20 Of J.K. Rowling's Most Inspiring Quotes

by Amy Sachs

If superheroes were a real thing, it's pretty much confirmed that the author of the Harry Potter books would not just be one — she would be the leader of them all. These J.K. Rowling quotes prove it, but her story does, too. I mean, before she was famous, she was seriously scraping by, writing what would become the most beloved series of all time on napkins. And she managed to persevere through bouts of severe depression, too.

Now that she's on the other side of things — having, you know, WRITTEN HARRY POTTER — J.K. Rowling leads foundations and causes to help people suffering the way she once was, because she knows that's no way of life. I'm just going out on a limb here, but I'm going to say that this is one woman who just gets it.

After all of her experiences, J.K. Rowling has some of the best words of wisdom around. Whether they come from the pages of a Harry Potter book, delivered to you through Hermione, Dumbledore, or Harry himself, or from her commencement speech to a Harvard graduating class, advice given by J.K. Rowling is surely advice you can trust. Here are 20 inspiring J.K. Rowling quotes, for when you could use just a little magic in your life. And own up to it: We all always can.

On Life

"We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”

Very Good Lives

“As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters."

Very Good Lives

"I have never been remotely ashamed of having been depressed. Never. What's to be ashamed of? I went through a really rough time and I am quite proud that I got out of that."

2008 USA Today interview

“Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone's total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.”

Very Good Lives

"It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

On Failure

“You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.”

Very Good Lives

“You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity.”

Very Good Lives.

"Luck can only get you so far."

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

"Humans have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them."

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

"There is an expiration date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.”

Very Good Lives

On Being Human

“If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

"Are you the sort of person who gloats when they see a woman fall, or the kind that celebrates a magnificent recovery?"


“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“Whatever money you might have, self-worth really lies in finding out what you do best.”

― 2005 Mugglenet interview

“Is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me.”

2006 Telegraph interview

On Knowledge

“Wit beyond measure is a man's greatest treasure.”

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“Curiosity is not a sin…. But we should exercise caution with our curiosity."

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“I think the willfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.”

Very Good Lives

“It was strange how your brain could know what your heart refused to accept.”

The Casual Vacancy

"The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive."

Very Good Lives

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