Hospitals & Asylums    






Quidditch for Muggles HA-7-7-7


Every author hopes to copyright a work on July 7, 2007, this 7-7-7 the topic is Harry Potter.  The success of the Harry Potter novels has made JK Rowling the highest earning novelist in literary history.  Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels by English author J. K. Rowling.  The seventh and last book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is scheduled to be released on 21 July 2007.  The first four books have already  been made into highly successful motion pictures by Warner Bros. The fifth, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, began filming in February 2006, and is scheduled for release on 11 July 2007.  The next two weeks of July will be exciting for Harry Potter fans, a new movie on the 11th and the final book on the 21st .


In December 2005, Rowling stated on her web site,

"2006 will be the year when I write the final book in the Harry Potter series."


The book itself had been finished on January 11, 2007 in the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh, where she scrawled a message on the back of a bust of Hermes. It read:

JK Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room (652) on 11 January 2007.”


In her Update of 6 February 2007 she expained,


“The 21st July publication date, for the Deathly Hallows has given me enough time to write the book I wanted to write, and for the manuscript to be properly edited.  These are the most important things to me.  An earlier date, eg 7/7/07 – would have meant that either the writing or the editing was rushed, and neither my publisher nor I wanted that.”


Regarding the existence of Harry Potter novels beyond the seventh, Rowling has said she, “might write another book some day but it will not continue the life of Harry Potter and his friends.  Any future Harry Potter books would also be written for charity”.


Rowling says,


 My books are largely about death. They open with the death of Harry's parents. There is Voldemort's obsession with conquering death and his quest for immortality at any price”.  Along the same lines is the ever-present theme of adolescence. 


The most notable trend attributed to Harry Potter has been an increase in literacy among the young. Anecdotal evidence suggesting such an increase was seemingly confirmed in 2006 when the Kids and Family Reading Report (in conjunction with Scholastic) released a survey finding that 51% of Harry Potter readers ages 5-17 said that while they did not read books for fun before they started reading Harry Potter, they now did. The study further reported that according to 65% of children and 76% of parents, they or their children's performance in school improved since they started reading the series.  


Charlie Griffiths, director of the National Literacy Association, said


"Anyone who can persuade children to read should be treasured and what Rowling has given us in Harry Potter is little short of miraculous."  


British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a long time fan, said,

"I think JK Rowling has done more for literacy around the world than any single human being." 


In 2005, doctors at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford reported that their research of the weekends of Saturday 21 June 2003 and Saturday 16 July 2005, the dates of the two most recent book releases of the series, found that only 36 children needed emergency medical assistance for injuries sustained in accidents, as opposed to other weekends' average of 67.


The Harry Potter story is mostly set at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a school for young wizards, and focuses on Harry Potter's fight against the evil wizard Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry's parents as part of his plan to take over the wizarding world but when he attempted to kill Harry, the Avada Kedavra, killing curse rebounded upon him, and Voldemort was destroyed.  The orphaned Harry is subsequently raised by his cruel, non-magical relatives, the Dursleys, who give him severe punishments after any strange occurrences.  As his eleventh birthday approaches, Harry has his first contact with the magical world when he receives letters from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which are delivered by owls. On his eleventh birthday Harry is informed by Hagrid, the gamekeeper of Hogwarts, that he is in fact a wizard and has been invited to attend the school. Each book chronicles one year in Harry's life, which is mostly spent at Hogwarts, where he learns to use magic.


The novels are very much in the fantasy genre; however, in many respects they are also a, a novel of education, set in Hogwarts, a British boarding school for wizards, where the curriculum includes the use of magic.  The books tend to follow a very strict formula. Set over the course of consecutive years, they each begin with Harry at home with the Dursleys in the Muggle world, enduring their ill-treatment. Subsequently, Harry goes to a specific magical location (Diagon Alley, the Weasleys’ residence or Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place) for a period before beginning school, which he commences by boarding the school train at Platform 9 ¾ . Once at school, new or redefined characters take shape, and Harry overcomes new everyday school issues, such as difficult essays, awkward crushes, and unsympathetic teachers. The stories reach their climax near or just after final exams, when Harry confronts either Voldemort or one of his Death Eaters. In the aftermath, he learns important lessons through exposition and discussions with Albus Dumbledore.


Hogwarts is divided into four separate houses, named after the four Hogwarts founders, and students are sorted into their respective houses at the start of their first year. They are Gryffindor, named after Godric Gryffindor, which favours courage; Ravenclaw, named after Rowena Ravenclaw, which favours cleverness; Hufflepuff, named after Helga Hufflepuff, which favours fairness and loyalty; and Slytherin, named after Salazar Slytherin, which favours ambition and Blood Purity. Upon arrival, Harry, along with his friend Ron, and Hermione, who would later be their friend, are sorted into Gryffindor.  A spectator sport in the Wizard world, played up in the air on brooms, Quidditch is similar in style to polo and association football. Harry is a great player at Hogwarts and has helped Gryffindor win a number of games. Harry is the Seeker for his team whose role is to try to find and catch the Golden Snitch.


Wizard ability is inborn, rather than learned, although one must attend schools such as Hogwarts in order to master and control it.  The non-magical population are known as "Muggles".  Wizards in general tend to view Muggles with a combination of condescension and suspicion; however, for a few, this attitude has evolved into bigotry. These characters tend to class those around them based on the number of magical ancestors they had, with "pure-blood" wizards (those with an entirely-magical bloodline) at the top of the hierarchy, "half-blood" wizards in the middle (those with both wizard and Muggle ancestry), and "Muggle-borns" (those with no magical ancestors) at the very bottom.


In 1995, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was completed and the manuscript was sent off to prospective agents. At that time Joanne Rowlings was a welfare mother, whose best job had been for Amnesty International.  The second agent she tried, Christopher Little, offered to represent her and sent the manuscript to Bloomsbury. After eight other publishers had rejected Philosopher's Stone, Bloomsbury offered Rowling a £3,000 advance for its publication.  On the eve of publishing, Joanne Rowling was asked by her publishers to adopt a more gender-neutral pen name, in order to appeal to the male members of this age group, fearing that they would not be interested in reading a novel they knew to be written by a woman. She elected to use J. K. Rowling (Joanne Kathleen Rowling), using her grandmother's name as her second name, because she has no middle name.


The first Harry Potter book was published in the United Kingdom by Bloomsbury in July 1997 and in the United States by Scholastic in September of 1998, but not before Rowling had received $105,000 for the American rights - an unprecedented amount for a children's book by an unknown author.  Fearing that American readers would either not understand the word "philosopher" or not associate it with a magical theme (as a Philosopher's Stone is alchemy-related), Scholastic insisted that the book be given the title, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the American market.  Publishers announced a record-breaking 12 million copies for the first print run in the U.S. alone.


Since the release of the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States) in 1997, the books have gained immense popularity, critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide, spawning films, video games and assorted merchandise. The six books published to date have collectively sold more than 325 million copies and have been translated into more than 63 languages.   Film adaptations produced by Warner Bros., have been successful.  The first, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, ranks number four on the list of all-time highest grossing films and the other three Harry Potter films each ranking in the top 20.  There are currently three more Harry Potter films yet to be released. The sixth film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is due to be released in November 2008.  The films have spawned five video games and the licensing of over 400 additional Harry Potter products.  As of July 2005, made the Harry Potter brand worth an estimated 4 billion dollars and J.K. Rowling a US dollar billionaire. 


A massive following of fans has developed.  Nine million of the 10.8 million initial print copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince sold in the first 24 hours.  J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series have been the recipients of a host of awards since the initial publication of Philosopher's Stone including four Whitaker Platinum Book Awards (all of which were awarded in 2001), three Nestlé Smarties Book Prizes (1997-1999), two Scottish Arts Council Book Awards (1999 and 2001), the inaugural Whitbread children's book of the year award, (1999), the WHSmith book of the year (2006), among others. In 2000 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was nominated for Best Novel in the Hugo Awards while in 2001 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire won said award. Honours include a commendation for the Carnegie Medal (1997), a shortlisting for the Guardian Children's Award (1998), and numerous listings on the notable books, editors' Choices, and best books lists of the American Library Association, New York Times, Chicago Public Library, and Publishers Weekly.  In 2003 the word “muggle” that means non magical people in Harry Potter stories entered the Oxford English Dictionary, to indicate those who are not in the know or are lacking in some skill.


Not to turn her back upon the young people who made her rich and continue making a positive impact on children’s lives Joanne Rowlings co-founded Children’s High Level Group (CHLG) with Baroness Emma Nicholson.  The Children’s Voice Campaign aims to stamp out cruelty, neglect and abuse of young people and to make life better for young people in care across Eastern Europe and ultimately across the whole world.  Their major initiative is a Community Action voluntary certificate education course in Romanian High Schools that has led 38,000 school children to work with 42,000 children with special needs.  They also judge an Edelweiss competition for children in placement centers in Romania.  Green Line is a call center that supports hundreds of thousands of calls from children in need every year and also has an internet site.  CHLG is also funding the training and employment of community nurses to reduce child mortality and abandonment.


JK Rowling has had a stunning career as the author of the Harry Potter novels.  She has sold more than 325 million Harry Potter books that have been translated into 63 languages, including Ancient Greek.  She has earned over $1 billion US in royalties for herself and sold over $4 billion in Harry Potter products.  Although she may be retiring from Harry Potter the cult following of the books is likely to be as long lasting and as culturally significant as JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, CS Lewis Narnia series and Star Trek.  Rowling has made a lasting contribution to literature and to the lives of young people around the world.  She is an inspiration to writers everywhere.


Books by J.K. Rowlings:


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.  London: Bloomsbury. UK ISBN 0747532699/US ISBN 0590353403. 1997

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. London: Bloomsbury. UK ISBN 0747538492/US ISBN 0439064864. 1998

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. London: Bloomsbury. UK ISBN 0747542155/US ISBN 0439136350. 1999

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. London: Bloomsbury. UK ISBN 074754624X/US ISBN 0439139597. 2000

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. London: Bloomsbury. UK ISBN 0747551006/US ISBN 043935806X. 2003

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. London: Bloomsbury UK ISBN 0747581088/US ISBN 0439784549. 2005

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. London: Bloomsbury. UK ISBN 1551929767/US ISBN 0545010225. 2007