Happy Birthday, J.K. Rowling!

The Stories we love best do live in us forever. So if you come back by film or by page, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.

-J.K. Rowling at the HP&HBP Part II London Premier

Forty-seven years ago, a genius was born in Gloucestershire, England. Her name was Joann Rowling, and she would grow up to be one of the most inspiring, fantastic, and  imaginative writers to date. As a girl, Joanne constantly wrote stories, primarily for her younger sister Dianne’s enjoyment. She studied at Exeter University, where she earned a French and Classics degree. Later, as a post-grad, she moved to London where eventually she would start writing what would become her Great Masterpiece: The Harry Potter saga.

In the early ’90’s Jo moved to Portugal to teach English as a Second Language. In 1992, she got married, and a year later she gave birth to her daughter, Jessica.  Shortly thereafter, her marriage ended, and she, along with Jessica, moved to Edinburgh, Scotland. It was there, that the first volume of the Harry Potter series was eventually completed. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published in June 1997 (US: September ’98), under the now-famous (and slightly pointless¹) pseudonym: J.K. Rowling.

It is worth noting,  that despite rumours that Rowling completed the Philosopher’s Stone in cafes because she was unable to rent a flat with heating, she herself has stated (repeatedly) that although she did have heat in her flat (Edinburgh during the winter…) she liked writing in cafes, because going for walks was the only way Baby Jessica would fall asleep. Also, she didn’t use napkins for writing, she used actual paper.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was published the next year, in July 1998. It stayed on the UK ADULT BESTSELLER LISTS for over  a month after its publication. When it was published in the US, on 2nd June, 1999, it sold incredibly well.  When The Prisoner of Azkaban came out on July (and September in the US) of 1999, the Boy Wizard as well as Rowling herself were garnering world-wide acclaim and press attention. Meanwhile, The Philosopher’s Stone topped bestseller’s charts in the UK, and all three Potter books occupied the Top Three spots in several US Bestseller’s Lists.

The Fourth Book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was published in the UK, the US and Australia on August 8th, 2000. It reached a record 1 million copies printed in the UK, and about 3.8 million copies printed in the US.  The Goblet of Fire also set records with the sale figures within the first week of publication.

It was three years before she would release the fifth book: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It became the fastest-selling book in history², as well as the longest in the series, with a page-count of 766 pages.In my personal opinion, this is also the saddest and darkest book in the series.  In July 2005, Rowling’s sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released. It set record-breaking sales. It also gave us Ronmione shippers hope, while breaking our Harmony shipper’s spirit. It unleashed a very confusing period that still isn’t over. For the most part. Actually I’m pretty okay with how things ended up. Anyways, moving on…

The last and Most Awaited Book Ever (okay, probably not EVER…): Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out  was published in the UK, USA and other English-speaking countries on 21st July 2007. The book is the fastest selling book in the UK and USA, with 8.3 million selling in the first 24 hours and 11.5 million in the first ten days. THOSE, in case you were wondering for some reason, are INCREDIBLE FIGURES. They are MIND-BLOWING.

Thanks to J.K. Rowling millions of kids that never read (like, ever!) actually started reading… a lot! Thanks to this woman’s never-ending creativity millions of people have been able to get into this ongoing journey/experience of pure unadulterated Amazing-ness. Her works have allowed us to connect with people around us; I’ve made friends based on our mutual LOVE for J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter and Hogwarts and LITERALLY EVERYTHING (including weird ships…), After my mom, my dad, and my sister read the books we were able to discuss them in-depth and get to understand how we each feel about different things, and how we react to certain things. We even got to emotionally bond over stuff like ships. LAST TIME I CHECKED MY MOM WAS A DIE-HARD HARMONY SHIPPER.

So, I just want to take a little time (and space) to thank Her Majesty The Queen of Pure Awesome J.K. Rowling for creating this universe that has literally been like a home to so many of us.

♥♥Thanks, Jo! Happy Birthday!!!♥♥

¹The main point of having a pseudonym is to remain anonymous. In this case, Jo’s publishers believed she would have a greater male audience if she didn’t reveal her gender.  Geesh. LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!

²Apparently the current Fastest Selling Paperback is Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. Twilight Porn. (Did I mention I hate Twilight?)♦

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