July 31 is celebrated author J.K. Rowling's birthday. Best known for creating the magical world of Harry Potter, the author's books and the films have inspired generations of Witches, Wizards, and Muggles alike. She coincidentally shares her birthday with Harry Potter himself, who, according to Rowling, turned 38 today. What better way to honor the ways her books and characters have changed the world, than with some J.K. Rowling quotes to celebrate the author's birthday.
No matter how many times I read the Harry Potter series, I always seem to find some new or magical words of wisdom in the books' pages. From the moment that Harry Potter received his Hogwart's letter on July 31 in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, to the final battle between good and evil, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, the films, and fandom that followed have inspired generations of kids (and adults) to find more magic in the world.
Growing up alongside Harry, millions of people have learned to be themselves, break some rules, and discover their destinies in the process. Whether you are a brave Gryffindor, a humble Hufflepuff, a smart Ravenclaw, a sneaky Slytherin, or have no idea what these words mean, you can gain wisdom from the genius that is J.K. Rowling, as well as the characters she created. Here are a few inspiring quotes from her books and speeches to help you celebrate her on her birthday:
"If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book." — J.K. Rowling
Books not only teach us about the world (and even make-believe worlds), but can teach us about ourselves. If you ask me a good place to start is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Rowling's books inspired a generation of kids to read and, well, how amazing is that?
"What's comin' will come, and we'll meet it when it does." — Rubeus Hagrid
You can't cross bridges until you get to them, so there's no point wasting time and energy worrying about what may or may not happen when you finally face that particular bridge. Instead, as Rubeus Hagrid advises in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, try not to worry and, instead, wait and see what happens.
"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times..." — Albus Dumbledore
The world can be dark sometimes. Sure, us Muggles probably aren't being pursued by "he who shall not be named" and his team of death-eaters, but the world is dark nonetheless. Through Professor Albus Dumbledore, in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Rowling inspires us to always look for the light and find a bit of happiness, even when life gets hard.
“From now on, I don't care if my tea leaves spell 'Die, Ron, Die,' I'm chucking them in the bin where they belong.” — Ron Weasley
While Ron Weasley is often seen as a sidekick, I actually think Rowling used his bumbling antics and sarcasm to teach us some pretty inspiring lessons about life and friendship. Like this gem from Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, with which she tells us to make our own futures and chuck anything that says otherwise in the bin.
"If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals." — Sirius Black
When I first read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire it struck me how simple concepts like kindness and classism can be to explain to kids. In the end, they're not that difficult to define. In more ways than one Rowling inspires us to be better to one another, even if it's just saying thank you or tipping your server well.
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." — Albus Dumbledore
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore once again teaches Harry (and all of us), a lesson in ethics and being our best. We may, in fact, not be able to do everything we want in life, but we can make good choices about what kind of person to be and despite any limitations.
"Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself." — Hermione Granger
If you ask me, Rowling's most badass character is Hermione Granger, who constantly teaches us that who you are is not defined by where you come from. Perhaps her best lesson, however, is the need to get over your fear.
"You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity." — J.K. Rowling
Rowling knows a ton about success, and has experienced more than her fair share of failure along the way. In her Harvard commencement address, Rowling tells us how you can learn about yourself from the hard times. In fact, it is in your struggles that you learn way more than you learn during your "easy" times.
"Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery." — Albus Dumbledore
Always the philosopher and trusted adviser, Albus Dumbledore reminds us to seek to understand others. Acceptance is impossible when you fear or hate someone (which are pretty much two sides of the same coin).
"Working hard is important. But there is something that matters even more, believing in yourself." — Harry Potter
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter himself reminds us that while hard work is important, you need to keep believing in yourself and that you can do it.
"We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” — J.K. Rowling
In her Harvard commencement speech, Rowling tells us to imagine a better future. Whether you are a wizard, a witch, or merely a Muggle, you have power to help make the world a better place. No magic necessary.