The voice of J.K. Rowling has woven her way into the hearts and minds of so many through her tales.
Even if you do not rally around Rowling’s prose…
…you may find her life outside the Harry Potter franchise awe-inspiring.
I was late to the Harry Potter series and regrettably missed out on the fervor of waiting outside bookstores in long lines for the next installment.
I do hold very clear memories of sharing with friends the joy of our staggered journey. Each of us moving along at different points in the series, spoilers respectfully avoided. Either that, or risk banishment to Azkaban.
One friend readily admits to dancing with danger, reading HP at each red light.
I recall reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire cover to cover while in the prep stage for a colonoscopy, benefiting royally from the extra time I had to sit and ponder. Fans will relate and have similar stories.
‘I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”
– J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling is one of my most admired people.
For me, reading her ‘good books’ created something magical, and importantly, provided the path to learning about her as a person.
For me, J.K. Rowling provides the perfect example of positive change.
Within ourselves, in our interactions with others, and our place in the broader community.
One of J.K. Rowling’s early careers was within the research department of Amnesty International. A fertile ground to explore the horrors and evilness that humans can choose to embody.
Rowling speaks with honor of the people who work and volunteer for Amnesty International – those who strive to overturn injustice and seek to help those who are powerless.
This experience is embedded in her writing and Rowling acknowledges how these early years with Amnesty influenced her stories. In the Order of the Phoenix we hear:
On a personal level, when we seek to grow ourselves up that little bit more, we can sometimes forget, or select to be blind to the dark inside us. The risk, when we refuse to own all parts of ourselves can be righteousness, rigidity, and stagnation.
Owning all parts of ourselves can be challenging; denial can be draining. To choose to explore and gain insight to all parts of ourselves is a step towards becoming a better version of ourselves.
To live in line with our values and beliefs takes conscious action and reflection.
This for me is the human journey.
In seeking to learn more about my hero, I came across J.K. Rowling’s work in establishing the Lumos foundation, shining light into dark corners.
The extensive research by Lumos highlights that about 80 to 90 percent of the 8 million children living in institutions, have a parent that is alive. Their family may have struggled to support them at home. This may be due to poverty, disability, or discrimination of those from an ethnic minority.
Lumos seeks to change the way care and support is provided to the children and families in these situations. The first goal is to find a way to support children to go home with their families. Children are safer outside of institutions, and multiple risks are reduced.
What started for me as a magical journey, with my nose buried in seven glorious novels has developed into a deep and awe-inspiring respect for an amazing human. Even if we can all be a little more like J.K. Rowling, the world would be a better place.
In her amazing Harvard Commencement Address she tells us just that:
What better you, better relationships, better community – local or across our globe, will you imagine?
Project 3: Get to the Point. Toastmasters International CC Manual (2015). For the Toasties out there this was delivered somewhat impromptu from a list of quotes planned to be delivered as Toastmaster. Whilst enjoyable to deliver in the speech format there is a good chance I’ve both forgotten what I actually said on the day!
Rowling, J.K. (2003) Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix (Sirius Black). Bloomsbury, UK.