we were a bit late in getting into the harry potter thing. i think the first 2 movies had already come out, but once i bought them for the kids, we were pretty much hooked. not that there weren't aspects of the stories that i didn't like, but on the whole they were a pretty good read. so much better than other popular children's books like the twilight series (puke) or the eragon novels (the third one particularly annoyed me).
about joanne rowling, i knew very little. i don't read gossip magazines or entertainment pages on the internet, so i was largely unaware of her personal life. however, it was a link to this speech she gave at harvard which made me admire her as a person, not just as an author.
last night on prime, there was a really good 1 hour programme following her life for a year, as she finished off the final novel of the harry potter series & the 5th movie was released. i thought it was really well done, and brought out her personality really well. the thing i most admire about her is her compassion and humility. the fact that she remembers the hard times in her life, and even though she is now phenomenally successful, she recognises that poverty is mostly circumstantial & is largely determined by the way society is structured.
also admirable is her sense of inclusiveness. that came out quite clearly in the books, but it's something that she articulates really well. given the popularity of her books, she is well aware of the ability she has of having a positive influence on many people. it seems to me that she is making the most of that ability.