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Facts

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

When J. K. Rowling was little, she lived on a street in Winterbourne (on the outskirts of Bristol in western England) where there was a family by the name of "Potter" who had both a little boy and a little girl. She liked that name from the start and felt it was way cooler than her last name. Upon learning of the publication and success of the Harry Potter series, the little Potter boy (all grown up) claimed that he was the inspiration for the world-famous, fictional wizard. Rowling says this claim isn't true and that, "all I remember of the boy in question was that he rode a 'Chopper,' which was the bicycle that everybody wanted in the seventies, and once threw a stone at Di [Rowling's little sister], for which I hit him hard over the head with a plastic sword." (Source)

Rowling's mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when Rowling was fifteen years old. (Source)

After graduating from the University of Exeter in the south coast of England, Rowling worked for Amnesty International in London. (Source)

The idea for the Harry Potter series came to Rowling on a crowded train in 1990, after she had spent a day looking for apartments in Manchester, England: "I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six, but I had never been so excited about an idea before. To my immense frustration, I didn't have a functioning pen with me, and I was too shy to ask anybody if I could borrow one. I think, now, that this was probably a good thing, because I simply sat and thought for four (delayed) train hours, and all the details bubbled up in my brain, and this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who didn't know he was a wizard became more and more real to me. I think that perhaps if I had had to slow down the ideas so that I could capture them on paper I might have stifled some of them (although sometimes I do wonder, idly, how much of what I imagined on that journey I had forgotten by the time I actually got my hands on a pen)." (Source)

Rowling got a job teaching English at a language institute in Portugal in 1991. While there, she worked feverishly on finishing her first manuscript of Harry Potter and she gave birth to her daughter, Jessica. (Source)

Rowling: "I have often said that Hermione is a bit like me when I was younger. I think I was seen by people as a right little know-it-all, but I hope that it is clear that underneath Hermione's swottiness there is a lot of insecurity and a great fear of failure." (Source)

Rowling: "Although I never meant him to be like Sean, once I got Ron onto the page, he often behaved like my oldest friend, who is both very funny and deeply loyal. However, there are also substantial differences between Ron and Sean. I have only once set out to faithfully depict a real human being […] everywhere else, though, I might have borrowed the occasional real person's characteristic, they are at least 90% imaginary." (Source)

"Ginny (full name Ginevra, not Virginia) is the first girl to be born into the Weasley clan for several generations." (Source)

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