Harry Potter and the Lack of Pen and Paper

JK Rowling has been in the news this month due to the furore surrounding the revelation she has had a novel published, quietly and without fanfare, under the pen name Robert Galbraith. The latest news is that the book might now be adapted for the big screen, with various production companies suddenly vying for the rights, now that Rowling has been unmasked as the author. And, today, it has been revealed that the law firm which unwittingly broke the news that Galbraith is in fact Rowling will make a “substantial” donation to The Soldiers Charity, which is mentioned in the novel and who helped Rowling with her research for her main character. Rowling herself has also pledged to donate her royalties from the book to the charity for the next three years.


I had planned to write something about Rowling today, before the whole Robert Galbraith story broke, as today is both her birthday and also that of her most famous literary creation, Harry Potter. Whether you are a fan of the books or not, for years it became difficult to escape the commotion that surrounded the release of the latest Harry Potter novel, and it still seems hard to believe now, more than six years after the release of the final instalment, that we will never experience the Harry Potter fever again (although imagine what it would be like if she did, one day, write just one more…?)

The thing I like most about Harry Potter and JK Rowling, more than the actual books themselves, is the way she describes her inspiration, and those first few hours after the character of Harry “walked fully formed into her head.” The character clearly came first – a young boy who doesn’t know he is a wizard – with the context of the story and the various situations coming afterwards. I love her description of being stuck on a delayed train for four hours without a pen or paper, with all of these ideas jumping around in her head, and how this might have actually helped some of these ideas to form and develop and flow more freely. Although, she will probably never know now how many of those initial thoughts managed to make it down on paper once she did eventually find a pen, and how many were simply forgotten in the meantime.

To read more about Rowling’s inspiration, visit her website: http://www.jkrowling.co.uk/en_GB/



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