About the Author
The author of the celebrated Harry Potter series, J. K. Rowling is one of the world's most successful authors. Her books have created a fantastic world — filled with wizards and muggles — that has completely revitalized a love of reading in both kids and adults. In addition to books, the Harry Potter series includes the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which debuted on the London stage to a sold-out audience. Rowling has also published the novel A Casual Vacancy and several books in the Cormoran Strike series under the pen name Robert Galbraith.
Date of Birth:July 31, 1965
Place of Birth:Chipping Sodbury near Bristol, England
Read an Excerpt
"Up! Get up! Now!"
Harry woke with a start. His aunt rapped on the door again.
"Up!" she screeched. Harry heard her walking toward the kitchen and then the sound of the frying pan being put on the stove. He rolled onto his back and tried to remember the dream he had been having. It had been a good one. There had been a flying motorcycle in it. He had a funny feeling he'd had the same dream before.
His aunt was back outside the door.
"Are you up yet?" she demanded.
"Nearly," said Harry.
"Well, get a move on, I want you to look after the bacon. And don't you dare let it burn, I want everything perfect on Duddy's birthday."
"What did you say?" his aunt snapped through the door.
"Nothing, nothing . . ."
Dudley's birthday - how could he have forgotten? Harry got slowly out of bed and started looking for socks. He found a pair under his bed and, after pulling a spider off one of them, put them on. Harry was used to spiders, because the cupboard under the stairs was full of them, and that was where he slept.
When he was dressed he went down the hall into the kitchen. The table was almost hidden beneath all Dudley's birthday presents. It looked as though Dudley had gotten the new computer he wanted, not to mention the second television and the racing bike. Exactly why Dudley wanted a racing bike was a mystery to Harry, as Dudley was very fat and hated exercise - unless of course it involved punching somebody. Dudley's favorite punching bag was Harry, but he couldn't often catch him. Harry didn't look it, but he was very fast.
Perhaps it had something to do with living in a dark cupboard, but Harry had always been small and skinny for his age. He looked even smaller and skinnier than he really was because all he had to wear were old clothes of Dudley's, and Dudley was about four times bigger than he was. Harry had a thin face, knobbly knees, black hair, and bright green eyes. He wore round glasses held together with a lot of Scotch tape because of all the times Dudley had punched him on the nose. The only thing Harry liked about his own appearance was a very thin scar on his forehead that was shaped like a bolt of lightning. He had had it as long as he could remember, and the first question he could ever remember asking his Aunt Petunia was how he had gotten it.
"In the car crash when your parents died," she had said. "And don't ask questions."
Don't ask questions - that was the first rule for a quiet life with the Dursleys.
Uncle Vernon entered the kitchen as Harry was turning over the bacon.
"Comb your hair!" he barked, by way of a morning greeting.
About once a week, Uncle Vernon looked over the top of his newspaper and shouted that Harry needed a haircut. Harry must have had more haircuts than the rest of the boys in his class put together, but it made no difference, his hair simply grew that way - all over the place.
Harry was frying eggs by the time Dudley arrived in the kitchen with his mother. Dudley looked a lot like Uncle Vernon. He had a large pink face, not much neck, small, watery blue eyes, and thick blond hair that lay smoothly on his thick, fat head. Aunt Petunia often said that Dudley looked like a baby angel - Harry often said that Dudley looked like a pig in a wig.
Harry put the plates of egg and bacon on the table, which was difficult as there wasn't much room. Dudley, meanwhile, was counting his presents. His face fell.
"Thirty-six," he said, looking up at his mother and father. "That's two less than last year."
"Darling, you haven't counted Auntie Marge's present, see, it's here under this big one from Mommy and Daddy."
"All right, thirty-seven then," said Dudley, going red in the face. Harry, who could see a huge Dudley tantrum coming on, began wolfing down his bacon as fast as possible in case Dudley turned the table over.
Aunt Petunia obviously scented danger, too, because she said quickly, "And we'll buy you another two presents while we're out today. How's that, popkin? Two more presents. Is that all right?"
Dudley thought for a moment. It looked like hard work. Finally he said slowly, "So I'll have thirty . . . thirty . . ."
"Thirty-nine, sweetums," said Aunt Petunia.
"Oh." Dudley sat down heavily and grabbed the nearest parcel. "All right then."
Uncle Vernon chuckled.
"Little tyke wants his money's worth, just like his father. 'Atta boy, Dudley!" He ruffled Dudley's hair.
At that moment the telephone rang and Aunt Petunia went to answer it while Harry and Uncle Vernon watched Dudley unwrap the racing bike, a video camera, a remote control airplane, sixteen new computer games, and a VCR. He was ripping the paper off a gold wristwatch when Aunt Petunia came back from the telephone looking both angry and worried.
"Bad news, Vernon," she said. "Mrs. Figg's broken her leg. She can't take him." She jerked her head in Harry's direction.
Dudley's mouth fell open in horror, but Harry's heart gave a leap. Every year on Dudley's birthday, his parents took him and a friend out for the day, to adventure parks, hamburger restaurants, or the movies. Every year, Harry was left behind with Mrs. Figg, a mad old lady who lived two streets away. Harry hated it there. The whole house smelled of cabbage and Mrs. Figg made him look at photographs of all the cats she'd ever owned.
"Now what?" said Aunt Petunia, looking furiously at Harry as though he'd planned this. Harry knew he ought to feel sorry that Mrs. Figg had broken her leg, but it wasn't easy when he reminded himself it would be a whole year before he had to look at Tibbles, Snowy, Mr. Paws, and Tufty again.
"We could phone Marge," Uncle Vernon suggested.
"Don't be silly, Vernon, she hates the boy."
The Dursleys often spoke about Harry like this, as though he wasn't there - or rather, as though he was something very nasty that couldn't understand them, like a slug.
"What about what's-her-name, your friend - Yvonne?"
"On vacation in Majorca," snapped Aunt Petunia.
"You could just leave me here," Harry put in hopefully (he'd be able to watch what he wanted on television for a change and maybe even have a go on Dudley's computer).
Aunt Petunia looked as though she'd just swallowed a lemon.
"And come back and find the house in ruins?" she snarled.
"I won't blow up the house," said Harry, but they weren't listening.
"I suppose we could take him to the zoo," said Aunt Petunia slowly, ". . . and leave him in the car. . . ."
"That car's new, he's not sitting in it alone. . . ."
Dudley began to cry loudly. In fact, he wasn't really crying - it had been years since he'd really cried - but he knew that if he screwed up his face and wailed, his mother would give him anything he wanted.
"Dinky Duddydums, don't cry, Mummy won't let him spoil your special day!" she cried, flinging her arms around him.
"I . . . don't . . . want . . . him . . . t-t-to come!" Dudley yelled between huge, pretend sobs. "He always sp-spoils everything!" He shot Harry a nasty grin through the gap in his mother's arms.
October arrived, spreading a damp chill over the grounds and into the castle. Madam Pomfrey, the nurse, was kept busy by a sudden spate of colds among the staff and students. Her Pepperup potion worked instantly, though it left the drinker smoking at the ears for several hours afterward. Ginny Weasley, who had been looking pale, was bullied into taking some by Percy. The steam pouring from under her vivid hair gave the impression that her whole head was on fire.
Raindrops the size of bullets thundered on the castle windows for days on end; the lake rose, the flower beds turned into muddy streams, and Hagrid's pumpkins swelled to the size of garden sheds. Oliver Wood's enthusiasm for regular training sessions, however, was not dampened, which was why Harry was to be found, late one stormy Saturday afternoon a few days before Halloween, returning to Gryffindor Tower, drenched to the skin and splattered with mud.
Even aside from the rain and wind it hadn't been a happy practice session. Fred and George, who had been spying on the Slytherin team, had seen for themselves the speed of those new Nimbus Two Thousand and Ones. They reported that the Slytherin team was no more than seven greenish blurs, shooting through the air like missiles.
As Harry squelched along the deserted corridor he came across somebody who looked just as preoccupied as he was. Nearly Headless Nick, the ghost of Gryffindor Tower, was staring morosely out of a window, muttering under his breath, ". . . don't fulfill their requirements . . . half an inch, if that . . ."
"Hello, Nick," said Harry.
"Hello, hello," said Nearly Headless Nick, starting and looking round. He wore a dashing, plumed hat on his long curly hair, and a tunic with a ruff, which concealed the fact that his neck was almost completely severed. He was pale as smoke, and Harry could see right through him to the dark sky and torrential rain outside.
"You look troubled, young Potter," said Nick, folding a transparent letter as he spoke and tucking it inside his doublet.
"So do you," said Harry.
"Ah," Nearly Headless Nick waved an elegant hand, "a matter of no importance. . . . It's not as though I really wanted to join. . . . Thought I'd apply, but apparently I 'don't fulfill requirements' -"
In spite of his airy tone, there was a look of great bitterness on his face.
"But you would think, wouldn't you," he erupted suddenly, pulling the letter back out of his pocket, "that getting hit forty-five times in the neck with a blunt axe would qualify you to join the Headless Hunt?"
"Oh - yes," said Harry, who was obviously supposed to agree.
"I mean, nobody wishes more than I do that it had all been quick and clean, and my head had come off properly, I mean, it would have saved me a great deal of pain and ridicule. However -" Nearly Headless Nick shook his letter open and read furiously: "'We can only accept huntsmen whose heads have parted company with their bodies. You will appreciate that it would be impossible otherwise for members to participate in hunt activities such as Horseback Head-Juggling and Head Polo. It is with the greatest regret, therefore, that I must inform you that you do not fulfill our requirements. With very best wishes, Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore.'"
Fuming, Nearly Headless Nick stuffed the letter away.
"Half an inch of skin and sinew holding my neck on, Harry! Most people would think that's good and beheaded, but oh, no, it's not enough for Sir Properly Decapitated-Podmore."
Nearly Headless Nick took several deep breaths and then said, in a far calmer tone, "So - what's bothering you? Anything I can do?"
"No," said Harry. "Not unless you know where we can get seven free Nimbus Two Thousand and Ones for our match against Sly -"
The rest of Harry's sentence was drowned out by a high-pitched mewling from somewhere near his ankles. He looked down and found himself gazing into a pair of lamp-like yellow eyes. It was Mrs. Norris, the skeletal gray cat who was used by the caretaker, Argus Filch, as a sort of deputy in his endless battle against students.
"You'd better get out of here, Harry," said Nick quickly. "Filch isn't in a good mood - he's got the flu and some third years accidentally plastered frog brains all over the ceiling in dungeon five. He's been cleaning all morning, and if he sees you dripping mud all over the place -"
"Right," said Harry, backing away from the accusing stare of Mrs. Norris, but not quickly enough. Drawn to the spot by the mysterious power that seemed to connect him with his foul cat, Argus Filch burst suddenly through a tapestry to Harry's right, wheezing and looking wildly about for the rule-breaker. There was a thick tartan scarf bound around his head, and his nose was unusually purple.
Harry went down to breakfast the next morning to find the three Dursleys already sitting around the kitchen table. They were watching a brand-new television, a welcome-home-for-the-summer present for Dudley, who had been complaining loudly about the long walk between the fridge and the television in the living room. Dudley had spent most of the summer in the kitchen, his piggy little eyes fixed on the screen and his five chins wobbling as he ate continually.
Harry sat down between Dudley and Uncle Vernon, a large, beefy man with very little neck and a lot of mustache. Far from wishing Harry a happy birthday, none of the Dursleys made any sign that they had noticed Harry enter the room, but Harry was far too used to this to care. He helped himself to a piece of toast and then looked up at the reporter on the television, who was halfway through a report on an escaped convict:
"... The public is warned that Black is armed and extremely dangerous. A special hot line has been set up, and any sighting of Black should be reported immediately."
"No need to tell us he's no good," snorted Uncle Vernon, staring over the top of his newspaper at the prisoner. "Look at the state of him, the filthy layabout! Look at his hair!"
He shot a nasty look sideways at Harry, whose untidy hair had always been a source of great annoyance to Uncle Vernon. Compared to the man on the television, however, whose gaunt face was surrounded by a matted, elbow-length tangle, Harry felt very well groomed indeed.
The reporter had reappeared. "The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will announce today -"
"Hang on!" barked Uncle Vernon, staring furiously at the reporter. "You didn't tell us where that maniac's escaped from! What use is that? Lunatic could be coming up the street right now!"
Aunt Petunia, who was bony and horse-faced, whipped around and peered intently out of the kitchen window. Harry knew Aunt Petunia would simply love to be the one to call the hot line number. She was the nosiest woman in the world and spent most of her life spying on the boring, law-abiding neighbors.
"When will they learn," said Uncle Vernon, pounding the table with his large purple fist, "that hanging's the only way to deal with these people?"
"Very true," said Aunt Petunia, who was still squinting into next door's runner beans.
Uncle Vernon drained his teacup, glanced at his watch, and added, "I'd better be off in a minute, Petunia. Marge's train gets in at ten."
Harry, whose thoughts had been upstairs with the Broomstick Servicing Kit, was brought back to earth with an unpleasant bump.
"Aunt Marge?" he blurted out. "Sh - she's not coming here, is she?"
Aunt Marge was Uncle Vernon's sister. Even though she was not a blood relative of Harry's (whose mother had been Aunt Petunia's sister), he had been forced to call her "Aunt" all his life. Aunt Marge lived in the country, in a house with a large garden, where she bred bulldogs. She didn't often stay at Privet Drive, because she couldn't bear to leave her precious dogs, but each of her visits stood out horribly vividly in Harry's mind.
At Dudley's fifth birthday party, Aunt Marge had whacked Harry around the shins with her walking stick to stop him from beating Dudley at musical statues. A few years later, she had turned up at Christmas with a computerized robot for Dudley and a box of dog biscuits for Harry. On her last visit, the year before Harry started at Hogwarts, Harry had accidentally trodden on the tail of her favorite dog. Ripper had chased Harry out into the garden and up a tree, and Aunt Marge had refused to call him off until past midnight. The memory of this incident still brought tears of laughter to Dudley's eyes.
"Marge'll be here for a week," Uncle Vernon snarled, "and while we're on the subject" - he pointed a fat finger threateningly at Harry - "we need to get a few things straight before I go and collect her."
Dudley smirked and withdrew his gaze from the television. Watching Harry being bullied by Uncle Vernon was Dudley's favorite form of entertainment.
©1998; J. K. Rowling; reprinted with permission of Scholastic, Inc.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great series for kids. wonderful character development and lots of new ideas to develop kids imaginations. Rowling is a great story teller.
This is great set for younger readers just starting into this series. It's cheap, easy to carry, and if the reader destroys it, you're out very little money. However, it stills allows them to read these wonderful books.
good books.A must read for 4th graders.
These were my twins farorite book and I saved one set they could not open. Now it is rtiome for college.
I, too, have read all the Harry Potter books and I am decades past childhood. I looked forward to getting home and sitting down to read Harry Potter. Sunday mornings were coffee, as usual, and Harry Potter instead of the Sunday paper. When I finished the last book, I was a little lost without having a Harry Potter book to look forward to reading. So.....I started reading them again. They are just as good the second time around. I am actually as excited about the next book or movie about Harry Potter as any 'kid' could be. The books are fun and exciting and totally entertaining. I was glad I saw the first movie before I started reading the books because it made it much easier to visualize what the books were describing. Seeing the movie made the reading of the books much easier and faster. Thank you, J.K. for many enjoyable hours.
HARRY POTTER #1 IS REALLY GOOD SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT HARRY POTTER IS BAD I DON'T NO WHY MOST PEOPLE NEVER EVEN READ THE BOOK BUT JUST LISTENED TO WHAT OTHER SAY HARRY POTTER 2 AND 3 ARE REALLY GREAT TOO BUT THE GOBLET OF FIRE IS THE BEST 735 PAGES AND NOT A SINGLE ONE IS BORING OR DULL OR NOT FULL OF EXCITMENT. EVERY SINGLE PAGE IS WONDERFUL. SOME PAGES ARE SAD SOME ARE FUNNY AND OTHERS ARE JUST RELAXED.HARRY IN THIS BOOK IS MYSTERIOUSLY ENTERED IN THE TRI WIZERD TOURMENT AND HAS TO GO THROUGH 3 CHALLENGES. AND IN #3 HE WANTS TO GET SIRUS BLACK A MURDER WHO KILLED 13 PEOPLE WITH A SINGLE CURSE. #2 HE GOES DOWN TO THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS TO SAVE HIS BEST FRIENDS SISTER.#1 HE GOES THROUGH THE TRAPPED DOOR TO GET THE STONE.THESE BOOKS ARE THE BEST EVER WRITTEN. READ THEM. NOW. AND YOU WILL NEVER IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE REGERT IT
I just bought this box set a month ago and i'm already on the fourth book and all of them are just amazing! If you love fantasy novels then you'll love Harry Potter!
I would give Harry Potter 10 stars!! I love the books and no other book ever comes close to the trilling packed adventures in the Harry Potter series. Its like a holyday when a new Harry Potter book and movie comes out!
harry potter is the best book ever written JK Rowling is one of the best authors. #4 is my favorite it has so much adventure i can only hope that they don't leave the really kool parts out like they did in #3. #3 was also great but they left so many things out.#2 is also kool you think somethings going to happen but then it doesn't.#1 so far i think was the best movie because it was not long so they could have almost all the parts and because it was the first one most of the time the first is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love Harry Potter. I read all 5 Harry Potter books and I'm only 9!
These books are amazing. Once you pick them up, you can't put them down. J. K. Rowling is an outstanding writer that writes so that you can picture everything that is happening. Anyone who likes mystery and imagination will love these books. And even though it is in a world of magic, we can still relate to the problems that Harry and his friends face. We know how it is in school when you are picked on or a teacher just hates you. Everybody will love this book. When I first started reading the book, I was reluctant to finish it and wanted to stop, but I kept going and I loved it. I've read each of the Harry Potter Books (1-5) at least three times each as well as have the first two movies on DVD, and have the audio tapes for the 4th one. I also have the two books about monsters and Quidditch that JK Rowling wrote for charity. I have become obsessed with these books and I know you will too. So read these books!! You won't regret it.
I really liked the book and I wish I would have read the book before I saw the movie. I could not finish reading it at first but then I couldn't put it down. I love J.K Rowling's books and I am hoping she goes on past Harry's school life onto something in his social life. That would be cool. I don't want to go on guessing his life after he's done at hogwarts. J.K Rowling was one of my insperators in writing. Exept I write mysteries and not a lot of Fantacy.
these books are about a boy named Harry Potter and he live when even the strongest wizard atacked. i read all of there books so should you
All of these books are excellent. The story flows and keeps the reader from getting bored. I've always loved reading but these books sparked a passion in me that I never knew I had, an even greater love and appreciation for books and the stories they tell.
Wow! These books are the best thing in the world. I never liked reading at all until we got these books at our school. Now I won't put the book down until I'm done, and then I'm onto the next one. I'm wating for the 5th Harry Potter book to get checked back into our library at school so I can check it out and read it! These books are the best thing that happened to, well BOOKS! I love them!
A very good edition for those who want to catch up with the series. I used it for this purpose myself. The story is very well told in each volume. Ms Rowling is surely a superb story teller, though I would not recommend the books for bedtime stories if you don't want to spend all the night reading up to a child. Both children and fantasy-loving adults can find the book immensely entertaining and it is really difficult to get away from all the humorous bits and pieces strewn all over the pages. Of course having good story telling talents does not altogether replace writing experience. In the fourth volume the author is forced to kill a character because she does not seem to know what to do with him later. This, unfortunately, seems to continue in the fifth volume too, where a more important character has to die for the same reason, she cannot drag him any further through the coming volumes. But the four stars are not for this, as this is irritating only to literature (not pulp-fiction) loving people. It's rather because of the American translation that you can feel quite (not too, though) strongly in the first volume, starting with the title and continuing in the story itself, too, some of which is partly understandable, but often done simply to emphasise the editor's self-importance. I feel the publisher should tell you somewhere in the book that you are not holding the original text in your hand.
I AM 33 AND FIND THESE BOOKS TO BE GREAT FOR THE IMAGINATION. WHAT I WAS AFRAID TO READ AS A CHILD IS WONDERFUL AS AN ADULT.
it's the most outstanding book i ever read
This magical four part series will have you laughing, and holding your breath! The variaty of charaters and mysterious setting will have you entranced in this book till the very end, and begging for more!!!!!!!!
Well, what can I say? I'm going to be a college student in the fall and I could not stop reading the boxed set of Harry Potter this summer. When Rowling first started to catch on with this series, I didn't really think much of it because I thought 'Oh geez, these are just a bunch of corny kid's books.' But, I was so wrong indeed. The Harry Potter series hooked me right from the start, after I started reading them because of the new movies that came out. I must say that there are only two book series that I truly admire and that is the Harry Potter boxed set and The Lord of the Rings series. These books are an opportunity that one shouldn't pass by.
I love harry potter soo much! they are so good! hp is what actually got me into reading....i used to hate reading but now i really really love it! hp rocks and thank you j.k.!! If you have not read ne of them then you are the CRAZIEST beast alive!!!!!! i should kill!! you are odd! i lvoe harry potter soo much!!! READ THEM OR DIE!!!