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Creating The Greatest Wizard Of All Time

By: Lia Felipe

Twenty-five year old Joanne Rowling was enlightened with an idea that revolutionize literature as she was riding a train from Manchester to London. At that point, the greatest wizard of all time Merlin was dethroned by Harry Potter. As she states in an interview with Oprah Winfrey “And then I was on a train, I was 25, and what came was: Boy doesn’t know he is a wizard, goes to wizarding school. Bang, bang, bang and that was like touch paper. I was on this delayed train going from Manchester to London and my head was just flooding with what this wizarding school would be. There were 4 houses, There were ghosts, there were house ghosts. What do they teach, what subjects do they learn, who are  the teachers, and I had no pen… but that was it and I don’t think I have ever felt so exited I thought: I’d love to write that” This was the start of the a new world, the wizarding world, making more than 7.7 billion dollars, selling more than 400 million copies, published in over 200 countries, translated to over 69 languages and making its author the first billionaire author in the history of time, the originality and creativity of Potter gives us all a chance to create our own world within its own magical one.

At the beginning of it all, J.K Rowling was having a tough time in her life as she started writing the books. She had lost her mother 6 months before she collected all ideas and began writing, and to Rowling, her mother was the fuel to the story, she believes the series would not be what it is if her mother had not passed away. This was one of the factors that brought her down to a period of depression through her 20s. She also states that the dementors (Creatures powerful enough to suck up all the happy emotions and memories from people) emerged from that period of her life, that the death of her mother was also part of it. She states: “If she hadn’t died, I don’t think its to strong to say there wouldn’t be Harry Potter. You know the books are what they are because she died, because I loved her and she died”. She also states that death is in every other page of the Harry Potter books, and that they explain what it means to die and how it affects people.

Running away from her troubled past, Joe Rowling moved to Portugal where she married and had her first daughter Jessica. This marriage did not go very well and ended awfully quickly sending Rowling and her daughter back to London. One thing she can say about that marriage is  that it taught her she had a very good survival instinct, but that she doesn’t regret it: “ Well, I think the first and most important thing to say about that marriage is, I would do it all again, step for step to have Jessica, who is incredible and the world is a better place for having her in it, so you know, don’t regret a thing” Fortunately Rowling is now happily married and has 2 more children apart from Jessica.

After some time, Joe came across the next big challenge in her life, and that was poverty. She was a single mother, who at some point was as poor as one can get in Britain without being homeless. “If you have been there, you will never ever take for granted that you don’t have to worry” she said to Oprah who asked: “What has money done for you?” and she continued by saying: “Money frees you, it frees you, that’s why its like a superpower. The luxury of being able to sit down and say where should we go for a holiday and not be in any way limited” But at the moment Joe was still Joe and not J.K Rowling, she was still going through depression, something she describes as the worst place someone can be, she says: “Its not sadness, I know sadness, sadness is not a bad thing, to cry and to feel, but its that cold absence of feeling, that really hollowed out feeling, that’s what the dementors are” And as she overcomes depression she gave a speech at Harvard University explaining in a brief phrase how she got the strength to do so: “Because my greatest fear had been realized and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation in which I rebuilt my life” With these words she explains the courage she built to get out of depression and continue her life.

As J.K Rowling finished her first Harry Potter book she had trouble publishing it, but a voice inside her knew that what she had written was going to be great. The book itself had predicted it, one famous line from the novel says: “One day, every child in the world will know his name” and there was nothing that could stop J.K Rowling from achieving her goal she states: “I said, the difficult thing is to get it published , if it gets published, it will be huge” and so it turned out that publisher number 13 was the lucky number. She knew it was going to be a great success, but would have never thought it a success of this magnitude. Her name was changed in the book to hide her gender from the public and from Joanne Rowling emerged J.K Rowling “k” standing for Katlyn her grandmother’s name. Through the determination and persistence Rowling achieved her goal, and most important thing, she wasn’t afraid to fail, in fact she states we all need to fail at something in order to live: “ It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously, that you might as well not have lived at all” and so after these years the only thing she regrets is that her mother didn’t have a chance to enjoy her success, for it was all for the love Rowling felt for her.

J.K Rowling also faced, amongst all the other challenges, criticism. People would say that the Harry Potter series pushed a satanic believe system on children and that it was advertising black magic and brainwashing children into thinking it was great. But in reality that was not her purpose as she says: “In religion you are looking for outside support , but that’s the appeal of magic, I’m not saying I believe in magic, I don’t, but that’s the appeal of magic the idea that we ourselves have power and we can shape our world” She also believes that its ok for people to criticize the way it’s so dark and scary, that parents are in all their rights to do so. But she finds nonsensical that people say that there should be no witchcraft, or witches or ghosts in the book because to her that topic will always be with us, because its one of the many belief systems humanity has passed on, which has huge attractions. Bottom line she wasn’t trying to push any belief system to children, and J.K Rowling sees these people that criticize her as people who lack imagination which is why she says: “ I am very frustrated by fear of imagination, I don’t think that’s healthy”.

Now days Rowling keeps writing, people ask her why if she doesn’t need to, but she states her need for writing because it keeps her sane, after all, she started when she was 6 years old. But before this point in her life, when she was writing mid series, she explains the intense and stressful period she went through, because as Potter got bigger and bigger, people demanded more and more stories. She never thought it would turn out to be this successful and honestly felt a bit scared, for she had no one to turn to and talk about the intensity of the situation: “The pressure was crazy, it was like being a beatle, only that there were 4 beatles, and I couldn’t talk to anyone so the pressure was insane” And the irony is, that she coped with telling people she was just fine.

And so it came the day at “The Balmoral Hotel” that she finished her last Harry Potter book The Deadly Hollows. She says that when she finished, she was in a slight state of shock. She described it as “I cried as I have only cried once before in my life and that  was when my mother died, it was uncontrollable. It wasn’t just the world, it was the discipline of working and it was the structure it gave to my life. And I knew I’d still be writing, but I had to mourn Harry” She always knew the last word of the series was going to be “scar” but then she changed it and made it to “All was well”. The last line of the series spells out as: “The scar had not pained Harry for 19 years. All was well” And that was how all the people and J.K Rowling herself left this incredible book, with 3 simple words “All was well”.

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