When inspiration strikes, you must grasp it, lest it vanish forever. Author J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series of books took the world by storm, spawning an insanely successful film series, a play, video games, toys, theme park sections, and countless other products and ideas. Harry Potter is a brand unto itself and has become a literary and pop culture touchstone for an entire generation. J.K. Rowling's work now finds itself among distinguished company and has the pop culture resonance, influence and everlasting qualities also found in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, George Lucas and Stan Lee. It perhaps would not be so had the author not seized on inspiration using any means necessary. As she tells it, the best thing she ever wrote wasn't exactly put on the finest of stationary. She recently revealed:
The best thing I ever wrote on was an aeroplane sick bag. Came up with the Hogwarts houses on it.
Harry Potter is so a part of our modern pop culture that it might be easy to wonder why on Earth she would use a sick bag to write on -- I mean these things are used to hold vomit. But J.K. Rowling first came up with the idea in 1990 and the first book was published in 1997. This is a long time before we carried phones in our pockets with millions of times the processing power it took to send a man to the moon. Back then, without the magic of screens, we had to use old-fashioned pens and paper, little better than the beasts. So, if you weren't carrying around a notebook and were unwilling to rip a page out of the SkyMall magazine, well you had to make do. And as she explained on Twitter, it wound up being the best thing she ever wrote. We should all be glad she did.
The Hogwarts Houses are such an integral part of the Harry Potter story and they provide an interesting contrast to the wizarding school trope found in other stories in the genre. The unique characteristics of each house, their mascots, colors, histories and personality traits all make for an exciting dynamic that fans love to be a part of. Fans of the series can show their spirit by repping the colors of their favorite house, or the one assigned to them by the Sorting Hat on Pottermore. (Gryffindor y'all.)
After creating a pillar of the literary and pop culture worlds, J.K. Rowling could have rode off into the sunset in a gilded chariot carrying all of her millions. But instead, she has continued to prove that she is not a one-trick pony. The author has continued to write novels and has shown an adeptness at screenwriting with her work on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. J.K. Rowling seems intent on stoking our imaginations for years to come and to think, it all could have been ruined if she had gotten sick on a plane! J.K. Rowling's writing can again be seen brought to life on screen in next year's Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, in theaters November 16, 2018. For all the biggest movies in the coming year, check out our release schedule.