J.K. Rowling Best Quotes

J.K. Rowling is known for some great quotable lines written in her Harry Potter books. She is also famous for her Harvard Commencement speech titled “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination.”

J.K. Rowling has had great success as an author, owing mostly to her Harry Potter books which are a worldwide phenomenon. These books have been considered by many as containing very strong lessons for children on humanity and morality. Naturally, these books contain a wide variety of strong and significant quotes, many of which are crucial to understanding these books.

However, J.K. Rowling herself, outside her stint as an author is considered quite a witty speaker and several of her quotes from interviews and commencement speeches like the one in Harvard have gone on to gain importance. Here are a few of the quotes by Rowling that are not from her books.

J.K. Rowling Best Quotes


Failure

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.

This quote was delivered by Rowling in her Harvard commencement speech when she was invited to address the graduates in 2008. The two main themes of her speech were the advantages of experiencing failure and the essential nature of developing imagination.

J.K. Rowling’s story of perseverance and dedication is perhaps equally famous as her Harry Potter books. Being a single divorced mother in her late twenties left a significant toll on her but she didn’t give up and continued her work on the Harry Potter books.

In this quote, and by extension her speech, Rowling makes a strong point about the nature of failure. She lays out two trajectories a person can choose in life – one that involves cowering from fear of failure and doing nothing, or accepting that failure is bound to come by nevertheless, and facing it, maybe even learning from it. The former, she suggests, is by default an act of complete failure as nothing is achieved. The latter, Au contraire, is a beautiful mixture of failure and success, something we can be proud of.

Relationship Between a Book and its Reader

Books are like mirrors: if a fool looks in, you cannot expect a genius to look out.

Rowling is considered quite a gifted writer, especially in some elements of writing like world-building and storytelling. This observation made by her has strong implications about what makes a reader like a book so much. As she says, every book has its purpose, something its writer tends to capture through their art and craft of writing.

Some books may even have greater literary merits for some specific reasons. However, the reader has to have the ability to capture the significance of a book in order to really appreciate it. Otherwise, the reader is just seeking something that isn’t there – a connection between them and the book, something that fails to exist because the reader fails to see why the book is significant.

If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.

This is another quote by J.K. Rowling that sheds light on the complicated nature of the relationship between a book and a reader. She addresses people who say they do not like reading books and suggests to them that it may not be a problem of literature itself but that they haven’t found the right book.

While this statement does have an ‘absolute’ undertone to it that suggests every person must be able to appreciate reading, it is still a strong and significant quote. Literature being delivered through language is supposed to appeal to everyone who uses the language of some form. Therefore, it is a fair argument to suggest that if someone hasn’t found reading an interesting activity, it might be mostly because they haven’t found the right book yet.

Magic, Imagination and Literature

We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.

This quote by J.K. Rowling about magic is significant on many levels. Firstly, it is a direct allusion to her Harry Potter books and the metaphors it uses to portray the real world. For instance, her usage of the word ‘muggle’ to refer to people who aren’t magical and using the Dursleys as prime examples of muggles all allude to one deep reality. If her books were applied to the real world, the muggles would be a metaphor for people who do not value imagination and the potential of creativity, but instead, follow norms and criticize everything they do not understand.

Rowling suggests that magic when applied to the real world, is a metaphor for our innate abilities, aspirations, and potential to do great things – all of which reside within us. If we choose to act on our beliefs and instincts, we can change the world into a better place, without having to resort to shouting out incantations or waving wands.

I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.

This quote by Rowling is a direct reference to how she considers the act of reading a magical experience. Being an avid reader herself since a very early age, Rowling values literature very highly and this quote serves as a testament to her love for literature.

J.K. Rowling is known throughout the world as a writer who ushered the concept of magic to the 21st century with her own style. Magic as portrayed in the Harry Potter books although inspired has its own charm and feels very new and different from other literary portrayals of magic. However, she admits that she doesn’t believe in the kind of magic that her books have and that they are written as a work of fiction and fantasy. Instead, she thinks that a good book, including the Harry Potter series, could incite a very magical response in the minds of readers.

This is a reference to how much a good book can inspire and motivate us to do things we’ve had the flair for, but never thought of doing. Books are narratives, referring to people or themes that surround observations by writers who are also people. In this large world, where we can all relate to each other on some level, reading a book can guide us to transcend us into ‘places’ we never considered going to. Such is the magic of literature.

FAQs

What is an inspirational quote from J.K. Rowling?

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget how to live” is a famous inspirational quote from J.K. Rowling’s book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It is considered a very famous quote as it inspires people to try achieving their dreams instead of just dreaming without taking any action.

Did J.K. Rowling attend Harvard University?

No, J.K. Rowling did not attend Harvard University. She got her Bachelor’s Degree from Exeter University. However, she got an honorary degree from Harvard University when she was a commencement speaker for the batch of 2008 in Harvard. She gave an inspiring speech on how to face difficulties and embrace failure.

Who is J.K. Rowling’s favorite author?

Jane Austen is considered J.K. Rowling’s favorite author. J.K. Rowling has been influenced by several authors and their works, but she has always cited Jane Austen as her most important inspiration. She considers Jane Austen’s famous book Emma as her favorite book. Other authors Rowling likes include Jessica Mitford, C S Lewis, and Louisa Mary Alcott.

About Mohandas Alva
Mohandas graduated with a Master's degree in English literature. He is very passionate about deciphering the nature of language and its role as a sole medium of storytelling in literature. His interests sometimes digress from literature to philosophy and the sciences but eventually, the art and craft of narrating a significant story never fail to thrill him.
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