Harry Potter books

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English, № 1 January 2012, с.40-41

Sources: www.jkrowling.com;


Rowling, Joanne

Joanne K. Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter series of books, which began with the 1997 tale Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. (U.S. title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.) The book told the story of Harry Potter, a seemingly ordinary boy who discovered that he was actually a wizard. The book was a sensational hit, and by the end of 1999 the top three slots on the ‘New York Times’ list of bestsellers were taken by the first three books in the Harry Potter series.

As a child, Rowling often wrote fantasy stories, which she would usually then read to her sister. Rowling can remember telling stories from early on and writing down her first story when she was 5 or 6 years old – about a rabbit called Rabbit who got the measles and was visited by friends including a giant bee called Miss Bee.

When she was a young teenager, her great aunt, who Rowling said “taught classics and approved of a thirst for knowledge, even of a questionable kind”, gave her a very old copy of Jessica Mitford’s autobiography, Hons and Rebels. Mitford became Rowling’s heroine, and Rowling subsequently read all of her books.

In 1990, while she was on a four-hour-delayed train trip from Manchester to London, the idea for a story of a young boy attending a school of wizardry “came fully formed” into her mind. She told ‘The Boston Globe’ that “I really don’t know where the idea came from. It started with Harry, then all these characters and situations came flooding into my head.” When she had reached her flat, she began to write immediately.

However, in December of that year, Rowling’s mother died, after her ten-year battle with multiple sclerosis. Rowling commented, “I was writing Harry Potter at the moment my mother died. I had never told her about Harry Potter.” Rowling said this death heavily affected her writing and that she introduced much more detail about Harry’s loss in the first book, because she knew about how it felt.

Although she writes under the pen name “J. K. Rowling”, pronounced like ‘rolling’ her name when her first Harry Potter book was published was simply “Joanne Rowling”.

Fearing that the target audience of young boys might not want to read a book written by a woman, her publishers demanded that she use two initials, rather than her full name. As she had no middle name, she chose ‘K’ as the second initial of her pen name, from her paternal grandmother Kathleen Ada Bulgen Rowling. She calls herself “Jo” and has said, “No one ever called me ‘Joanne’ when I was young, unless they were angry.” Following her marriage, she has sometimes used the name ‘Joanne Murray’ when conducting personal business.

                                                               Interesting facts

  • Rowling has said of her adolescence, “Hermione is loosely based on me. She’s a caricature of me when I was eleven, which I’m not particularly proud of.”
  • After the separation with her husband, Portuguese television journalist Jorge Arantes, Rowling was diagnosed with clinical depression, and contemplated suicide. It was the feeling of her illness which brought her the idea of Dementors, soul-sucking creatures introduced in the third book.
  • Her own favorite books were Narnia books by C. S. Lewis, The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge and Manxmouse by Paul Gallico. She adored E. Nesbit and loved Noel Streatfeild. At the age of nine she discovered the books of Jane Austen and they remained her favorite, ever.
  • Her book which had started as a typical children book, had become more detailed, having acquired the depth suited for adult readers. Later, Joanne said in an interview to Newsweek: “I wasn’t really aware that it was a children’s book. I really wrote it for me. It was what I found funny and what I liked.”
  • Nicolson Cafe had become her favorite place to write Harry Potter.
  • Her book had been rejected by twelve publishing houses before it was finally accepted for publication by ‘Bloomsbury Press’, a small publishing house based in London.

Compiled by Maria Deeva

      Radcliffe, Daniel



Daniel Radcliffe won the coveted role of Harry Potter, portraying the famous young sorcerer in the J.K. Rowling-adapted fantasy films. Born on July 23, 1989, in Fulham, London, England, Daniel Radcliffe discovered his love of acting after performing in small productions at his private school. He scored his first major role in 1999 in a British television production of ‘David Copperfield’.

In 2001, Radcliffe made his film debut in ‘The Tailor of Panama’, which starred Pierce Brosnan, Geoffrey Rush and Jamie Lee Curtis. When it was finally announced that the incredibly popular Harry Potter books were to be made into movies, Radcliffe jumped at the chance to star in what was sure to be a series of blockbusters.

Luckily enough, Daniel’s father was friends with the casting agent and, just as Radcliffe was about to abandon his dreams of playing Harry Potter after a so-so audition, the agent realized that Radcliffe looked like the perfect Potter. Daniel scored the role and the rest, as they say, is history. ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ premiered in 2001 to worldwide success.

The final film, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2’, was released worldwide starting on 13 July 2011 in Australia. The film concerns the battle against Voldemort’s followers in Hogwarts, along with Harry’s final climactic duel with Voldemort.

The film broke several box office records, including biggest midnight release, biggest first-day opening, and biggest opening-weekend. ‘Deathly Hallows – Part 2’ is currently the third-highest grossing film in the world, and the highest-grossing non-James Cameron film, with more than US$1.3 billion worldwide. Radcliffe admitted that some people would never be able to separate him from the character, but also said he is “proud to be associated with this film series forever.” Despite positive feelings about the movies, he has no interest in doing more ‘Harry Potter’ films. After Rowling hinted about writing an eighth book, Radcliffe was asked if he would do another film to which he replied: “It is very doubtful. I think 10 years is a long time to spend with one character.”

Despite devoting so much time to the series, Radcliffe has asserted that he did not miss out on a childhood like other child actors: “I’ve been given a much better perspective on life by doing Potter.”

                                                                   Interesting facts

Radcliffe has stated he is an atheist, and that he is “very proud of being Jewish”.

In 2008, he revealed that he suffers from a mild form of the neurological disorder dyspraxia. The motor skill disorder sometimes gets so bad that he has trouble doing simple activities, such as writing or tying his own shoelaces. “I was having a hard time at school, in terms of being crap at everything, with no discernible talent,” Radcliffe commented.

Radcliffe is a supporter of the Liberal Democrats and has voiced support for the party’s leader, Nick Clegg, pledging to spend more time in the UK to help increase his profile to a younger audience.

At the age of 16, Radcliffe became the youngest non-royal ever to have an individual portrait in Britain’s National Portrait Gallery (NPG). On 13 April 2006 his portrait,drawn by Stuart Pearson Wright, was unveiled as part of a new exhibition opening at the Royal National Theatre; it was then moved to the NPG where it resides.

He is a fan of underground and punk rock music, and is a keen follower of cricket, including cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

Writing short stories and poetry is also a passion. In November 2007 Radcliffe published several poems under the pen name ‘Jacob Gershon’ — a combination of his middle name and the Jewish version of his mother’s maiden name Gresham — in ‘Rubbish’, an underground fashion magazine. He enjoys a close friendship with his fellow ‘Harry Potter’ co-stars Tom Felton and Emma Watson, and is tight-knit with his family, whom he credits for keeping him grounded.

Compiled by Maria Deeva

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