When I was in middle school, I thought I could be a writer. Stories of magical lands and non-magical heroes would wander through my head and I thought they were the greatest things ever. These ideas kept coming until one day, they stopped. My thoughts weren’t as magical as they once were, and I think that was just a part of growing up. Some people stop creating these fantasies, others don’t.
J.K. Rowling is one of those who never stopped. It amazes me that someone who had so much going against her, rose up and became one of the most respected people in the world. From a failed marriage, to single mother parenting, to living off of welfare, there was a lot of factors telling Rowling that it wasn’t possible. That she wouldn’t succeed.
In such a busy generation, silence is hard to come by. Silence without technology is even harder to find. On a four hour train delay, Rowling had just that. In these four hours, she came up with the idea that would capture the attention of an entire generation. It was an idea that would change not only her life, but hundreds of others.
In the city of Edinburgh, a city that I still find a little hard to fall in love with, J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series. Somewhere along the brown buildings and street signs, she found inspiration. At Greyfriars Bobby, there’s a small cemetery where she found the name Thomas Riddell. In the Elephant House, she found solace in cups of coffee that cost less than her heating bill. And at The Spoon, she found a quiet area where she could write and watch over her daughter.
All of the scenery, and all of Rowling’s life has been woven into these books. Her parent’s love, initiated at King’s Cross, inspired the happy place that meant the beginning of the trip to Hogwarts every year. The Edinburgh castle, which was visible from the top floor of the Elephant House, most likely inspired the idea of Hogwarts itself. Even her clinical depression found a place for itself as dementors throughout the series. J.K. took the very best and the very worst things from what she knew, and turned them into a legacy.