Harry Potter’s Birthday — and Joanne Rowling’s As Well

The Boy Who Lived turns 33 today, if you consider fictional characters as real folk, and the author of his adventures enters her 49th year. Three stray thoughts:

(1) Have any of you ever celebrated 31 July? I mean, with a party, a gathering for Joanne and Harry? If so, please do tell us what that was like. I’m assuming the principal celebrants, even a stand-in like Daniel Radcliffe, didn’t show. If you haven’t had a party like that, how would you set up the conditions for attendance at this theme party? Magical gifts? Owl messages for the birthday girl and boy?

(2) What sentiment, which is to say, what fifty-words-or-less note would you write inside Ms Rowling’s birthday car besides the one Hallmark put there? and…

(3) Pretend it’s your birthday and Ms. Rowling has said she’d answer your one question about her work as her birthday gift to you. What do you ask — and why do you ask it?

My answers, below the jump:

(1) No, I haven’t been to a birthday party for Harry and/or Joanne, believe it or not. Not even in the great run-up to and discussion mania after summer book and movie releases. If I had such a party, I’d ask everyone to carry a wand and to wear Muggle clothing as a witch or wizard might (think ‘Quidditch World Cup’).

(2) My sentiment-inside-the-card would be “May God grant you many years!” Sincere and short, even abrupt but I’ve sent her longer notes with thanks and thoughts and not received a response. The card will have to do, right?

(3) I’ve just finished a re-read of Austen’s Emma so I’d ask whether she really read that novel twenty times in a row before beginning to write Philosopher’s Stone. That would be a Trojan Horse kind of question, actually, because I’m guessing it would lead to a longer discussion of what makes this her favorite book (still?) and whether the voice of he writing (and consequent narrative mis-direction) are her big debts to Jane Austen.

And, if we were drinking, maybe I’d ask eventually about Hermione’s middle name.

Now I want to read your thoughts; what are you thinking? Please number your responses as I have above so we can keep the answers straight!

And “Happy Birthday, Potter Lovers!”


  1. Louise M. Freeman says

    (1) The Virginia is for Wizards club had a picnic last weekend… it was timed to roughly correspond to the joint birthday. The organizer went all out with Honeydukes-style treats and house-colored goodie bags. I (Ravenclaw) won the Harry Potter trivia contest and my son Noah (Slytherin) tied for second, so we came home with a very nice Wizard’s chess set and a McGonagall poster that is now gracing my office door. Any Virginia HogPro readers should join us at the next gathering!
    (2) May the writer who brought magic to millions enjoy a little of her own today!
    (3) I’d have to flip a coin: A) have you ever had a psychology class and, if so, did it influence your writing or B) How did Fred and George fail to notice the Marauder’s Map depicting a unknown person named Pettigrew in bed every night with their pre-teen brother for two years? (and likely cohabitating with Percy before that!)

  2. (1) I have never been to or been invited to a Harry/JKR party, but I do commemorate the day by wishing them Happy Birthday on Facebook. July 31 is encircled on my calendar, a sign of family and close friend birthdays. I’m a tad embarrassed to admit it, but there you go.

    (2) There aren’t words important enough to thank her for the great gift she gave the world. I would actually tell her that. I think it important to fall in love with something as often as possible, really get into it. And Harry’s story was a big one for me. So I love her for it. I’ve loved lots of books, but I never felt so grateful for one before. I would just want her to know that.

    (3) So many questions. But actually, I would just like to have a chat with her about any old thing. From listening to many many interviews, she seems to me like she’d be good company. She’s smart, quick and funny. I bet she’s a laugh.

    If we were drinking, I guess I might suggest we brainstorm and fill in that missing 24-hr gap on 31 October 1981. Or maybe ply her with wine til she freely rambled on about her alchemical structure and how she experienced her own catharsis.

  3. 1 – I have not been to any Harry or JK Rowling birthday parties, but if I were to host one, each guest would have to come prepared with a new spell – Latin-based, of course – that would accomplish some task heretofore unseen in the Harry Potter universe.

    2 – I would write, “Dear Jo, Thank you for sharing your magic with us. I pray there will always be magic in your life.”

    3 – OK, here is my chance. Since the final book, I have been slightly worried about Molly Weasley’s soul. Jo tells us throughout the books that killing destroys the soul, and she keeps Harry from doing so. But Molly most definitely kills Bellatrix, whether by the AK curse or some other, so is her soul damaged at all, or does it remain in tact because she was killing in defense of another?

    Great questions, John – thanks!

Speak Your Mind