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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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1141 Points

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!

Posted by Professor Potter on February 04, 2009, 03:56 AM report to moderator
1141 Points

ok i meant great-grandfather in my prev post :)

Posted by Professor Potter on February 04, 2009, 03:58 AM report to moderator
714 Points

Congrats Jo! xxx

Posted by foxyredalpha {WBM} on February 04, 2009, 04:09 AM report to moderator
393 Points

Oh, c’mon, VM had to have a little Norman blood in him…

Posted by Averyfan on February 04, 2009, 04:51 AM report to moderator
212 Points

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!

Posted by JoRowlingRocks on February 04, 2009, 05:19 AM report to moderator
315 Points

Tres cool :)

Posted by darkveela on February 04, 2009, 05:45 AM report to moderator
62 Points

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

Posted by french soup on February 04, 2009, 05:51 AM report to moderator
516 Points

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?

Posted by Emily on February 04, 2009, 06:00 AM report to moderator
1812 Points

congratulations Jo! you really deserve it!!!! harry potter is the best book series EVER! and always will be!

Posted by Freya-Storm on February 04, 2009, 06:41 AM report to moderator
598 Points

Wooo well done Jo!

Posted by Sally_Zaar on February 04, 2009, 07:04 AM report to moderator
63 Points

Wow – big honour for Jo! Congrats to her.

Bring on the damehood over here in the UK!

Posted by miriam the wounded on February 04, 2009, 07:59 AM report to moderator
404 Points

So now she is Sir Jo??

Posted by Sirius B (HeartMagic104) on February 04, 2009, 09:19 AM report to moderator
16484 Points

Congratulations ! I’m French, and very proud of this ! Félicitations !

Posted by Vicky Granger [ROAR] *Prof Adrasteia Andraste* on February 04, 2009, 12:15 PM report to moderator
1591 Points

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!

Posted by bookmonster79 on February 04, 2009, 01:21 PM report to moderator
747 Points

Congratulations J. K. Rowling!!!!

Posted by Tonks1OoM4,CW[ROAR] on February 04, 2009, 01:51 PM report to moderator
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