Happy Birthday J.K. Rowling!

My copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

My copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

J.K. Rowling is an author who needs no introduction, and today she celebrates her 50th birthday. Harry Potter, who shares his creator’s birthday, would be 35 today. Not only has Rowling created a magical world beloved by fans all over the world and had a enormous impact on children’s literature but she is also a very inspiring person. I would love to meet her some day, but I know I would be absolutely star struck! In honour of her birthday, here are ten reasons why I love J.K. Rowling.

1) The magical world of Hogwarts

Image from harrypotter.wikia.com

Image from harrypotter.wikia.com

Hogwarts allowed Harry to escape the cupboard under the stairs, but it has also provided an escape for countless readers. This enchanting world – the castle of Hogwarts, shops like Flourish and Blotts or Honeydukes, the Forbidden Forest – was vividly described in the book, and brought to life on the screen by the movies. The world is richly built, as Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages prove. This magical world has fueled readers’ imaginations and offered them an escape from the stresses of the real world. I am one of many readers who loves to disappear back into the world of the books.

2) The messages in the books

The books have lots of good lessons to offer readers, but not in a preachy way. Most notably – the importance of friendship and love, the triumph of good over evil, the importance of being brave even when that’s difficult. The banning of the books for their discussion of magic is ridiculous, they have a lot of good to offer while also being very entertaining reads.

3) The variety of inspiring and memorable characters

Harry Potter has such a wonderful cast of characters, not just the Golden Trio but the variety of supporting characters. Some of my favourites were Nymphadora Tonks (for her courage, loyalty and of course her Metamorphagus powers!), Luna Lovegood (for her self-belief and individuality), Neville Longbottom (who was brave and did things that scared him) and Ginny Weasley (for her spunky attitude and feminist views).

4) J.K Rowling’s engagement with fans

There are many moving stories of Rowling reaching out to fans (perhaps most famously Evanna Lynch, who later played Luna Lovegood in the films). Not only does this show Rowling’s kindness and compassion, but it is reflective of her attitude towards her fans. She often answers fans’ questions on Twitter – this tweet was particularly popular:

JK Tweet

5) Harry Potter fan culture

The Harry Potter books have been a huge source of inspiration to fans, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the wealth of fanfiction, fanart and, of course, wrock music. Wrock, or Wizard Rock, is a music genre in which bands such as Harry and the Potters, The Parselmouths and The Moaning Myrtles wrote songs about the books or characters. While it is less popular now, there are lots of great songs for fans to enjoy. The Harry Potter books have more fanfiction written about them than any other book, with stories in every genre and with every pairing you could think of. This creative fan culture shows the impact J.K. Rowling and her books have had, and shows how a community of Potterheads has formed.

6) J.K. Rowling’s inspiring 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.”

“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.”

“Whatever money you might have, self-worth really lies in finding out what you do best.”

“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.”

7) The continuing discussions of the books

Eight years on, fans continue to discuss and debate the books. New theories are constantly emerging – including a recent theory about Harry, Snape and Dumbledore being The Three Brothers. The books are packed with detail, and I always notice something new when I re-read them. I can’t wait for the new illustrated versions, I’m sure Jim Kay’s work will greatly enrich the stories.

8) Adaptations

Image from logos.wikia.com.

Image from logos.wikia.com.

J.K. Rowling’s magical books have been adapted into many formats – the movies, a forthcoming play and of course the hilarious (and unofficial) A Very Potter Musical. King’s Cross now has a Platform 9 3/4 and I really want to visit the Harry Potter studios, and Harry Potter World of course!

9) The clever plotting

While part of me would obviously love another Harry Potter book, the series is perfect as it is. The seven books are well planned out and make an excellent series. I loved how, in the last book, things from the first book come up – such as the snitch from Harry’s first Quidditch match.

10) Impact on children’s literature

“Children are not ‘they.’ They are us. And this is why writing that succeeds with children often succeeds just as well with adults—not because the latter are infantile or regressive, but because the true dilemmas of childhood are the dilemmas of the whole of life: those of belonging and betrayal, the power of the group and the courage it takes to be an individual, of love and loss, and learning what it is to be a human being, let alone a good, brave, or honest one.”

The impact of Harry Potter on children’s literature has been discussed often, this series got many young readers into books but also its success increased the profile of children’s literature. Today there is a wealth of children’s and YA books, and Harry Potter played a huge part in this.

Now I want to read all the books again…Happy birthday J.K. Rowling, and thank you for the wonderful books!

As Rowling said, ‘The stories we love best do live in us forever.’

Advertisements

Ten Terrific Wrock Songs (Happy Birthday Harry Potter!)

So it’s the 31st of July, birthday of the Boy Who Lived. Harry would be 33 today, and in celebration of his birthday I have complied a list of ten great wrock songs. Wrock or wizard rock is a genre of music in which Harry Potter fans write songs based on the books and characters. The performers take on personas of Hogwarts students, or even of specific characters from the books. They also have really cool band names.

Below is a countdown of ten great wrock songs. It was really hard to pick just ten, and the order has been changed many times. (And I cheated a bit – there are more suggestions below the videos) I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I have!

10) Save Ginny Weasley From Dean Thomas – Harry and the Potters

Fun and funky, with a great instrumental section. Makes me want to dance!

9) Accio Deathly Hallows – Hank Green

This is a great song about waiting for the seventh book, and the mixture of anticipation and apprehension this involves. Plus it’s got a seriously catchy chorus!

See also: Book Eight, and Howler (with Lauren Fairweather)

8) Accio Hot Guy – The Butterbeer Experience

Because the lyrics are hilarious.

See also: It Sucks to be a Hufflepuff and Percy Weasley

7) You Can’t Speak Snake – The Moaning Myrtles

Clever idea, and funny lyrics! A glimpse into a moment we don’t get to see in Deathly Hallows, and from Myrtles point of view too!

6) Quidditch Is My Favourite Sport – The Parselmouths

Another funny one, and I do love The Parselmouths! And of course Quidditch is my favourite sport 🙂

5) Lumos Flies – ALL CAPS

A cover of Fireflies, Harry Potter style, with lots of Ron/Hermione.

4) Hermione’s Song (You and Me) – Oliver and the Remembralls

This is just adorable basically.

3) Meet Me On Diagon Alley – Ministry of Magic

Another really sweet song, gets me every time!

2) And Then I Died – The Moaning Myrtles

Songs from Moaning Myrtles point of view – genius! Also this is just generally a great song!

See also: Nargles in the Mistletoe, Choko Ono and I Was There.

1) Someone Freaking Ask Me To The Yule Ball – The Parselmouths

Funny and catchy, and as I said before, I love The Parselmouths!

See also: Not Half Bad, What Kind of Name is Hermione? and Who Are These Boys?

Pop any recommended wrock songs in the comments, hope you’ve celebrated Harry’s (and JK’s!) birthday in proper wizarding style 😀

Mischief Managed!

 

Top Ten Tuesday #2 Top Ten Best Movie Adaptations

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, perfect for those who love books and lists. (Or even better – both!) This week’s list is Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations.

I’m going with Best Movie Adaptations, and I’m guessing these lists will create a few disagreements! (For example, I really enjoyed The Great Gatsby recently, which I know has mixed reviews) Movie adaptations are such a tricky thing, especially when you love the book! I am looking forward to Catching Fire, The Fault in our Stars and Divergent, but I really hope they are done well.

Leave a link to your TTT below, I would love to read it!

1) Harry Potter
The Harry Potter books obviously win out here, but I also adore the films. Some of my favourite bits were left out, and I thought Ginny’s character was much stronger in the books, but overall the film series is well cast, entertaining and magical.  They really brought Hogwarts and the wizarding world to life for me.


Although technically it’s not a movie, I couldn’t not mention A Very Potter Musical here, as it is a thing of wonder. If you haven’t watched it, you’re in for a treat.

2) Stardust
I love the Stardust movie, it was one of the rare cases in which I saw the movie before the book. The book is very different to the film, even in terms of audience. The book is definitely for adults, whereas the film is strongly family-oriented. I love the soundtrack, the beautiful settings, and the sense of magic and adventure.

3) Pride and Prejudice BBC Mini Series
I adore this version of Pride and Prejudice for its faithfulness to the original and its wonderful production. Also, since it’s a mini-series, it’s really long! Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite novels, and I adore this production. Check out the ball scene below.


Honourable Pride and Prejudice mention has to go to YouTube sensation The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which is a modern day adaptation of the classic novel, told through Lizzie’s vlogs. One of my favourite things about this version is its treatment of Lydia – she is made into a much more rounded and sympathetic character. Also – costume theatre!

4) The Princess Bride
My list would be inconceivable without this movie! Again, I watched the movie before reading the book (which I also really enjoyed.) This film has an amazing sword fight, is insanely quotable, and generally wonderful. The sword fight scene is below. Seriously, just watch it!

5) Ella Enchanted

Both book and movie tell a great fairytale story, with a strong female heroine. Magical! I adore fairytales, and while book and movie differ, both are really enjoyable.

6) The Princess Diaries  Again the film and book differ greatly (where were Tina and Boris? Mia’s dad was killed off in the film, Clarisse is nice… ) but I enjoy both. The second movie not so much, as it has absolutely no basis in the books. A light and fun watch, and yay Anne Hathaway!

7) Little Women

I love both the film versions I have seen of this movie, and thought they captured the book really well. Jo is one of my favourite literary characters, and I love the relationship between the sisters. Both book and films are classics, enjoy! I went for the modern version here, but I also love the Katherine Hepburn version.

8) Sense and Sensibility

While I had a bit of trouble believing that Alan Rickman had no evil ulterior motive, I really enjoyed this film adaptation. I am a big Jane Austen fan, and I thought Emma Thompson was wonderful in the role of Elinor, and Hugh Laurie was hilarious.

9) Matilda

Matilda is my favourite Roald Dahl book (it is, after all, about a bookworm!) and I thought the movie captured a lot of the humour of the book, and also how scary Miss Trunchball is!

10) The Spiderwick Chronicles

I really enjoyed this film, but I do wish the events of The Ironwood Tree had been included, as this was my favourite book in the series. However it was a fun and magical film, with plenty of adventure.

Happy Tuesday! 😀