It’s been said a thousand times how J.K. Rowling and her seven Harry Potter novels have rejuvenated children’s literature and young people’s desire to read. But what’s not talked about enough is the effect J.K. Rowling has had on authors.
Look at the events last week in London. Fans camped out for three days to catch a glimpse of their favourite author, and the cast of the record-breaking franchise. For the first time ever, a film premiere was held in Trafalgar Square, truly marking Rowling’s unique achievement. Harry Potter is huge. Beyond huge. But it’s more than action films, and an excuse to dress up in long black robes. The story is amazing. Say what you will about Rowling, and her unorthodox interactions with the world and the media, but in my opinion the woman is a genius. The stories themselves are so intricately layered, neatly-crafted jigsaws, with key pieces scattered right the way across the series. On coffee shop napkins, and in council houses without central heating, Jo Rowling invented a world, and filled it with every intricate detail. She created an incredible, over-arching story, but also managed to segment that story with individual all-encompassing adventures. She penned characters who have become household names, icons, ‘Gods’ even if you believe the current Twitter trends!
Today the final movie in the franchise officially opened, and I returned home from seeing it, to notice that 4 different characters from the film are trending on Twitter. (Interestingly, not one of them Harry himself, begging the question, has that name been removed from the trends because it’s just too popular and obvious?!)
And as I return home, having left behind a world where wands have opinions, and stone statues form a guard of honour, what I feel is INSPIRED! For so long now, my ‘end goal’ has been getting published. To be quite honest, as soon as the hurdle of getting myself represented by an agent was conquered, publication has been the next obstacle ahead. And the longer it’s been there, the more it’s seemed like ‘the end’. Getting published seemed so hard, that I felt like it was my finish line, the thing in the distance I will always be aiming for.
And yet, that really shouldn’t be the case. Because I ought to be looking for more. As an author growing up in this day and age, J.K. Rowling should be my inspiration. I’m proud to be British, and I’m proud to be an author, and I guess for a long time J.K. has been raising the bar for British authors. Asking us to look to her and truly see what we are all potentially capable of. We can create worlds that people won’t just buy, but love. Worlds they will conjure in their heads, and revisit time and time again. Characters who will grow to be as beloved as family. As familiar as their closest friends.
But J.K.’s bar isn’t just appreciation. Look at the legacy Trafalgar Square. Her bar, her legacy, is world domination. A story that can change millions of lives. A tale that can touch people young and old, from every background. A tale which has seen her become the world’s first billionaire as a result of literature.
Today shouldn’t make the end. It should mark the beginning. Because for us authors, J.K. Rowling has been the flagship. She’s blazed the way into people’s hearts, and reminded the world that even in this day and age, when a book is no longer necessarily made up of separate pages, a story CAN capture the world.
The world needs more Potters. More Hogwarts. The stories don’t need to be about wizards, and the settings don’t need to be schools, but that should be where we take our personal inspiration. Our desire to suceed.
So … today I am an unpublished author. But my goal is publication … or rather, my goal isn’t JUST publication. My goal is to BE that person that everyone always mentions when you say you’re trying to become an author.
‘Oh, so you’re trying to become the next J.K. Rowling?’
‘Hmm … well, yes actually, I am!’ After all, that scene last week in Trafalgar Square was pretty bloody cool 😉