France honoured Harry Potter’s author J.K. RowlingFebruary 4th, 2009 - 1:28 pm ICT by Amrit Rashmisrisethi
J.K Rowling, Harry Potter’s author brought a second French Legion of Honor award into her family on Tuesday, decades after her great-grandfather received the honor for battlefield courage during World War I.
President Nicolas Sarkozy bestowed the title of knight in the Legion of Honour on Rowling, who used her acceptance speech to apologise for the quality of her French accent and for having given one of the villains in her series a French name.
Rowling’s great-grandfathers was French, had received it in 1924 for his courage in the Battle of Verdun during the First World War, she said.
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.
Mr Sarkozy hailed her for entrancing countless French children.
‘Thanks to this internationally renowned saga, you have contributed to giving young people the taste for reading again,’ Mr Sarkozy said before pinning the Legion of Honour medal on her. ‘With you, they understand that reading is not punishment, but a source of pleasure.’
The British writer leapt to worldwide fame with the 1997 publication of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,’ the first of her mega-hit seven-part series. The books have sold more than 400 million copies and been translated into 67 languages, including French. In 2003, even before it was translated into French, ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ - the fifth book in the series - became the first book in English ever to top the French best-sellers’ list.
Other foreign celebrities who’ve been inducted into the Legion of Honour included American actor Jerry Lewis, director Steven Spielberg, singer Barbra Streisand and Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.
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