J.K. Rowling’s life is expressed in her most famous piece of art, Harry Potter. In specific, the friendship between Rowling and the characters in her novel is publicly and subtly mirrored in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in the characters and plots in the novel.
Rowling is the author of the world’s best-seller series, “Harry Potter,” an educational or development novel where every book in the series ends in much the same way; the fantasy of a hero facing danger, struggling with trials, and experiencing victories and setbacks, overcoming evil forces and reemerging victorious. Despite the fact that she does not usually recognize her life and her work as she writes, she states that she often has to review her work in order to make sense of the origin of the stories she has input in her work (Rowling, 2010).
In “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the characters, Harry, Ron and Hermione all portray a significant aspect of the life of Rowling in a manner both intended and unintended. It is these similarities that bring out the emotional dimension that would otherwise not be apparent to the reader. Rowling states that she lived a life similar to that of Hermione during her childhood. She further admits that she had to achieve her goals and also had to be right all the time. According to her “By eleven, she may have been a bit Hermioneish” (Colbert). Hermione is a non-pure blood Student at Hogwarts who is unaccustomed to the world of magic that is a common phenomenon to the other students whose parents are wizards and witches. For that reason, she compensates by focusing most of her energy in her studies, building her reputation for being a smart and knowledgeable girl who knew the answers to nearly every question a “know-it-all”. She indulges her bossy character on both Harry and Ron when they fail to finish their assignment, but also offers help. Her industrious nature and loyalty trait make her a likable feature. Rowling reveals a dimension to the character portrayed by Hermione by relating the positive and negative traits into the personality of Hermione.
Some of the similarities between Rowling’s life and her work of art may have been established deliberately. However, there are traces of links that may have been established by chance. For instance, Rowling talks about how her high school friend imparted a vital role in the creation of Ron as a character. On the other hand, covert connections may be observed between Rowling and Ron, as Ron grows up in a loving and stable family as did the author. Ron is also poor, an experience that Rowling underwent as a single mother. This is observed in Ron’s homemade sandwiches and the hand-me-down clothes that have an emotional impact on Rowling’s life. In addition, the relationship between Rowling and Sean and how it is imparted to the characters illuminate some of the elements in the plot of the novel. Despite the fact that they are great friends, there is an undercurrent of some affection observed between Hermione and Ron. If Hermione is a reflection of Rowling and Ron a reflection of Sean, perhaps the affection for her friend may have had a role in influencing her decision to merge the two characters on the basis of her own experience and that of Sean. Although Harry embodies the ideologies of a classless and virtuous society, his ideal society can never exist. Human nature has and will always deny the emergence of a perfect society (Hand).
The resemblance portrayed between Rowling and her characters may be the major depiction for the emotional accuracy in the novel, particularly in some aspects of the novel that are concerned with death. Rowling and Harry both share the experience of losing their beloved parents. Rowling’s mother passed away as she was working on her initial Harry Potter novel. According to her, this loss is reflected in the Mirror of Erised; the mirror that reveals the deepest desire of the viewer. Harry sees himself in the mirror, surrounded by his parents and relatives, all of who died (Rowling, 1998). Rowling explains how she would have seen what Harry saw were it her before the mirror. She never disclosed to her mother about her work of art Harry Potter, and the Mirror of Erised is a clear reflection of her regret. Rowling’s intention was for the mirror to symbolize her desire for her mother as it shows Harry’s character longing for his family. Similarly, gazing in the mirror, gives Harry a glimpse of how his life would have been had his parents been alive. Here, Rowling conveys the sense of wonder as a theme in the entire series of her work.
Since Rowling has intertwined some of her personal experiences, such as her struggles, anxieties and desires in her characters, the characters bring out a three-dimensional view. The world of Harry may not be real; conventionally speaking; but the experiences portrayed by the characters are true. Rowling’s work ignites the reader’s imagination such that the reader might face life in a creative manner.
Characterization is the most approached feature highlighted in the reviews as the most successful in her work. According to critics, what stands out in her work is Rowling’s ability to establish engaging characters, a factor still strong in Rowling’s post-Potter success (Hand). The magic of the story telling feature in Harry Potter resides in the innovative and creative use of the deeply embedded story telling motifs originating from her person experiences and her past life. Her ability to bring out a humane depiction in a fictitious world is indeed a unique combination of an enigmatic world and the real world to create and original and artistic creation.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. First American edition. New York: Scholastic, 1998.
“Rowling, J.K.” Biography Reference Bank (Bio Ref Bank) (2010): Biography Reference Bank (H.W. Wilson). Web. 09 Apr. 2017
Colbert, David. The magical worlds of Harry Potter: A treasury of myths, legends, and fascinating facts. Penguin, 2008.
Hand, Elizabeth. “Harry’s Final Fantasy: Last Time’s a Charm.” The Washington Post 22 (2007). Web. 08 Apr. 2017