I'm obliged to note, though, that at least five of the points are exaggerations or just not true. (And let's just not mention the mispronunciation of 'Rowling' throughout...)
Recently, a website called Alux.com published a video called “15 Things You Didn’t Know About J. K. Rowling.”
Of the fifteen points covered in the video, I didn’t know that
- Rowling had reconciled with her father,
- that she had bought a sprawling estate in Tasmania,
- that she plays Minecraft, or
- that she had made a guest appearance on The Simpsons, which show she admires because of its “layered meanings.”
Four out of fifteen means it is much better than the usual click bait!
I’m obliged to note, though, that at least five of the points are exaggerations or just not true. (And let’s just not mention the mispronunciation of ‘Rowling’ throughout…)
The Potter novels are not the best selling books ever, for example, and the numbers quoted are at least ten years old (#1).
That she had a great deal of say in the movie adaptations is questionable or over-stated, as well; Rowling denies that the films are her work, for instance, and she hasn’t allowed any of her post Potter novels to be adapted by fim studios she doesn’t own. (#4)
Asserting “Christians have banned Harry Potter” is outdated at best. (#6)
And Hermione Granger being “inspired by her personality”? What Rowling has said is that Hermione is like the girl she was in school. (#9)
It is safe to say that “Most spells in Harry Potter come from Latin words” but the aside that she learned the words in her university classes is just wrong. Rowling studied mythology as a minor (not a UK term, I know), not Classical Languages; all her Latin is from her Comprehensive education. (#13)
And, not to be picky, but Rowling in one of her latest tweets, says she set her record for Tetris (she seems to have moved on from Minecraft).
The shame is that there are so many more facts that even serious fans don’t know about Rowling that could have been used rather than that she does charity work (#3), was the first author billionaire (#5), trolls Trump on Twitter (#8), has won a lot of awards (#12), and that Quidditch is a real sport #15 (not a J. K. Rowling fact, right?). The extra bonus, #16, Rowling’s having the same birthday as Harry Potter, is also a ‘given’ among fans.
Here is my list of seven things “You Didn’t Know about J. K. Rowling” that I’m guessing even many Potter Pundits don’t know:
- Rowling is sufficiently fluent in the language and art (and math!) of astrology to cast an accurate natal chart and write involved interpretations of one.
- Rowling is a serious student of P. D. James; the names Arabella (a cat!), Remus (a dog!), McGonagall, Pettigrew, Peverell, Morag, Venetia, Wardle, and Orlando (a child who dies young), for instance, are all found in James’ novels. The name Hermione Granger, too, is likely a revisiting of James’ private investigator Cordelia Gray (HT to Beatrice Groves).
- Rowling flat out lied about writing mystery novels when asked point blank about the possibility before being outed as ‘Robert Galbraith’ and she left her first literary agent for an agent devoted exclusively to her needs (a former Warner Brothers executive working for Christopher Little) in less than honorable fashion.
- Rowling’s first drafts of Philosopher’s Stone are much more alchemical, with a course in the subject, a textbook, and a teacher.
- The author whom Rowling told a German magazine she “really loves” is Vladimir Nabokov; names she lifts from his work include Dolores (Lolita’s real name), Lupin, Sybil, and Argus, Sirius, rufus, rubious, Luna, a Fleur de Fyler who clearly is part Veela, and, a Grindelwod.
- Rowling has 14.4 million followers on Twitter. No other author is close; Rowling uses the platform to troll those she despises but much more to promote the various projects of Rowling, Inc. and, most of all, everything Lumos. Her legacy, she says, is not literary but the hoped-for elimination of orphanages world wide by 2050. Making money for that effort is the guiding light for her priorities in writing projects (Beast screenplays trump Strike novels, in other words).
- Rowling wrote on 30 May this year at the much neglected JKRowling.com that she has been writing another children’s book, a non Harry Potter wizarding world story, for six years and that she will complete it after she’s done with the third Fantastic Beasts screenplay. Google ‘Rowling new children’s story,’ though, and you won’t find a single mention of this on the major fan sites.
There’s more — Rowling’s real name, for instance, is Joanne Rowling Murray (i.e., ‘J. K. Rowling’ is as much a pseudonym as ‘Robert Galbraith’) and she wishes she could go by ‘Murray’ because few pronounce ‘Rowling’ correctly — but you get the idea.