"With Harry Potter being one of the most successful franchises in history, J.K. Rowling is changing the world. One book, one speech, and one charity at a time."
The success of J.K. Rowling is not just deemed by the fact that she is the first author in the world to hit the $1 billion mark, or by the awards she has accrued; but more importantly by the positive impact she has made in billions of lives. She is considered one of the most engaged and philanthropic celebrities in today’s world and her series of books and associated movies has touched the hearts of millions. She has also had a profound influence on a whole generation of children by encouraging them to read and transforming reading habits through her Harry Potter series.
The life of Joanne Rowling is a story that many can draw inspiration from. She has had a lot of personal struggles in her life and showed a lot of resilience by pulling through and succeeding. As Rowling said in her commencement address at Harvard: “I think it's fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless . . . I was the biggest failure I knew. She also said “I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized. I still had a daughter who I adored, an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
One big tragedy Rowling had to go through during the time of developing Harry Potter was that her mother passed away from Multiple Sclerosis. After this event, she moved to Portugal in 1991 to teach English as a second language. She married her first husband the following year and had her daughter, Jessica, with him. They were divorced shortly after and she found herself a single parent, suffering from clinical depression, jobless and living on state benefits in the United Kingdom. It was an extremely hard time of her life as she was barely making ends meet. And yet, for Rowling, failure was the turning point that made her strive for a better life.
The idea of Harry Potter began on a trip from Manchester to London in 1990. Her train was delayed and an idea burst into her imagination about the adventures of a young boy with a brave heart who didn’t know he was a wizard until he got to Hogwarts, the wizard school. By the time she got off the train, Harry Potter was conceived along with many of the other characters in the books.
By 1995, she had outlined the plots for seven books, and published her first novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone; and was one of the richest women in the world.
Her challenging life experiences have greatly influenced both the causes she has chosen to get involved with, as well as her writing. In her books, there are many signs of the struggles the author went through during her life, the best example takes the form of a dementors, a creature that sucks happiness out of a person leaving only sorrow and loneliness. Nevertheless, the hopeful-spirited Rowling would create a counter measure: the patronus spell, the materialization of a happy memory that would immediately repel the creature.
During her university studies she worked at Amnesty International (AI), where she was in constant exposure to terrible situations happening around the world – especially in Africa. She would later reveal in an interview that one of the most shocking moments during her time working for AI was when a politician was informed of his mother being assassinated by government officials as a response to his cooperation with the NGO, in her own words the scream was of such “pain and horror ... as I have never heard since.” She said. She would later describe the experience as one that helped her become aware of everything happening in the world and feeling incredibly grateful for being born in the First World.
Perhaps the most inspiring of all she has done so far has been what she’s done with her newfound wealth. She is a passionate philantropher and has never forgotten where she