It is not only the trans segment of the fan community, however, that has been hurt and enraged by Rowling’s statements. “It’s also clear that one of the objectives of denying the importance of sex is to erode what some seem to see as the cruelly segregationist idea of women having their own biological realities or – just as threatening – unifying realities that make them a cohesive political class.”, “I expected the threats of violence, to be told I was literally killing trans people with my hate, to be called cunt and bitch and, of course, for my books to be burned,” writes Rowling. Then came 2011, a landmark moment in the franchise’s evolution, says Brummitt. Rowling was, she implies, fully aware of the violent backlash that June’s tweets would trigger, yet she pressed send anyway, to strike a blow for freedom of speech. I struggled with severe OCD as a teenager. Authors can’t always pop characters out at the drop of a hat. In fact, it still hasn’t. The group held 27 meetings across the UK during the consultation process and at virtually every one, says Serwotka, the women who attended were “intimidated… heckled and pushed.” The group’s strategy, she says, remained firm: forge on with every meeting, not only to ensure that the women’s voices were heard but also to air the ugliness of their opposition in public. Why would a wealthy, powerful cis woman be “triggered” by the word choice in a rather obscure article about menstrual products? Rowling also writes of her own sexual assault, and the domestic abuse she suffered in her first marriage, to Portuguese journalist Jorge Arantes. She knew the response was going to be misogynistic and sexist, and she’s done it anyway because that’s what that women’s rights activism has become. Then follows the wobbling, precarious balancing-act that sits at the core of the essay. “You know you’re going to get a misogynistic response,” says Serwotka. She was bringing up her child on benefits in Scotland, in the mid-nineties, and she somehow used her writing skills to forge a better life for herself,” summaries Cassie Brummitt, academic at the Cinema and Television History Institute at De Montfort University, who wrote her PhD on the development of the Harry Potter franchise. That is the simple truth.”. Will 60 to 90 per cent of teens “grow out” of gender dysphoria, as Rowling suggests? The legend of JK Rowling’s life couldn’t be more widely known: “she was a poverty-stricken single mother. she is an exaggeration of how I was when I was younger," she said, also pointing out that some of Granger's vices she could also relate to (e.g. Does he believe, as Rowling claims in her own essay and her supporters have asserted too, that research into and debate on trans issues is being stifled by a fear of protest or online attack? "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" is dedicated to Sean. To find out about the current team around her, you can’t simply open Hello magazine or flick through a Vanity Fair profile. A similar point about the average age of the authors could be made about the 150 writers who signed a letter published in the October edition of Harper’s Magazine, warning of “an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty”. She had some of her happiest teenage years in Sean's car. There are snippets to collect from a smattering of interviews: her sister Dianne, who scooped Rowling up in 1993, giving her Christmas in Edinburgh after the author left a violent marriage in Portugal with only her baby, a suitcase of unpublished writing and no winter coat. JKR based Ron Weasley on a childhood friend of hers, Sean Harris, who was the owner of the blue Ford Anglia and had a wicked sense of humour if Ron is anything to go by. If so, why now? The only way to accurately gauge that is to see if they open their arms – and, more importantly, their wallets – if, and when, another Harry Potter film drops.”, That does not, however, mean that it isn’t causing some heavy headaches within the franchise. She didn’t do a lot of interviews.”. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. Like Weasley, he has proved to be a dependable friend who can be relied on in a … “There is no part of me that feels that I represented myself as your children’s babysitter or their teacher,” she said in the New Yorker interview. They reach higher than the street lamps in front of them.”. Describing the real-life person, Rowling writes: "I particularly recall a tiny little plastic bow slide, pale lemon in color that she wore in her short curly hair," adding, "I used to stare at that little slide, which would have been appropriate to a girl of three, as though it was some kind of repellent physical growth. So are we finally seeing JK Rowling unleashed? In 2009/10, 40 girls across the UK were referred for gender treatment. Read the story this way, and the young are shutting down free speech, aided by social media. What would it mean for the Wizarding World she had dedicated the last 30 years of her life to building? If a creature (or, indeed, Kreacher) was to be cut from a movie, Rowling would personally intervene in the script writing, to explain that he would have a vital role in future films. When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. © 2021 Biography and the Biography logo are registered trademarks of A&E Television Networks, LLC. Sean Harris, her best friend in the Upper Sixth, owned a turquoise Ford Anglia which she says inspired a flying version that appeared in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. On 10 June, the hashtag #IstandwithJKR took off among Twitter users eager to show their support for Rowling (though it was hijacked by detractors, too). Will JK Rowling then appear, as her critics insist, “on the wrong side of history”? The Cursed Child has changed the way that plays work, making the play into two parts over a whole day, and the theme parks have sold more tickets than ever before, completely changing Universal’s fortunes and making them a real rival to Disney. That year, Rowling jumped ship to a brand new literacy agency, The Blair Partnership, with which she developed Pottermore, an online platform giving her the power to sell her own e-books directly (now called Wizarding World, it has expanded into a fan site). So Harry Potter is, in some ways, the most culturally influential franchise that’s ever existed.”. So perhaps we need to have some reviews.’”, Lisa Mackenzie agrees. Trans women who work in the sex industry, particularly trans women of colour, are at particular risk. It was never going to be some sort of gender free for all. But Rowling no longer works in cafes. This is, after all, the woman who wrote a detailed family tree for every major surviving character in the Potter series, naming offspring who would never appear in the books, filling in their lives with birthdays and backstories that would never be read. Groening named the cartoon family named after his own siblings and parents, albeit with a "Bart" in lieu of a character named after himself. Many of them, of course, were never trans and thus would not become trans adults. More than 1,500 members of the literary community have signed a letter in response to J.K. Rowling's well-documented views on the trans community. So it seems that Rowling had a crush on Sean Harris, and he either didn't realize it, or wasn't interested, and Hermione getting together with Ron fulfills the wish that Rowling had when she was young and wanted to get together with Sean Harris. But rather than let it die out, more tweets followed, that day and the next. Nor does Devor think that research supports the claim made by Rowling in her essay that detransitioning (or, to use his preferred phrase, retransitioning) is happening in anything more than tiny numbers. “When she gets very stressed, she’ll detach herself and only trust one person, and that’s herself,” he says. In her essay, she implies that her interest in trans issues dates to around 2017, placing us around the time of Scotland’s first consultation. After that… quiet. Radcliffe, Watson, Grint… all millennial, all immediately and earnestly disavowing Rowling’s position. “Self ID gives predators the green light,” shouted the ad, placed in the Scotsman on 6 March this year, by the group formed to oppose Scottish government reforms. If she didn’t like the idea of McDonald’s Happy Meal toys (and she did not), the idea was nixed. According to, JK Rowling based the character of Ron on her real-life best friend, Sean Harris. Fry coined the term “denial marketing” to characterise their strategy for all things Potter: the more people want, the less you give. We’re going to stand up. Perhaps there’s a clue in an extremely rare, and extremely brief, interview given by Neil Murray in A Year In the Life, a documentary made by James Runcie in 2007. For Sean P.F. On 6 June, of course, there were plenty of opportunities to feel that an old guard had created a frightening dystopia, and that they were the ones silencing less powerful voices. He also owned a blue Ford Anglia, like in the second book. Yet that very rise, suggests Steelman, could even be linked to the books: “allowing yourself the ability to explore, being affirmed, being told that you don’t have to be any one way, does open you to be able to question these things.”. GRA reform is already coming up during candidate selection hustings and it seems highly likely that it will be an election issue next May, as it was during the 2019 UK general election.”, Sarah Steelman, a therapist specialising in “trans affirmative practices” in Las Vegas and, till now, a mega Harry Potter fan, also thinks Rowling’s interventions were politically motivated: “She understood what she was doing and she was doing it purposefully, at the time that she needed to do it, in order to try and push these laws into action, and have people think about trans people in these ways. For Sean P.F. It appeared that almost everyone on the planet had expressed a view in 280 fiery letters or fewer. Bloomsbury published Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone in the UK in 1997 and Rowling sold the film rights for Harry Potter to Warner Bros. two years later. Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone". “You do the meeting because you want to draw out the response, and that’s what [Rowling]’s done. Not only did schoolfriend Sean Harris encourage Rowling to take up a career as a writer - lending her money when she was at her most desperate - but he also provided the model for one of the books' central characters, Ron Weasley. Ian, who is now a damp-proofer, was a mischievous trickster when he was young, forming an unwelcoming habit of placing slugs on his friends' picnic plates and encouraging Rowling to run through wet concrete with her sister. The weighing-up of such vulnerabilities against those of trans people: “I believe the majority of trans-identified people not only pose zero threat to others, but are vulnerable for all the reasons I’ve outlined. Even though he didn't ride a horse, he drove a car. Wesley has also been recently cast as a … I see it going in the direction of a decoupling of the idea that who we are in everyday life in terms of our gender expression needs to be connected to our physical bodies… we will increasingly see people having the freedom to be very fluid and changeable in how they express their gender and that we will have… an infinite range of options available to us.”. (Her eldest, Jessica, born of that short first marriage, is now described on the YouTube channel where she posts makeup tutorials as “studying administration”.). And it is almost unheard of… that those heterosexual male predators gain access to that space by dressing themselves up as women.”. And if he was challenged, he could simply say, ‘Oh, actually I identify as a woman, I’ve filled in the form’. Over the course of just four days, JK Rowling had waded straight into one of the fiercest battles in the UK today, one that thrives on social media but spills out into the real world, too. The franchise developed apace. -JK rowling Biography of JK's Life ... JK's best friend in school, Sean Harris, inspired JK to form the character Ron Weasely. Yet it does not, always, appear to have been an unqualified success. There will be no interviews, no appearances, no inner-circle insights, they all insist. Were the timings of Rowling’s own interventions, and the provocation of her own traumas, tied to Holyrood’s management, or lack-thereof, of GRA reform? The sheriff’s judgement mentions the family’s chartered accountant, Steven Simou. My Critique of the Authors Work Jk is the best writer at hooking you into the story. One small community has remained conspicuously silent. Discover UK showbiz and celebrity breaking news from the MailOnline. But Rowling no longer works in cafes. Simply described as … Unsurprising, then, that those at the top of the franchise insist that it will continue developing apace, undaunted, unslowed and ultimately unaffected by the latest controversy. Rowling also followed her PR, Mark Hutchinson, when he left the Colman Getty agency and founded his own in 2011 (type his name into Google News and the top results are all now accompanied by variations on the phrase “declined to comment further”). He is the first person with whom she discussed her ambition to become a writer. J.K. Rowling's meteoric rise to worldwide superstardom and bestseller status is now the stuff of tabloid legend - how she would spend hours in a cafe in Edinburgh, nursing a single coffee and a glass of water while she wrote the Harry Potter novel that would bring her fame and fortune. And, says Mackenzie, “the persistent failure of government and other public authorities to make clear statements about the parameters of existing anti-discrimination laws have meant that the issue has been left to be slugged out in the public square, in an atmosphere of increasing tension and antipathy.”. Beyond that, however: “she’s always been perceived as a private person. Joanne has read a lot of books and wrotes some histories about diamants and witches. Although Ron doesn’t have a direct correlation to anyone in Rowling’s life as far as we know, he does hold an uncanny resemblanceto Rowling’s own childhood friend, Sean. A septuagenarian president refusing to wear a mask, police brutality against ethnic minorities, and now… this. In 2018, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald brought in 20 per cent less at global box offices than its 2016 predecessor, and a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 36 per cent compared to 74 per cent. But at the height of Potter mania, in the noughties, a mushrooming cast of agents, editors, publicists and PR people stage-managed every public appearance Rowling made with painstaking attention to detail. It is heterosexual, male predators who are finding a way to get into that space and then attacking women. You scrutinise the context and then you pencil in the answer that best fits, rubbing it out and replacing it as more of the picture emerges. That meticulous privacy means piecing together the life of Joanne Rowling – the woman, not the Harry Potter deity – is like completing a cryptic crossword. Controversy rumbled. Considering Hagrid has a taste for ale, Rowling chose the surname "Hagrid" since its meaning refers to having a number of bad nights (i.e. A depression settled over Church Cottage, leaving Rowling feeling trapped and miserable. “My perennial jumpiness is a family joke – and even I know it’s funny – but I pray my daughters never have the same reasons I do for hating sudden loud noises, or finding people behind me when I haven’t heard them approaching.”. Considering Muggle-born Hermione is ambitious, studious, resourceful and smart as a whip, whom do you think could have possibly inspired her character? Merely credited as a producer on the Potter productions, she would both write and produce these new prequel movies. And it mentions Rowling’s husband, Neil Murray. Nor were fans silent. You have to dig through a rather drier document: Joanne Murray vs Amanda Donaldson. J.K. Rowling Writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues Warning: This piece contains inappropriate language for children. Like women, they’re most likely to be killed by sexual partners. It didn’t, however, end there. Kat Miller, however, views this generational divide differently. There’s Fiona Shapcott, nanny to their children for 16 years and working in the Edinburgh office part-time. No,” he says. Donald Trump and his “long history of sexual assault accusations” sits alongside “activists who declare that TERFs need punching” (coined in 2008, the acronym TERF was first reserved for trans-exclusionary radical feminists but has now morphed into a catch-all insult, aimed at any woman seen as anti-trans-inclusion). Journalists were forbidden from taking notes while reading new books. According to Cassie Brummitt, Rowling’s reputation as the saviour of childhood literacy – with millions of children eager to read thanks to the Potter books – gave her an extraordinary degree of influence over the movies’ production: “She managed to escape the idea that she’s commercial in any way. Di Brooks, office manager and previously Rowling’s security consultant, who has worked for her for 16 years, too. And now Warner Bros. is having to do damage limitation.”. The films changed the way that franchising works, now studios like Marvel owe their success to Harry Potter. A deal with Disney had reportedly broken down over the possible extent of Rowling’s involvement, but before the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal Studios Hollywood, samples of the food from restaurants and shops were flown to Scotland, so that Rowling could test them. For Sean P.F. For Sean P.F. Writing Speed. The noughties were a simpler time. Misogyny, sexual discrimination and violence are threaded through it. When JK's mother died it greatly affected her writing. hangovers). The final Potter film was released and with it, the possibility that the franchise might lean on Rowling less. Then he could go home that night, fill in the form again and change back.”, That, she argues, would never be the case: “in countries where they have taken away some of the reliance on medical criteria… it is still a legal process. Harry Potter and The Chamber Of Secrets is dedicated to Sean P.F. “Warner Bros.’ willingness to continue the series even though it’s on a downward path financially is evidence of playing the long game,” says Jeff Bock, senior media analyst at Exhibitor Relations. What of Rowling’s suggestion that social contagion (so called “rapid-onset gender dysphoria”) is influencing the 4,400 per cent increase in girls being referred for transitioning treatment in the UK over the past several years? In 2014, a study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology claimed that reading Potter books left readers more sympathetic to stigmatised groups such as immigrants, refugees and, yes, LGBT+ people. Harris, getaway driver and foulweather friend Explanation: Jo met Sean at her secondary school, Wyedean, when she was eleven. In April last year, Rowling’s PA was found to have misused a business credit card. Rowling’s stream of tweets and eventual essay on sex and gender appear the polar opposite – written and published in a state Rowling describes as “triggered”, they are unmediated, controversial and authentic. “This is going to hurt me to say it, but no,” says Miller. Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone". Wiry red hair and a wonderful sense of loyalty would be a plus. Not many, however, had asked… why? She enjoyed listening to … The author used real-life experiences as inspiration for her wizarding world. “The allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge. The draft hate crime bill being considered by MSPs is bringing some of the same issues to the fore and there will be a judicial review of the Scottish government’s redefinition of ‘woman’ under the Gender Representation on Public Boards Act 2018. Alongside Wesley were veteran actors Poppy Montgomery (Without a Trace) as the adult JK Rowling, Paul McGillion (Stargate Atlantis) as Rowling’s father, and Madison Dejarlais (Marmaduke) as the teenage Rowling. "I did not set out to make Hermione like me, but she is . Harris. “What’s JK Rowling like to live with?” Murray is asked as the couple travel by private jet. "He was the first person with whom I really discussed my serious ambition to be a writer and he was the only person who thought I was bound to be a success at it, which meant much more to me than I ever told him at the time," she admitted. Within the franchise, it seems, those reaping the greatest rewards from Rowling’s Midas touch are united in their support for her. Indeed, Devor believes we are in the middle stages of a gender revolution: “where it’s going to end, I wouldn’t begin to predict right now. Sean used to drive Rowling … Beneath the power dynamic are generational fault lines. Peter Rowling is not the only difficult man to emerge in her essay. Thanks to the unkind ways of Rowling's real-life maternal grandmother, Frieda, whom the author describes as someone who enjoyed the company of "her dogs to human relatives," the caustic and girthy character of Aunt Marge was born — bulldogs and all. The barriers go up… She’s got to do everything herself, despite the fact that it’s not possible to do everything herself.”. Soon, a picture builds of a very tight, very long-standing and rather insular circle, fulfilling multiple roles rather than letting others in. The generational divide is so deep that it extends beyond grassroots politics and into celebrity. Although she writes under the pen name J.K. Rowling, pronounced like rolling, ... remembers her as "not exceptional" but "one of a group of girls who were bright, and quite good at English." But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? I was supposed to be Simon John, I even know who I was supposed to be”. Harris, getaway driver and foulweather friend Explanation: Jo met Sean at her secondary school, Wyedean, when she was eleven. He’s also founder of the world’s largest transgender archives and is trans himself. My writing room is probably my favourite place in the world. It encouraged readers to join a demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament against a bill that would “be exploited by predatory men who pose a real threat to women and girls”. works with a wide range of writers and editors to create accurate and informative content. “This kind of ideological pressure on people, to conform to a particular point of view and not engage in what I think is healthy, scientific scepticism is very widespread in society, in almost every topic,” says Devor, pointing to opposition to vaccination and climate change – subjects, he suggests, that have proven equally incendiary. According to Rowling, the bikers would take over the West Country and drink the nights away at the local pubs, bringing their "huge mountains of leather and hair" with them. “Franchises like Harry Potter come around once in a blue moon in Hollywood. An inspiring look at JK Rowling's rise to become one of the most influential writers-from her humble beginnings as an imaginative young girl and awkward teenager to the loss of her mother and the genesis of the Harry Potter phenomenon. In her 10 June essay, Rowling lays out the reasons that trans issues began to interest her. Till 6 June 2020 and Rowling’s explosive tweet which, she explains in her essay, was issued after she read “that the Scottish government is proceeding with its controversial gender recognition plans”. She insisted that: “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. Poor and almost homeless, the 'Harry Potter' creator eventually became the world's first billionaire author. And while Warner Bros was still in the game, releasing the first of a reported five Fantastic Beasts movies that year, Rowling had expanded her reach here, too. Back in 2007, Rowling and her sister Dianne elaborated further, telling James Runcie that, as a child, Joanne was dressed in blue, “because I was supposed to be a boy…. Outside of their DC properties, the Wizarding World arguably has the largest upside, so keeping on JK Rowling’s good side is of the utmost importance.”. The world that we have been left is mostly trash and we’re done. The writer didn't have to look far to pen the now-classic American novel. . Harris, getaway driver and foulweather friend Explanation: Jo met Sean at her secondary school, Wyedean, when she was eleven. The literary agent who launched JK Rowlingto international stardom has passed away, his representatives said last night. On 6 June, the world had a lot to contend with. The beloved hymn and its author John Newton, a former enslaver, have inspired a new Broadway musical, but the true history is complex and ambiguous. As a teen, Rowling also had a friend named Sean Harris, who she empathized with because he was also an outsider. Most policymakers now will be thinking: ‘I don’t want to be left holding this kind of problem and not looking like I’ve done anything about it. So: “When somebody who, for so long, so many people have looked up to and revered and, you know, called their queen, for goodness’ sake, comes out and says something that is so incredibly hurtful to so many people and is just unapologetic about it… you rally together, and the internet allows for that.”, “I feel like this generation, the millennials and the Gen Z… we’re not going to put up with that BS anymore,” she explains. From “He was the first of my friends to learn to drive and that turquoise and white car meant FREEDOM and no more having to ask my father to give me lifts, which is the worst thing about living in the countryside when you are a teenager. Rowling also dedicated the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets book to Harris. In June, Rowling’s American publisher Hachette was forced to quell an apparent staff mutiny, when a group of employees objected to working on Rowling’s new children’s story, The Ickabog.