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Born in Yate, Gloucestershire, England, Rowling was working as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International when she conceived the idea for the Harry Potter series while on a delayed train from Manchester to London in 1990.
The seven-year period that followed saw the death of her mother, birth of her first child, divorce from her first husband and relative poverty until the first novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was published in 1997.
The fourth film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, was directed by Mike Newell, and released on 18 November 2005. Rowling also demanded that Coca-Cola, the victor in the race to tie in their products to the film series, donate US million to the American charity Reading is Fundamental, as well as several community charity programs.
The film of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released on 11 July 2007. filmed the final instalment of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in two segments, with part one being released on 19 November 2010 and part two being released on 15 July 2011. Director Steven Spielberg was approached to direct the first film, but dropped out.
Rowling said that she "nearly died" when she heard the news.
This gap led to press speculation that Rowling had developed writer's block, speculations she denied. The film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released on 4 June 2004, directed by Alfonso Cuarón.
Rowling originally believed he had won the Légion d'honneur during the war, as she said when she received it herself in 2009.
She later discovered the truth when featured in an episode of the UK genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?
, in which she found out it was a different Louis Volant who won the Legion of Honour.
When she heard his story of bravery and discovered the croix de guerre was for "ordinary" soldiers like her grandfather, who had been a waiter, she stated the croix de guerre was "better" to her than the Legion of Honour.
The press has repeatedly claimed that Rowling played a role in his departure, but Rowling stated that she had no say in who directed the films and would not have vetoed Spielberg.