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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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109 Points

I said congrats when I heard about it, but congrats again Jo!

Posted by Snuffbox on February 03, 2009, 02:26 PM report to moderator
36 Points

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 !

Posted by bodysnatcher on February 03, 2009, 02:36 PM report to moderator
314 Points

Congrats Jo!! You sooooooooooooo deserve it!

Posted by WntrHeart28 on February 03, 2009, 02:38 PM report to moderator
3544 Points

That’s really awesome congrats!! but i thought that was a military award. anybody know if it is?

Posted by Andonut (Greek Ninja) [FTC!] (SHEIKRA) on February 03, 2009, 02:42 PM report to moderator
44049 Points

You go girl!

Posted by Dolemite [FTC!] on February 03, 2009, 02:45 PM report to moderator
85 Points

Wow! Congrats, Jo.
BTW, I love that photo at the top. Is it in the galleries? Are there any more of them?

Posted by Prof_Tofty on February 03, 2009, 02:52 PM report to moderator
179 Points

wow is really is awesome

Posted by jessh324 on February 03, 2009, 02:53 PM report to moderator
791 Points

Wow, this is awesome! Congratulations Jo!

Posted by Cellar Door [*SQUEE!*] on February 03, 2009, 02:56 PM report to moderator
354 Points

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.

Posted by Hermionegirl on February 03, 2009, 03:11 PM report to moderator
252 Points

She looks really nice in the pictures, the medal looks really cool as well.

Posted by lunalovegoodlove on February 03, 2009, 03:24 PM report to moderator
70 Points


Posted by Helios Lightra on February 03, 2009, 03:24 PM report to moderator
62 Points

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? ^^;

Posted by french soup on February 03, 2009, 03:33 PM report to moderator
3465 Points

Félicitations Chevalier Rowling! \o/

Has she received any comendations from the Queen of England? I mean, does she have an MBE or anything yet?

Posted by gaminette [GTFO!] on February 03, 2009, 03:37 PM report to moderator
6352 Points


I don’t have a knighthood to give, but you captured my heart a long time ago.

Posted by KB Prez [ROAR!] on February 03, 2009, 03:38 PM report to moderator
190 Points

That has to be one of the coolest honors!

Posted by VoodooDarling on February 03, 2009, 04:03 PM report to moderator
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