21 Years of Harry Potter: Know JK Rowling's 'Real' Magical World on her 53rd birthday

Published: 26th June 2017 02:59 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st July 2018 11:18 AM  

June 26, 1997: It's been 21 years since the first Harry Potter book appeared on the shelves. Its magic continues unabated, as newer generations keep falling in love with the tale of the boy wizard and his adventures. (Photo | AP)
June 26, 1997: It's been 21 years since the first Harry Potter book appeared on the shelves. Its magic continues unabated, as newer generations keep falling in love with the tale of the boy wizard and his adventures. (Photo | AP)
JOINT BIRTH DATES: The writer shares her birthday with none other than Harry Potter himself. July 31 is both J.K. Rowling and the boy wizard's birthday. (Photo | AP)
JOINT BIRTH DATES: The writer shares her birthday with none other than Harry Potter himself. July 31 is both J.K. Rowling and the boy wizard's birthday. (Photo | AP)
Coat of arms of Hogwarts. (Photo | Wikimedia Commons)
LOVE FOR LATIN: The Harry Potter books are generously peppered with Latin references. Who can forget Harry's wizarding school Hogwarts' Latin motto: Draco Dormiens Numquam Titillandus — 'Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon'. Remember the magic spells used? Crucio, or the Cruciatus Curse is one of the three unforgivable curses in Harry’s world, which inflicts unbearable pain upon its target.Cruciare means 'torment/torture' and is related to the English term 'crucifixion'. No surprises there. Rowling's BA in the Classics at the University of Exeter in South West England inspired these Classical choices. (Photo | Wikimedia Commons)
Dementors attacking the students' train in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. (Photo | YouTube)
D FOR DEMENTORS/ DEPRESSION: Rowling suffered a bout of depression after her mother died of multiple sclerosis in 1990. She would use the experience to characterize Dementors - dark creatures who feed on human hapiness and suck your souls out with their lethal kiss. “It's so difficult to describe [depression] to someone who's never been there, because it's not sadness,' Rowling told Oprah Winfrey. “I know sadness. Sadness is to cry and to feel. But it's that cold absence of feeling—that really hollowed-out feeling. That's what Dementors are.” (Photo | YouTube)
A Lilly (top) and pansies (bottom)
'FLOWER'Y LANGUAGE: A large number of Rowling's characters share their names with flowers. His mother and aunt – Lily and Petunia – are flowers of course, as does Narcissa Malfoy (narcissus). Then, there's Pansy Parkinson, Lavender Brown, Poppy Pomfrey and Beauxbatons visitor Fleur Delacour. Ooh, and 'Hogwarts' is the name of a lily Rowling spotted during a walk to Kew Gradens with a friend.
IT'S WRITTEN IN THE STARS: Joanne Rowling's fascination with astronomy is well-documented in the Black family tree.  Sirius – Harry's godfather – is the brightest star in the night sky, known as the dog star (Remember Sirus's animal form is a great black dog?), as it exists in the constellation Canis Major (the Great Dog).  Bellatrix (nee, Bellatrix Lestrange) is a star in the constellation Orion, while Regulus (the name of Sirius' brother) is the brightest star in the constellation Leo. There are also constellations called Draco (Harry's enemy), and Scorpius (the name of Draco's son). (Photo | Warner Bros.; Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP)
IT'S WRITTEN IN THE STARS: Joanne Rowling's fascination with astronomy is well-documented in the Black family tree. Sirius – Harry's godfather – is the brightest star in the night sky, known as the dog star (Remember Sirus's animal form is a great black dog?), as it exists in the constellation Canis Major (the Great Dog). Bellatrix (nee, Bellatrix Lestrange) is a star in the constellation Orion, while Regulus (the name of Sirius' brother) is the brightest star in the constellation Leo. There are also constellations called Draco (Harry's enemy), and Scorpius (the name of Draco's son). (Photo | Warner Bros.; Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP)
Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Photo | YouTube)
WE ALL KNOW A MOANING MYRTLE: Moaning Myrtle was the ghost of a young girl who sobbed buckets in the bathrooms of Harry's school. Rowling wrote on Pottermore that the whiny, bathroom-dwelling ghost was inspired by “the frequent presence of a crying girl in communal bathrooms, especially at the parties and discos of my youth. This does not seem to happen in male bathrooms, so I enjoyed placing Harry and Ron in such uncomfortable and unfamiliar territory...” (Photo | YouTube)
Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson in a still.  (Photo: Jaap Buitendijk, | AP)
GREEK MYTHS: Hermione Granger, Harry's best friend? Hermione was also the daughter of King Menelaus of Sparta and Helen of Troy. Harry's face has a Greek myth connection. Yes, the lightning bolt scar on his forehead is a symbol of Zeus, King of the Olympian Gods. (Photo: Jaap Buitendijk, | AP)
The actors who played the Weasley twins. (Photo | Warner Bros)
SIBLINGS IN FILM: Oliver and James Phelps – who played Fred and George Weasley – weren't the only siblings to appear in the Harry Potter films. Emma Thompson portrayed Professor Trelawney in The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Order of the Phoenix and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 but her sister Sophie Thompson also appeared in the films, playing Ministry of Magic employee Mafalda Hopkirk. (Photo | Warner Bros)
The Knight Bus is a purple triple-decker, specially modified AEC Regent III RT bus, used in the Harry Potter film series at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, UK. (Photo | Wikimedia Commons)
IT'S ALL IN THE FAMILY, BABY: Did you know that the driver and conductor of the Knight Bus are the author's grandparents? Ernie Rowling and Stanley Volant are the inspirations behind the characters Ernest Prang and Stanley Shunpike. (Photo | Wikimedia Commons)
Actor David Thewlis who played Remus Lupin. (Photo | JONATHAN SHORT/INVISION/AP
THANK YOU, A THOUSAND TIMES, J.K. ROWLING. From waiting for acceptance letters from Harry's wizarding school, sweating it out in queues outside bookstores at night time to lay hands on the copies, to having Harry Potter theme-based weddings, Potterheads (official name for Potter fans) are one crazy bunch! One can't blame them, though. The Harry Potter series, is in one word, life-changing. (Photo | AP)
Macbeth, the play. (Photo | Wikimedia Commons)
LITERARY GREATS: In an interview, when asked, 'What if [Voldemort] never heard the prophecy?', Rowling replied, 'It's the Macbeth idea...It is possibly my favourite Shakespeare play. And that's the question isn't it? If Macbeth hadn't met the witches, would he have killed Duncan? Would any of it have happened? Is it fated or did he make it happen? I believe he made it happen.' The prophecy in question is the one through which the central antagonist Lord Voldemort learns of his future nemesis' (Harry)birth. 'The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... ' (Photo | Wikimedia Commons)
London's bright red telephone booths. (Photo | Wikimedia Commons)
NUMBER GAME: Rowling can weave magic out of numbers, too. Quite literally. 62442 - the number When Mr Weasley punches in at an old-fashioned telephone box at the visitors' entrance to the Ministry of Magic, to gain admission ahead of Harry's trial. Type the number into yopur phone. What do you get? M-A-G-I-C. Sheer magic. (Photo | Wikimedia Commons)
THANK YOU, A THOUSAND TIMES, J.K. ROWLING.  From waiting for acceptance letters from Harry's wizarding school, sweating it out in queues outside bookstores at night time to lay hands on the copies, to having Harry Potter theme-based weddings, Potterheads (official name for Potter fans) are one crazy bunch! One can't blame them, though. The Harry Potter series, is in one word, life-changing. (Photo | AP)
THANK YOU, A THOUSAND TIMES, J.K. ROWLING. From waiting for acceptance letters from Harry's wizarding school, sweating it out in queues outside bookstores at night time to lay hands on the copies, to having Harry Potter theme-based weddings, Potterheads (official name for Potter fans) are one crazy bunch! One can't blame them, though. The Harry Potter series, is in one word, life-changing. (Photo | AP)
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