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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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261 Points

Good stuff, now time for Her Majesty to knight thee Dame Joanne Rowling.

Posted by nimbus xl on February 04, 2009, 02:01 PM report to moderator
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4603 Points

yes, congrats

Posted by placebowiz on February 04, 2009, 02:35 PM report to moderator
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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.

Posted by EowynCarter on February 04, 2009, 04:45 PM report to moderator
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7239 Points

Viev la France! [not french, can’t spell the firs word right!] The French really DO have good taste! Congratulations, again, Lady Rowling!

Posted by Confederate Lady [CL, Rawwrrrr] on February 04, 2009, 05:01 PM report to moderator
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266 Points

Yay Jo!!!! She deserves it!!!! She seriously is SUCH a fantastic woman who has made such a tremedous change in this world

Posted by KaraDawlish on February 04, 2009, 08:16 PM report to moderator
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517 Points

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!

Posted by Araminta1987 on February 04, 2009, 09:24 PM report to moderator
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517 Points

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!

Posted by Araminta1987 on February 04, 2009, 09:24 PM report to moderator
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542 Points

Yay for Madame Jo! This is a really cool honor.

Posted by Tami on February 05, 2009, 12:41 AM report to moderator
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420 Points

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…xDD

Posted by Sorcha on February 05, 2009, 05:39 AM report to moderator
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319 Points

Good on you Jo!

Congs… :-)

Posted by Lily_Severus on February 05, 2009, 07:45 AM report to moderator
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13596 Points

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.

Posted by Garden State Geek on February 24, 2009, 12:03 PM report to moderator
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