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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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2233 Points

Ooh, congrats! I may have to get my French teacher to let us watch this video next class… =)

Posted by Emily [ROAR] on February 03, 2009, 06:18 PM report to moderator
45 Points

Congratulations !
Tu est magnifique… -:) Just as usually.

Posted by czenema on February 03, 2009, 07:05 PM report to moderator
931 Points

Congrats to Jo!

Posted by wizardinventor on February 03, 2009, 07:06 PM report to moderator
8256 Points

Congratulations Jo! Well deserved!

Posted by spicefan78 OoM1 {ROAR!} on February 03, 2009, 07:11 PM report to moderator
428 Points

Congrats Jo, you deserve it.

Posted by rosalie on February 03, 2009, 07:24 PM report to moderator
3048 Points

Congratulations, Mrs. Rowling, for receiving this honor that is nothing short of stupendous! You truly deserve this for the contributions you have made to society.

Posted by Kirk on February 03, 2009, 07:36 PM report to moderator
12569 Points

Very cool. I was very impressed with her french. I had no idea her great-grandfather was french, what a wonderful thing to share in the family!! Cheers Jo.

Posted by tinagin [ROAR]! on February 03, 2009, 07:41 PM report to moderator
7239 Points

Fantastic, Lady Rowling! [we can call you that, now!] That is so wonderful. I so wish we had some kind of cool thing like that, here, but I guess we gave that up in 1776 [LOL] I think she should get some sort of Presidential thing, don’t you? I am soooo glad to hear another wonderful honor, bestowed on our beloved Author, Lady Jo Rowling!

Posted by Confederate Lady [CL, Rawwrrrr] on February 03, 2009, 10:43 PM report to moderator
3371 Points

Good for her! That is so awesome!

Posted by Lady of the Lake on February 03, 2009, 10:48 PM report to moderator
622 Points

Wow. Speaking French and hanging with the President of France makes Jo seem just so worldly. I’m so happy for her. Jo is cool in every language.

Posted by The Hufflepuff Giraffe on February 03, 2009, 11:57 PM report to moderator

Hipp hipp hurra… Lady Rowling. I like this great honour and she is a real Lady, using such fitting and galant words. I liked the wise words from president Sarkozy “With you they learnt that reading was not a punishment, it was also a source of pleasure.”

I don’t know why Jo is so reluctant, to publish her new book which she must have finished by now, telling that it will not sale the same as Harry’s. Well she will only know after letting us read it. Whatever it will be, I am sure a lot of us will love it. I am hopeful that it will come soon.

Posted by Eva Hedwig on February 04, 2009, 12:39 AM report to moderator
31 Points

Good for her! Congratulations, Jo!

Just thought I’d also mention that this was worthy of a mention on Rachel Maddow’s show… :- )

Posted by The Star Fisher on February 04, 2009, 12:41 AM report to moderator
765 Points

If President Sarkozy is quoted correctly, it is rather unfortunate. He said, “With you they learnt that reading was not a punishment, it was also a source of pleasure.” It’s that little word ‘also’ that was ill-advised. He’s effectively saying that reading can be a punishment. Well, maybe Stephen King would agree with him!

Posted by Verity Weasley on February 04, 2009, 01:44 AM report to moderator
2570 Points

Congrats, Jo! This is SO AMAZING, I’m so happy for you!!!

Posted by TheCrogePodge on February 04, 2009, 01:48 AM report to moderator
804 Points

I find it ironic that she has been knighted by the French. Doesn’t she also have a knighthood from Britain? Can you really be a defender of both the British and French empires? Seems a bit contradictory to me.

Posted by Aduende on February 04, 2009, 02:56 AM report to moderator
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