JK Rowling, Knight of the French Realm (Updated)


Feb 03, 2009

Posted by SueTLC

UPDATE 4: Video of J.K. Rowling at the award ceremony is now online here via our galleries.

As reported yesterday, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has been awarded the prestigious Legion of Honor from France. Very early reports from the AP say that at “a ceremony in a gilded hall in the Elysee presidential palace,” JKR received the honorary title of “knight”. Update 1: Photos are now available here via UHP. UPDATE 2: The Washington Post has a quote from JKR at the ceremony where she mentioned Lord Voldemort:

Rowling also thanked her readers in France “for not having held a grudge against me for having given a French name to my evil character” in the series _ Lord Voldemort.

“I can assure you that no anti-French feeling was at the origin of this
choice,” she said. “As a Francophile, I have always been proud of my
French blood. But I needed a name that evokes both power and

“Voldemort himself is 100-percent English,” Rowling said in French,
pleading with the audience that included young French teens to forgive
her accent. She noted that she had once taught French in Scotland.

UPDATE 3: Thanks to TLC reader Rotfang, we now have a translation of two articles about the events in Paris today as follows:

President Sarkozy upon presenting the award in recognition of “a woman
of exceptional talent” who had returned a taste for reading back to
children, said:

“With you they learnt that reading was not a punishment, it was also a
source of pleasure.” He also mentioned that 24 million copies of the
series had been sold in France.

President Sarkozy continued:

“The award is not only recognition for what you have done for children
in general but also for French children in particular ¦ The Harry
Potter series is a universe of initiation that allows the reader to
both decipher the world and to construct their place within it ¦ it is
a vehicle for values, and its educational benefits are proven.”

Jo Rowling’s response was given in French, and, after mentioning her
French great-grandfather who had received the Légion d’honneur in 1924
for his efforts at the Battle of Verdun during the First World War
(1914-18), Rowling continued:

“It gives me pleasure to think that he would be happy to know there is
another Légion d’honneur in the family and that the books written by
his descendant gave pleasure in the country of his birth.”

“I also want to thank my French readers for not holding against me my
having given a French name to my most evil character. I can assure you
no anti-French sentiment lay behind my choice. As a Francophile, I was
always proud of my French blood, but I needed a name that would evoke
both power and a sense of exoticism. He of course, is 100% English.

Thanks much to UHP for the video! Congratulations Jo!

86 Responses to JK Rowling, Knight of the French Realm (Updated)

Avatar ImageFonty says: Congratulations, Madame Rowling! :-)Avatar ImageSophie Treklemmer says: Congratulations, Jo! No one could be more worthy!Avatar ImageGryffindorGal87 says: Congratulations Jo! :DAvatar Imageele0206 says: Congratulations! Shall we call her Lady now? Oh, yes, It's Madame in french. Awesome..:)Avatar ImageDobbyandWinky says: Congrats Jo! Or lady Jo, or whatever we will call youAvatar ImageKianaCP says: I wonder if she did her speech in French... I wish we could see a video of it all!!! Félicitations Madame Rowling!Avatar Imagelinnie95 says: Congratuations Jo. Well done!!!! OH Yes Madame Jo!!!!! Yeah!!!Avatar ImageHeavenly_Horcrux says: Congratulations Jo! Do we call her Lady or Madame or something?Avatar ImageMirdan says: Yay, Madame Jo! Your subjects salute you!Avatar Imageobockstal says: Félicitations Madame Rowling ! Thank you, Miss Rowling.Avatar ImageChantyBabez says: Awesomeness! Congratulations to Jo,, Love her she's great! Best author by far! :D xxxAvatar ImageArithmanceer says: Is anyone else upset because they don't have a name as cool as Oscar Niemeyer? I am. Avatar ImageGinevra86 says: Wow! Neat!Avatar ImageBre Sartain says: Congratulations! Oh my goodness, how awesome! If I were ever knighted--I'd go on quests.Avatar Imagehermione_1991 says: congratulationss Jo!!Avatar ImageSnuffbox says: I said congrats when I heard about it, but congrats again Jo!Avatar Imagebodysnatcher says: I was here, to try to see Jo, in front of the Palace Elysée, I was a little bit disapointed, we were just 6 or 8 Harry Potter fans ! Cops were nice, they let us wait in front of the Palace to see her. We just saw her hair in the car and on the stairs but I'm very happy !Avatar ImageWntrHeart28 says: Congrats Jo!! You sooooooooooooo deserve it!Avatar ImageAntoast says: That's really awesome congrats!! but i thought that was a military award. anybody know if it is?Avatar ImageDolemite says: You go girl!Avatar ImageProf_Tofty says: Wow! Congrats, Jo. BTW, I love that photo at the top. Is it in the galleries? Are there any more of them?Avatar Imagejessh324 says: wow is really is awesomeAvatar ImageCellar Door says: Wow, this is awesome! Congratulations Jo!Avatar Imagehermionegirl7 says: Congats Jo! Oh, excuse me, Madame Rowling. :D She deserved every bit of the award. She looks very nice in the pictures. I hope we will get to see some more of them. Avatar Imagelunalovegoodlove says: She looks really nice in the pictures, the medal looks really cool as well.Avatar ImageHelios Lightra says: Congratulations!Avatar Imagefrench soup says: For thoses who wondered, in her speech she said that her ancestor received in 1924 the same Légion d'Honneur for heroism in Verdun, so she was proud to have it too. She said that she didn't not gave Voldemort a french name because she hated french XD and mentionned *again* that she doubted her futher books were gonna be as successful as Harry Potter :) Aaand....that's it. For thoses who wanted to know if she speaks a very fine french, well, yes she does. On Sarkozy's part, the funny thing is that he called hogwarts an academy and that the sorting hat was like a hat with little paper in it that one have to pick up to know his house. He mentionned all the quality of each houses..."wisdom, intelligence....(pause)....even ambition" Why am i not surprised? ^^;Avatar Imagegaminette says: Félicitations Chevalier Rowling! \o/ Has she received any comendations from the Queen of England? I mean, does she have an MBE or anything yet?Avatar Imagekbicprez says: CONGRATULATIONS JKR! I don't have a knighthood to give, but you captured my heart a long time ago.Avatar ImageSaffron says: That has to be one of the coolest honors!Avatar ImageSaffron says: That has to be one of the coolest honors!Avatar ImageCatherine says: MADAME ROWLING!!!!!!!!!! WOW, I am really screaming my head off! I have been expecting her to be knighted for a while now! Finally! CONGRATS JO!!!!!Avatar Imageascendancy33 says: Wow, what an honour... Congratulations Jo!! What do we call her now, a Lady?Avatar ImageWeird One says: "UPDATE 3: Thanks to TLC reader Rotfang, we now have a translation of two articles about the events in Paris today as follows" Rotfang07 is that you???? Why have you posted and not said hello? You are missed! Avatar ImageMom Weasley says: Amazing. I bet she often stops and ponders the twists and turns in her life's path. Way to go Jo! A remarkable life for a remarkable woman.Avatar ImageDuckyLynn says: amazing, congrats Jo!!Avatar ImageFelipe_Q says: Well deserved! I loved the French president's words and Jo was awesome as always! This is very cool!!Avatar Imageathena024 says: Oh that's so exciting! Congrats JK!Avatar ImageKarrelien says: Mes félicitations, Jo! Ravi que tu reçus cette distinction! Quel honeur!Avatar ImagexxIBelieveInNarglesxx says: Awesome!!Congratulations Jo :)Avatar Imagelnh92 says: Congrats Jo!!!!!!!!Avatar Imageahs_12505 says: Congratulations!!! That must be so cool.Avatar ImageLP Dantas says: Hey! You can see the video of her acceptance in this link: http://www.universharrypotter.com/news-792.html You should update the post with it! And if someone could insert subtitles, it'd be much appreciatedAvatar Imagemichaelabraham says: I've said it before, I'll say it again: She deserves every honor and more!Avatar ImageThe Azkaban Dietitian says: Wow. Just. Wow. *leaky tears* Avatar ImageEmilyDeibert says: Ooh, congrats! I may have to get my French teacher to let us watch this video next class... =)Avatar Imageczenema says: Congratulations ! Tu est magnifique... -:) Just as usually.Avatar Imagewizardinventor says: Congrats to Jo!Avatar Imagespicefan1978 says: Congratulations Jo! Well deserved!Avatar ImageRosalie says: Congrats Jo, you deserve it.Avatar Imagecheeserpleaser says: Congratulations, Mrs. Rowling, for receiving this honor that is nothing short of stupendous! You truly deserve this for the contributions you have made to society.Avatar Imagetinagin says: Very cool. I was very impressed with her french. I had no idea her great-grandfather was french, what a wonderful thing to share in the family!! Cheers Jo.Avatar Imagecallicott3 says: Fantastic, Lady Rowling! [we can call you that, now!] That is so wonderful. I so wish we had some kind of cool thing like that, here, but I guess we gave that up in 1776 [LOL] I think she should get some sort of Presidential thing, don't you? I am soooo glad to hear another wonderful honor, bestowed on our beloved Author, Lady Jo Rowling!Avatar ImageLady of the Lake says: Good for her! That is so awesome!Avatar ImageThe Hufflepuff Giraffe says: Wow. Speaking French and hanging with the President of France makes Jo seem just so worldly. I'm so happy for her. Jo is cool in every language.Avatar ImageEva Hedwig says: Hipp hipp hurra... Lady Rowling. I like this great honour and she is a real Lady, using such fitting and galant words. I liked the wise words from president Sarkozy “With you they learnt that reading was not a punishment, it was also a source of pleasure.” I don't know why Jo is so reluctant, to publish her new book which she must have finished by now, telling that it will not sale the same as Harry's. Well she will only know after letting us read it. Whatever it will be, I am sure a lot of us will love it. I am hopeful that it will come soon.Avatar ImageThe Star Fisher says: Good for her! Congratulations, Jo! Just thought I'd also mention that this was worthy of a mention on Rachel Maddow's show... :- ) Avatar ImageVerity Weasley says: If President Sarkozy is quoted correctly, it is rather unfortunate. He said, “With you they learnt that reading was not a punishment, it was also a source of pleasure.” It's that little word 'also' that was ill-advised. He's effectively saying that reading can be a punishment. Well, maybe Stephen King would agree with him!Avatar ImageTheCrogePodge says: Congrats, Jo! This is SO AMAZING, I'm so happy for you!!!Avatar ImageAduende says: I find it ironic that she has been knighted by the French. Doesn't she also have a knighthood from Britain? Can you really be a defender of both the British and French empires? Seems a bit contradictory to me.Avatar ImageProfessorPotter says: wow, these updates are great. Im wrong that she never taught french, I thought she just studied it. I didnt know of her French ancestry. Her Grandfather getting the same honor is a revelation. Irony is her Grandfather earned it representing war and defense. Jo earned it through unting the children of the world and preach moral values, love and peace through HP. I cant wiat for the day when she will surely become DAME Rowling!Avatar ImageProfessorPotter says: ok i meant great-grandfather in my prev post :)Avatar Imagefoxyredalpha says: Congrats Jo! xxxAvatar ImageAveryfan says: Oh, c'mon, VM had to have a little Norman blood in him... Avatar ImageJoRowlingRocks says: Ahh this is amazing! I study French at Exeter Uni (where Jo studied) and I've never heard her talk French before so I looooved that video! =D And Sarkozy finally does something decent ;) Félicitations Madame Rowling!Avatar Imagedarkveela says: Tres cool :)Avatar Imagefrench soup says: Sarkozy, one year ago said that children had to learn the difference between La Princesse De Clèves ( french classic book) and a simple newspaper article but also between Antigone and Harry Potter. ...And here we are, one year later. She make childern enjoy reading. My. My. Where did the speech about french classics being better than foreign popular books go? I wondeeeer...*rolleyes*Avatar Imagemaddypuff says: I love how Jo kept stressing that using the name Voldemort wasn't meant to invoke hatred against the french. Did anyone in France actually think that? x3Avatar Imageluna.quibbler says: congratulations Jo! you really deserve it!!!! harry potter is the best book series EVER! and always will be!Avatar ImageSally_Zaar says: Wooo well done Jo!Avatar Imagemiriam the wounded says: Wow - big honour for Jo! Congrats to her. Bring on the damehood over here in the UK! Avatar ImageSirius B says: So now she is *Sir* Jo??Avatar Imagevicky granger says: Congratulations ! I'm French, and very proud of this ! Félicitations ! Avatar Imagebookmonster79 says: Way to go JO! You soo deserve it. We should have known you were a Francophile when you married off one of the beloved Weasley's to a French girl!Avatar ImageTonks1 says: Congratulations J. K. Rowling!!!!Avatar Imagenimbus xl says: Good stuff, now time for Her Majesty to knight thee Dame Joanne Rowling.Avatar Imageplacebowiz says: yes, congratsAvatar ImageEowynCarter says: Eva,, verity, acctualy, sarkozy said "With you they understand that reading isnot a punishment, but a source of pleasure" Then he also mentonned frenhc peaple learning english thanks to harry. And then, Jo, speaking french, and pronnoncing "Harry" with that oh so english accent. And unlike what she said at first, she didn't made make gramar faults, none that i noticed anyway.Sarkoky did, though. And did Sakozy read harry potter ? And i loved sarkozy's remarque about the editor who had refused Harry.Avatar Imagecallicott3 says: Viev la France! [not french, can't spell the firs word right!] The French really DO have good taste! Congratulations, again, Lady Rowling!Avatar ImageKaraDawlish says: Yay Jo!!!! She deserves it!!!! She seriously is SUCH a fantastic woman who has made such a tremedous change in this worldAvatar ImageAraminta1987 says: So it's Madame Jo now, lol... I was wondering, but the entire comments section seems to have answered that question before I asked it. I saw this on the evening news and it made me love the French even more than I already did! Congrats, Jo!Avatar ImageAraminta1987 says: So it's Madame Jo now, lol... I was wondering, but the entire comments section seems to have answered that question before I asked it. I saw this on the evening news and it made me love the French even more than I already did! Congrats, Jo!Avatar ImageTami says: Yay for Madame Jo! This is a really cool honor.Avatar Imagequoddy says: GO JO! : D Wow. Sarkozy. I thought he was one of those myths and legends, that only exist in a certain French wizard rock song...xDDAvatar Imageugurbocegi says: Good on you Jo! Congs... :-)Avatar ImageGarden State Geek says: Since France is a republic, not a monarchy, how could they give a "Knight of the Realm" honor. They French got rid of their monarchy in the late 18th century. Remember Marie Antoinette? Maybe it's the Legion of Honor? I'm confused. Whatever the prize, I'm happy for her.

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