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JK Rowling, Knight of the French Realm (Updated)

J.K. Rowling
Posted by: sue
February 03, 2009, 01:08 PM

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 exoticism."

"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!

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86 Comments

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276 Points

Congratulations, Madame Rowling! :-)

Posted by Fonty on February 03, 2009, 01:16 PM report to moderator
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4366 Points

Congratulations, Jo! No one could be more worthy!

Posted by Sophie on February 03, 2009, 01:22 PM report to moderator
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1806 Points

Congratulations Jo! :D

Posted by gryffindorgal87 ~*RoAr!*~ on February 03, 2009, 01:25 PM report to moderator
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2482 Points

Congratulations! Shall we call her Lady now? Oh, yes, It’s Madame in french. Awesome..:)

Posted by ele0206 -ROAR- on February 03, 2009, 01:33 PM report to moderator
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993 Points

Congrats Jo! Or lady Jo, or whatever we will call you

Posted by DobbyandWinky WBM!!! on February 03, 2009, 01:41 PM report to moderator
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2090 Points

I wonder if she did her speech in French… I wish we could see a video of it all!!! Félicitations Madame Rowling!

Posted by KianaCP on February 03, 2009, 01:42 PM report to moderator
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4844 Points

Congratuations Jo. Well done!!!! OH Yes Madame Jo!!!!! Yeah!!!

Posted by Lady Grey OoM2,CW*ROAR* on February 03, 2009, 01:47 PM report to moderator
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872 Points

Congratulations Jo! Do we call her Lady or Madame or something?

Posted by Heavenly_Horcrux on February 03, 2009, 01:47 PM report to moderator
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579 Points

Yay, Madame Jo! Your subjects salute you!

Posted by Mirdan on February 03, 2009, 01:48 PM report to moderator
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231 Points

Félicitations Madame Rowling ! Thank you, Miss Rowling.

Posted by obockstal on February 03, 2009, 02:08 PM report to moderator
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1630 Points

Awesomeness! Congratulations to Jo,, Love her she’s great! Best author by far! :D xxx

Posted by ChantyBabez on February 03, 2009, 02:11 PM report to moderator
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656 Points

Is anyone else upset because they don’t have a name as cool as Oscar Niemeyer? I am.

Posted by Arithmanceer on February 03, 2009, 02:13 PM report to moderator
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1224 Points

Wow! Neat!

Posted by Ginevra86 on February 03, 2009, 02:17 PM report to moderator
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3115 Points

Congratulations! Oh my goodness, how awesome! If I were ever knighted—I’d go on quests.

Posted by Bre S. on February 03, 2009, 02:18 PM report to moderator
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569 Points

congratulationss Jo!!

Posted by Hermione_1991 [ WBM ] on February 03, 2009, 02:22 PM report to moderator
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