels.
  • Shown Their Work: Before she wrote Harry Potter, she once worked as researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International in London. Rowling herself once said in her commencement speech at Harvard that it gave her a look into various human abuse, a theme that is prevalent in Comoran Strike books.
  • Starving Artist: She was one (a single mother on state benefits) before the sheer popularity of the Harry Potter series lifted her out of this.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: As Rowling admits. Mostly it takes the form of 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 school year.
    • 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 averted in the Cormoran Strike novels. Many of the London locations, 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.
    • As for the former, in The Silkworm, the days of the week match up with the dates listed, real life events that are referenced occur on the correct dates, and even the exact celebrities on magazine covers from nearly four years before the book was published are accurate (with the exception of a cover featuring one fictional character).

Alternative Title(s): Robert Galbraith


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