J.K. Rowling turns 50 this week, and to celebrate we’ve assembled a list of the 50 things we appreciate most about the Harry Potter author and literary queen of Twitter.
1. She does not suffer bullies.
3) She’s filling in the Potter story on Pottermore.
4) She gives huge donations to charity (so much that it knocked her off Forbes‘ billionaires list).
6) Her Easter egg-loaded website, JKRowling.com is amazing. Laid out like the Marauder’s Map, it features a timeline of Rowling’s projects as well as personal background.
7) She’s kind to her fans, and always seems ready to answer their questions, no matter how random or specific.
8) She admits she made mistakes in the books!
9) She comes up with the best character names ever. Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, anyone?
10) She stood up to publishers and retained her own ebook rights.
11) She has a weakness for photos of pets dressed up as Harry Potter characters.
12) She took all the young actors from the movies under her wing.
13) She cares about children in need. In 2004, she founded the organization Lumos, to help children who have been unfairly institutionalized get better care.
14) She and Harry share a birth date. Harry, for his part, would be 35 today.
15) She did her research when coming up with the names of spells (she looked at alchemy, the history of languages, etc.)
16) She did the same thing when figuring out how wands would work and studied the lore behind different woods.
17) She supports Hufflepuffs and has written on Pottermore that she thinks they’re the best.
18) She has wicked fashion sense.
19) She invented Quidditch and supports the Muggle version of the sport!
20) She’s a great artist. Although all the editions of Harry Potter have used other illustrators, Rowling’s not bad at sketching her own characters. Recently, an annotated version of Sorcerer’s Stone with Rowling’s sketches was auctioned for charity.
21) She finished the first Harry Potter on a manual typewriter.
22. She pushed for all the film actors to be British.
23) She writes under a pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, and sometimes tweets at him.
24) She’s invited die-hard fans to her house.
25) She’s not afraid to make her stories dark. (Dobby’s death still makes us cry.)
26) She never talks down to her readers.
27) She proved anyone can take control of their life. At one time, Rowling has said, she was “literally as poor as you can get in Britain without being homeless.” Thanks to work ethic and imagination, she went on to become a celebrated author.
28) She wrote much of the first Harry Potter while sitting in coffee shops, on the backs of napkins.
29) She said the forthcoming play, The Cursed Child, should be considered part of the Harry Potter canon even though she’s not writing it.
30) She’s completely mastered Twitter, and for someone who very rarely makes public appearances, she makes herself accessible to her followers.
31) She built a circular stone called “Hagrid hut” on the grounds of her Scottish estate.
32) After the final Harry Potter book was finished, she created six hand-written, hand-illustrated copies of The Tales of Beedle the Bard to give to the people most closely involved in the series. (A seventh handmade copy was auctioned for charity.)
33) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages were both published to aid Comic Relief, and raised millions.
34) She hasn’t read 50 Shades of Grey.
35) She’s not-so-secretly addicted to reading whodunits.
36) She once gave the best commencement speech we’ve ever heard.
38) She says that she’d want to be sorted into Gryffindor (and specifically answered Pottermore questions so she’d be sorted that way).
39) She said in a parallel universe, she’s Zayn Malik.
40) She plays Minecraft — with monsters on.
41) She is a huge sports fan, specifically tennis (we know she loves Serena Williams) and especially rugby.
42) She knows Portuguese and has a degree in French.
43) She’s only gotten writer’s block once.
45) She wrote four editions of The Daily Prophet, which were printed and distributed by Bloomsbury to the Harry Potter Fan Club.
46) She owns a “Horcruxes Got Soul” t-shirt
47) This quote to a Twitter fan: “True coolness is the incidental by-product of higher pursuits.”
48) The 30-foot hedges around her Edinburgh house cause traffic jams when it’s trimming time.
49) She’s fighting to save the BBC.
50) She made Hogwarts tuition-free and subsidized by the Ministry of Magic so all witches and wizards could attend. Imagine if the Weasleys hadn’t been able to afford it!