Harry Potter novels

by J. K. Rowling

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Student Question

How did J.K. Rowling conceive the idea for the Harry Potter books?

Expert Answers

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According to Bloomsbury, J.K. Rowling came up with the idea for Harry Pottery when she was delayed during travel.

In 1990, J.K. Rowling was traveling by train from Manchester to King's Cross after looking for a new place to live with the person she was dating then. The trip was delayed and during that time, she thought of the idea for Harry Potter. Rowling says:

I took the train back to London on my own and the idea for Harry Potter fell into my head. . . . Coincidentally, I didn't have a pen and was too shy to ask anyone for one on the train, which frustrated me at the time, but when I look back it was the best thing for me. It gave me the full four hours on the train to think up all the ideas for the book.

According to Newsweek, Rowling completed the first Harry Potter manuscript in 1995. It was published two years later. The last book in the main series was published in 2007.

According to Biography, Rowling's book was green-lighted by Bloomsbury because the daughter of the chairman of the publishing house read the first chapter. She liked it so much, she wanted more. They go on to say that her editor at the time told her it was "impossible to make a living writing children's books." Rowling also says parts of her life inspired the tone of the story and that the death of her mother inspired parts of Harry's character and made the series darker.

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