Harry Potter has been a part of people’s lives for almost 17 years now and still shows no signs of stopping. Even though the series is over and the movies have all wrapped up there is still lots of things for Potter fans to look forward to. With a prequel, a stage play, and more unreleased content hitting the web via Pottermore the legacy of Harry Potter is no where near over.
Now, all of this would not be possible if it was not for the one woman who created this world – Joanne Rowling or better known as: J.K. Rowling.
Not only is did Rowling give us the beloved series, but she has shared her own story with the world and given fans someone to look up to and idolize. I’ve managed to narrow my selection down to five moments that made me proud to call J.K. Rowling my role model and an all around BAMF.
Here we go:
5. That time she stood up for Hufflepuff
Everyone knows that Hufflepuff isn’t the most popular house – there is a stigma around it that promotes it as the ‘dumb’ house. Once Pottermore opened up and fans started being sorted into their houses a lot of people were upset when they were placed in Hufflepuff. As a ‘Puff myself I can honestly say I was disappointed…that is until I actually took a moment to realise what being a Hufflepuff stands for.
As Rowling puts it:
“Hufflepuff is my favorite house in some ways. There comes a point in the book where each house has a chance to rise up to a certain challenge [she didn’t want to spoil it]. The Slytherins decided they’d rather not play, the Ravenclaws – some play, some won’t, but the Hufflepuffs stay to fight. The Gryffindors – compromised of lots of full hearty and show off people. The Hufflepuffs stayed for a different reason. They didn’t want to show off, they weren’t being wreckless, that’s the essence of Hufflepuff. My daughter Jessica said to me recently, who wasn’t sorted into Hufflepuff, ‘I think we should all want to be Hufflepuffs.’ I can only say to you, I would not be disappointed at all to be in Hufflepuff. I’m a little upset anyone does feel that way.”
4. Her stance on the word ‘fat’
I don’t know about you, but when this quote first showed up in my life I legitimately gave a Breakfast Club fist pump. There isn’t much to even say about it because the entire quote speaks for itself so I will let you enjoy it below (feel free to fist pump with me):
‘Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her.
I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain…
I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? ‘You’ve lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!’
‘Well,’ I said, slightly nonplussed, ‘the last time you saw me I’d just had a baby.’
What I felt like saying was, ‘I’ve produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren’t either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?’ But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!
I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons.
3. JK Rowling’s stance on women
Even though JKR didn’t make Harry a strong female character (she says that the idea of Harry came to her as a boy, and it would be more difficult than just changing the gender just for the sake of the character), she made plenty of strong, independent women to support him on his journey. Lily, Hermione, Luna, Mrs. Weasley, Ginny, Tonks, and Professor McGonagall are just a few names of some of the great female characters in the Potter series.
The best part about these women is their ability to completely kick ass, as JKR says in a video on the women of Potter, “I don’t like the marginalization of women when they fighting breaks out; we get to fight too.”
She also said she made Mrs. Weasley a stay-at-home mom on purpose to prove to nay-sayers that she is not ‘weak,’ not weak at all – you can ask Bellatrix about that..oh wait..
We like strong women who can fight too, JKR. Check out the amazing video which will make you proud of these characters below:
2. The end of an era…but not really
The Deathly Hallows Part Two premiere; the last one. We all watched the livestream, we cried when they cried. We all hoped desperately that Rowling wasn’t joking when she said she would write another one. When it came her time to speak I was a blubbering mess (I was also a blubbering mess when I rewatched this). Her speech gave fans what they needed – closure to the series, but also a knowledge that the series will never leave us and continue on as long as we are there to keep the legacy going. I mean look what has happened since then: Pottermore, a confirmed movie expansion, and a play! Here is the transcript from the speech as well as the video below (grab tissues):
“And finally, as everyone else has said, but I need to say it most of all, no story lives unless someone wants to listen. So, thank you, all of you. Thank you for queuing for the books all those years, and thank you for camping out in a wet Trafalgar Square. And you know what — I know there are people all over the world right now waiting in cinemas for the film to start — but Dan has already said it — the stories we love best do live in us forever. So, whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home. We’re going to roll the film now. Thank you so much.”
1. Her entire Harvard speech in 2008
This is the one speech that will ALWAYS stay ingrained in my mind. When people ask me why my role model is Rowling one of the first things I do is direct them to this video that has so strongly resonated within me. Here is this woman who overcame so much standing in front of hundreds of Harvard graduates talking about the importance of imagination and the benefits of failure.
I’m scared of failure, you probably are too, but after I watched this speech my whole vision of failure was altered. This speech reminded me that we all fail – big or small – but so what? After you fail there is no where to go but up!
“You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
“Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.”
The second part of the speech was about imagination. It is what we imagine our life to be or life all around us to be that will push you to do better. Imagination isn’t just coming up with fictional stories, it is about coming up with your own story as well. As someone who has an ‘imagine’ tattoo which was partially influenced by this speech (and John Lennon, of course) this section hit home once again with me, and still does every time I reread/watch it. Which is a lot.
Some more stand out quotes:
“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
” Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.”
The whole speech is worth watching, and definitely shows who Rowling is to a lot of us: the queen of the world.
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