Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tribute to J. K. Rowling and the World of Harry Potter

The internet is buzzing with excitement over the latest and last installment of the Harry Potter films. From reviews to personal stories to fandemonium, we're getting Hogwarts from every angle. Yet, one important person seems to be a bit absent from the festivities, the author. For this Writer Wednesday, I'd like to dedicate the blog to J. K. Rowling. The woman behind the phenomena that is Harry Potter.
If you haven't been hiding under a rock for the past decade, then you know Rowling's rags to riches story. The loss of her mother, her struggles with depression, her divorce, and her life as a single mom all took a heavy toll on the would be author. Yet, through all her trials, she continued to write the tale of an orphan wizard boy overcoming all odds. For many writers, the character's journey mirrors our own and acts as a catharsis for our pain. I imagine Rowling felt very much the same about Harry and his friends.
My adventure with Harry started in high school when I was still too cool and too jaded to embark upon a "kiddie" story. It took the constant badgering of a friend to get me to read the first book, but when I finally did, I never looked back. I shared the book with my brother, nine years my junior, and it became a bond between us. Two books later my husband (then boyfriend) joined in the fun as well, and the bonds between the three of us grew. For years, we waited as book after book in the series came out. For the last book, we could only get one copy the day of its release, and I had to read the book in twenty-four hours so that the two of them could get their hands on it sooner.
Now, as the series has come to its final conclusion with the last film, I can't help but feel sad, but also thankful for everything these stories have given me. Shaking off my snide attitude toward "kid literature", I went on to study it in college and write my Master's thesis on this wonderful field. I've discovered so many new and exciting children and YA authors, and I began my writing journey as a picture book writer. None of these things - not my bonds over books with my brother and husband nor my unwavering respect for children's literature - would have come to pass without J. K. Rowling and the World of Harry Potter. So with profound gratitude, I can only say, thank you for everything. It's been an incredible journey.

8 comments :

  1. I'm getting excited about this: http://www.pottermore.com

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  2. I love that JK's novels inspired you to such a degree. That is the very best any author can hope for.

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  3. Thanks, Heather. You're so right. I hope we can be that type of inspiration to readers.

    Dominick, I'm already signed up! Fingers crossed. :)

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  4. This is a great post, Tina! Isn't it amazing how it takes one story, one author's voice, to change our lives forever?? I am so happy that JKR did this for you and I'm sure it's music to her ears to hear about all of the writers she's inspired over the years.

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  5. Tina, that's awesome! How wonderful that you studied it in college. Best of luck to you!

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  6. Melinda, she truly did. I'd like to think that I would've grown out of my high school mindset toward children's lit, but I can't say for sure. I'd always been a reader and I read plenty of children's lit when I was younger, but something about the teenage years made it suddenly seem "uncool". Rowling changed that for me.

    Christine, I loved it so much I took three courses as an undergrad and begged the department to let me pursue my grad thesis in it. After much pleading, they consented and I wrote my thesis about archetypes and the hero's journey in children's literature (definitely, Potter inspired).

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  7. Great post, Tina! I was also very reluctant to read the first one, but finally persuaded by a friend. At that point the first four were out, and I immediately bought all of them after finishing the first. I love that she inspired you to study children's lit. :-) She inspired me to start reading fantasy again (and eventually writing it).

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  8. Here here! I tip my glass to you and Jo. It is the ultimate story of success, and a great example for the rest of us.

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