J.K. Rowling

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Name: Joanne Rowling
Also Known As: Jo, Joanne, Rowling, JKR, JK Rowling
Robert Galbraith (pseudonym)
Occupation: author
Medium: Books, Novels, Screenplays
Works: Harry Potter
Fantastic Beasts
Cormoran Strike
Official Website(s): jkrowling.com
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages

J. K. Rowling is the British author of the best-selling Harry Potter series, inspiration for one of the internet's biggest fandoms and the biggest book fandom by far.[note 1]

Rowling has written other books, some of them nonfiction, and most recently under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith published the series Cormoran Strikes about a detective and his assistant.


Harry Potter series

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (published 26 June 1997)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2 July 1998)
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (8 July 1999)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (8 July 2000)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (21 June 2003)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (16 July 2005)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (21 July 2007)
and three supplements:
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2001)
  • Quidditch Through the Ages (2001)
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard (2008).

Cormoran Strike series

  • The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013)
  • The Silkworm (2014)
  • Career of Evil (2015)
  • Lethal White (2018)
  • Troubled Blood (2020)
  • The Ink Black Heart (2022)
  • The Running Grave (2023)

Relationship with Fandom

J. K. Rowling is generally supportive of fan activities.

From an interview in the fall of 2000 with Rowling by the BBC:

The Internet! Twice I've been on the internet. Friends of mine were telling me what's on there and I'd never gone looking before. First time, I thought I was never coming back, it's too scary. Some of the stuff that's out there is very weird. Second time I went in there someone had set up an unofficial fan site where you can be sorted, they have a Sorting Hat, and I was Hufflepuff. I wasn't that pleased! If anyone's meant to be Griffyndor, it's me.[1]

From a October 20th, 2000 chat:

Yahooligan_Ana asks: Hello, I would like to know if you ever read any Harry Potter fanfiction on the web.

jkrowling_bn: I have read some and I've been very flattered to see how absorbed people are in the world.[2]

In 2004, Rowling gave her blessing for fanfiction, saying via a spokesperson, that she was "flattered people wanted to write their own stories" and "her concern would be to make sure that it remains a non-commercial activity to ensure fans are not exploited and it is not being published in the strict sense of traditional print publishing."[3]

She gave awards for her favorite fansites, including the HP Alliance, Harry Potter Fan Zone (2007), Potterish[4] (2006), The Leaky Cauldron (2005), HPANA, MuggleNet, The Harry Potter Lexicon, Immeritus (2004)

In 2007 she and Warner Brothers, who hold the film rights, successfully blocked RDR Books from publishing a book version of The Harry Potter Lexicon by Steve Vander Ark. See Harry Potter Lexicon Trial.

Post-Harry Potter

In the years since the release of the last movie adaptation of Harry Potter, fandom's relationship to Rowling has been characterised by a number of controversies.

In the aftermath of Rowling declaring Albus Dumbledore gay, there was wank for many years about the appropriateness of only mentioning his sexuality afterwards and not including it in the books themselves.[5] The same controversy flared up again with the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which includes references to the Albus Dumbledore/Gellert Grindelwald relationship but still fails to make the sexuality of either character canon. A similar controversy arose over the relationship between Albus Severus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which many felt was queerbaited.[6]

Another controversy was sparked by Rowling's writing about North America, made available on Pottermore in 2016. Many fans felt that Rowling had not only displayed a lack of understanding of North America in her worldbuilding, several factors were insensitive towards Native Americans.[7][note 2] With the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, criticism only grew, as many took the lack of racial diversity in the movie as further proof of racism on Rowling's part.[8]


In 2018, Rowling liked a couple of transphobic tweets, causing some criticism and wariness of her within the trans community.[9] The issue didn't blow up till late 2019, when Rowling published a tweet in support of Maya Forstater, a trans-exclusionary radical feminist who lost a court case about transphobic remarks as protected speech. In response to Rowling's transphobia, many fans produced fanworks with Harry Potter characters portrayed as trans and the HPTransFest, dedicated to trans Harry Potter fanworks, was started in response.[note 3]

In 2020, Rowling accidentally added a transphobic statement to a reply to a 9-year-old girl on Twitter; the tweet was quickly erased but not before it was caught in screencaps.[10]

In reaction to Rowling's increasingly obvious racism and transphobia, some fans have taken to claiming the books were written by Hatsune Miku, which is a common claim for Minecraft fans who disapprove of its creator's transphobic actions. In Brazil, many fans claim that either Britney Spears or Hermione Granger is the real author. However, other fans have pointed out that racist and transphobic themes are entrenched in the Potterverse and Cormoran Strike series, and not giving credit to the creator won't fix the content.

Robert Galbraith

After Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling chose crime fiction for her next books, a genre she has always loved as a reader, writing then under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The Cormoran Strike series has since been adapted by the BBC into a TV show.

Rowling’s original intention for writing as Robert Galbraith was for the books to be judged on their own merit, and to establish Galbraith as a well-regarded name in crime in its own right.


The revelation that Rowling wrote with the nom de plume Robert Galbraith has led many critics and fans to focus more heavily on the series. Which led to the discovery of a text described by some as problematic, full of prejudices, including misogyny, racism with a fetishistic description of black characters and, more recently, transphobia and fatphobia.[11]

After the discovery of Rowling's transphobia, she is often labeled a TERF. Some fans on Twitter started to reread the book in order to catalog any and all content that could prove that the author not only demonstrated these prejudices online, but also in her text.

It was then discovered that Robert Galbraith was also the name of a psychiatrist who practiced conversion therapy on gay men.[12] In response to these, Rowling quickly made statements about the origin of the name in order to refute the criticism, below is an excerpt from the essay in Vice:

After Robert Galbraith was revealed to be a pseudonym for Rowling, the author claimed the inspiration for the name was a combination for the late Robert F. Kennedy and “Ella Galbraith,” a name she made up for herself in her youth.

“I don’t know why,” Rowling wrote in a statement posted on the fictional Robert Galbraith’s website at the time. “I don’t even know how I knew that the surname existed, because I can’t remember ever meeting anyone with it. Be that as it may, the name had a fascination for me.”

But perhaps coincidentally, Robert Galbraith Heath is also the name of a mid-20th century psychiatrist who pioneered a range of practices that would later be known as conversion therapy. During his tenure as chair of the department of psychiatry and neurology at Tulane University in New Orleans, one of his signature treatments was the usage of electroshock treatments to “cure” gay men of their same-sex attractions.

People have speculated that JKR herself helped leak the fact that Galbraith was her pseudonym as a way to speed up sales of books that were not so well received, either by critics or the public. They saw this move as JKR shooting herself in the foot, because it only gave more ammunition to those who were already critical of Rowling due to her worrying attitudes towards the trans community.

Meta/Further Reading



  1. ^ As of March 9, 2023, FanFiction.Net has 844K Harry Potter stories, compared to the runners-up Twilight (222K) and Percy Jackson and the Olympians (80K). Books | Fanfiction, Archived version
  2. ^ See the criticism section of Ilvermorny article for more information.
  3. ^ hptransfest.tumblr.com, HPTransFest on Tumblr


  1. ^ "Mzimba, Lizo. Transcript of interview with J.K. Rowling, BBC Newsround, Fall 2000". 2012-06-29. Archived from the original on 2012-06-29.
  2. ^ Posted on the Yahooligans! website and "Barnes and Noble & Yahoo! chat with J.K. Rowling, barnesandnoble.com, 20 October, 2000". 2012-05-24. Archived from the original on 2012-05-24.
  3. ^ "BBC NEWS Entertainment Rowling backs Potter fan fiction". 2004-05-27. Archived from the original on 2013-04-19.
  4. ^ Potterish website http://potterish.com
  5. ^ "Fandoms and Feminism discussing the topic with various other tumblr users". 2015-12-30. Archived from the original on 2021-09-22.
  6. ^ "The Disappointing Heteronormativity of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child • The Shipping Room Podcast". 2016-08-16. Archived from the original on 2016-11-07.
  7. ^ Reddit discussion of use of Native American beliefs in JKR's worldbuilding. Reddit, March 9, 2016. "Reedstilt comments on Can anyone explain to me what could be considered disrespectful in JK's portrayal of Native Americans in 'Magic in North America'? by hpthro". 2016-03-09. Archived from the original on 2021-09-22.
  8. ^ "Why are you angry about Fantastic Beast and Where... • Dicta Contrion". 2016-07-26. Archived from the original on 2021-09-22.
  9. ^ "Queenie 🌕 on Twitter: "rowling is a terf… "". 2018-03-21. Archived from the original on 2018-03-22.. Screenshots taken from Queenie's tweet. Images one, two and three
  10. ^ J.K. Rowling deleted a tweet that included transphobic commentary with a child’s fanart. "J.K. Rowling Shares Transphobic Commentary On Fan's 'Ickabog' Tweet". 2020-05-29. Archived from the original on 2021-09-22.
  11. ^ "J.K. Rowling's Fatphobia Needs to Be Acknowledged, as Well". 2021-02-23. Archived from the original on 2021-09-22.
  12. ^ "J.K. Rowling's Denies Pen Name Is Inspired By Anti-LGBTQ+ Conversion …". 2020-06-09. Archived from the original on 2021-09-22.