Life

The Magical Bond Between JK Rowling and the Golden Toad that Inspired Harry Potter

   In August 2023, when JK Rowling, the author of “Harry Potter” and famous writer, celebrated her birthday, she posted her birthday cake pattern on social networking sites – Tai Chi Bagua array! JK Rowling has mentioned her love for Chinese culture more than once. In her famous fantasy novels “Harry Potter” and “Fantastic Beasts”, many animals from Chinese mythology are involved, such as phoenixes, fire dragons, etc. Interestingly, her favorite animal is the golden toad.
  From the first time he met a golden toad to becoming his most special pet, the mysterious golden toad inspired JK Rowling’s infinite creativity. The golden toad “exerted” its “magic”, changing JK Rowling’s tortuous and tragic fate, and finally allowed her to create a brilliant fantasy life and go through the darkest moments in her life. So, what is the indissoluble bond between JK Rowling and Golden Toad?
  Golden toads first appeared, accompanying each other by the pond. On
   July 31, 1965, JK Rowling was born in Gwent, England. Her father, Peter Rowling, was a manager at the Royce Rolle aircraft factory. , mother Anna is a laboratory technician.
   Before she was born, her parents longed for a boy, but what appeared in front of them was a not-so-beautiful baby girl. The parents were very disappointed. Even the name was chosen out of hand. The originally prepared name was just Simon John. It can be discarded because it is prepared to welcome a boy.
   Rowling was always ignored by her parents. To them, Rowling was just a “superfluous” mistake. However, the younger sister, who is also a girl, is regarded as the treasure of her parents and is pampered to the extreme. Little Rowling didn’t understand this very much, but the facts were right in front of her.
   In the neglect of her parents, the isolated Rowling became more and more silent. When she was alone, she could only talk to sparrows, frogs and other small animals. She loved these little creatures and often told them to other animals in her stories.
   When she was 7 years old, her family moved to 35 Nicholls Lane, Winterbourne, four miles away, and Rowling entered primary school. But because she was too silent and a foreigner, her classmates deliberately kept a distance from her. At home, her parents ignored her, and at school she didn’t get the friendships she dreamed of, making her even more lonely. Rowling had no choice but to immerse her wounded heart in words. Besides reading, her favorite thing is still chatting with small animals. Only they are willing to listen to herself.
   One day after school, Rowling went to the pond to talk to a frog. Suddenly, a golden light flashed in front of her eyes, and she actually saw a golden toad. The golden toad is about 4 centimeters long. It is different from frogs and also very different from ordinary toads because its whole body is golden and its skin is shiny and bright, as if it is plated with a layer of gold. It is lovable at first sight.
   Rowling couldn’t help but stretched out her hand and gently stroked the golden toad’s upper back: “Don’t be afraid, I like you.” The golden toad seemed to understand her words, and actually remained motionless, letting her little hand rest on his back. Go upstream. Rowling stroked and talked at the same time, telling it all her thoughts.
   The golden toad opened his eyes wide, as if he were an attentive listener. When parting, Luo Lin was reluctant to leave: “I will come again tomorrow, will you come again?” The golden toad shook his head a few times, as if making a promise.
   After school the next day, Luo Lin still came to the pond, but she didn’t see the shadow of the golden toad. She was a little disappointed, turned around and searched around. Except for a few birds flying over the water, everything was still the same. She sat by the pond in annoyance. Suddenly, the golden toad quietly crawled out of the woods behind her. Every step seemed to be filled with expectation and determination.
   In the following days, Rowling met Golden Toad every day, and they became the most intimate friends. With the Golden Toad in her company, Rowling was no longer lonely. She fell in love with writing and wrote the Golden Toad into her own stories. In order to understand the golden toad, she also looked up a lot of information. It turns out that the golden toad is a small spiritual animal.
   In the creation myth of the ancient Egyptians of Hermepolis, the world was structured by eight creator gods, four of whom represented the primordial forces of nature—water, immortality, darkness, and air. It’s a creature with a golden toad head.
   The early Aztecs described the mother of the earth and the goddess Traltecutli as a squatting golden toad with thick hair, a wide mouth, and huge fangs. She uses this gesture to create new life and spit out dead souls from her mouth, symbolizing the cycle of life and death.
   According to Mongolian legends, in ancient times, there was only ocean in the world. One day, Buddha, the Lord of the Universe, flew over the water in search of a way to create land. Buddha saw a golden toad swimming in the water and sprinkled sand on its back to create the earth. The Buddha then shot the golden toad with an arrow. The arrow on its left side turned into a mineral-rich area, while the arrow shaft extending out on its right side turned into a forest. The fire from its mouth formed a field of fire in the north, and the water spurted from its tail turned the south into an ocean. The earth is still on the golden toad’s back, and when it moves its body, earthquakes occur.
   Rowling believes that the Golden Toad is a god with “magic”. It must have seen that she was too lonely, so it came to save herself. Every time she sees the golden toad, Rowling always smiles. She firmly believes that it will bring good luck to her.
  In the autumn of 1976, accompanied by Golden Toad, Rowling was admitted to Wydeen Comprehensive School in Sedbury with excellent results. On the first day of school, she had to say goodbye to the golden toad: “Take care, I will come to see you during the holidays.” However, a few months later, when Rowling returned to the pond, the golden toad was missing. Staring at the quiet river, Luo Lin felt lost, wondering if she would ever have the chance to meet the golden toad again in this life.    In the spring of 1987, Rowling graduated from the University of Exeter and was assigned to teach at the University of Manchester
  .
For the past ten years, she has been missing the golden toad. Every summer vacation, she would go to the pond to spend a day. She even imagined countless ways to encounter the golden toad, but unfortunately, the golden toad never appeared.
   After joining the workforce and having a steady income, Rowling decided to raise a golden toad. However, this magical little animal is not easy to find. The first golden toad was only discovered in 1966. More than ten years later, only 1,500 adult golden toads have been recorded.
   Rowling searched many places and finally asked a friend to find a golden toad. This is a female golden toad, slightly larger in size, and almost identical in appearance to the one from back then. Every time she sees it, Rowling seems to have returned to her youth. In order to commemorate the kindness of knowing each other, Rowling named this golden toad “Yi Toad”. Yi Chan is very docile, and Luo Lin also believes that it will definitely bring good luck to her.
   Sure enough, one week after adopting Yichan, Luo Lin’s love came as expected.
   That evening, Rowling went to a cafe with some friends. While they were drinking, they happened to catch a glimpse of a handsome boy at the next table looking at her. The boy’s name was George Arantes, a journalism student. He said that when he first saw Rowling, he was attracted by her blue eyes and keen gaze.

   Although Rowling found it a bit abrupt, she was still deeply attracted. Because she found that the two of them had one thing in common, which was that they both loved reading. Rowling was reading Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” at the time, and Arantes happened to have just finished reading this book. So, they talked very speculatively, and then moved from the book to the golden toad.
   Arantes said: “I also like the golden toad because it is related to love. Pliny the Elder attributed ‘the power to keep feelings sincere and eternal and promote harmony between lovers’ to this animal, and the Romans wore The golden toad amulet to ensure that their love will never fade.”
   Rowling was suddenly attracted, and that night, they exchanged phone numbers with each other, and Rowling gave him a kiss. But love life is destined to be more than just sweetness. After getting along for a long time, the friction between the two increased. Over time, the relationship between Rowling and Arantes became very extreme. They often quarreled, and each time they broke up unhappy, but after a while, they would get tired of being together and talking to each other again.
   During the quarrel, Rowling unexpectedly became pregnant, and Arantes decided to propose to her. Thinking of the baby in her belly, Rowling agreed. But she never expected that Arantes would soon reveal his true colors after getting married. He was often violent at home, took drugs and beat Rowling.
   After Rowling’s daughter Jessica was born, she quit her job to take care of her children. Being unemployed, she was even more unpopular with Arantes. When Jessica was two months old, they had a fierce quarrel. At five o’clock in the morning, Arantes drove Rowling and her mother out into the street and slapped her in the face.
   The cold night wind and deep fear finally made Rowling realize the reality. Completely desperate, she returned to Edinburgh with her daughter and resolutely divorced Arantes. However, Arantes did not agree to the divorce. He used both soft and hard tactics to obstruct the divorce in every possible way. Later, he threatened the custody of his daughter.
   The night was already very deep, and Luo Lin didn’t know where to go. With a sigh, she held Yichan in her arms and felt its shining golden body temperature. But she didn’t expect that the always docile Yi Chan would break free from her arms and jump to the ground. It jumped forward on the floor, jumped to the corner, and then turned back. Every time it jumped, it would pause for a while, explore Rowling with its eyes, and then jump again. Stop for a while, explore again, and jump again.
   For a moment, Luo Lin suddenly understood that Yichan could do every jump and persistence, so why couldn’t she? Thinking of this, Rowling decided that no matter how difficult it was to get a divorce, she still had to win over her daughter.
   In 1993, after a long period of hard work, Rowling finally successfully divorced. But after the divorce, life was not easy for a single mother with her daughter. Rowling has always had a sensitive relationship with her parents, which prevented her from receiving support from her parents.
  When she was most embarrassed, her unemployment benefit was only enough to pay the rent, and even the 600-pound rental deposit was paid by friends. Rowling had to apply for a government subsistence allowance of 70 pounds per week, but she still could not maintain her thin life. Life.
   This series of blows made Luo Lin almost collapse. Looking at Yi Chan who had been accompanying her, she decided to live. She often thought: “Life is already so bad, how much worse can it be? Life will always get better.”
   One day, Rowling was on a business trip from Manchester to London. During the train journey, a thin, wearing The little black-haired boy with glasses kept smiling at her from the car window. His appearance gave Rowling the idea of ​​​​creating. Perhaps writing could change her life dilemma. Although she didn’t have paper or pen at hand at the time, she had already begun to imagine wildly. Thus, the protagonist was born – an 11-year-old boy with a thin stature, messy black hair, bright green eyes, round glasses, and a thin, lightning-shaped scar on his forehead.
  Harry Potter is about to be born and become a fairy tale character popular all over the world.
  In 1994, Rowling decided to give it a try and
   started pushing her baby stroller to a coffee shop to write every day. A few years later, Rowling, accompanied by Yichan and her daughter, continued to write and finally completed “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”. But she never expected that no publishing house would be willing to cooperate with a little-known author like her.
   After being rejected by major publishing houses 12 times in a row, she was completely desperate. Late one night, Luo Lin was awakened by endless anxiety. She got up and walked in the yard, but suddenly she saw Yichan’s back arched, and the surface of its body was as moist as sweat. It used its claws to tear itself hard. It turned out that it was ” Shedding clothes”.
   “Compendium of Materia Medica” records: The shells taken off by toads are called “Toad Treasure” and “Yueso”, commonly known as “Toad Clothes”. It has the magical effects of strengthening the body and strengthening the root, breaking through blood stasis, fighting cancer and reducing swelling, which is really rare. Rare medicine. In fact, the reason why the golden toad sheds its skin is, like many animals, that when its outer skin has restrained its body and grown, it will shed its outer skin, freeing itself from the restraints and breaking out of its skin to be reborn.
   Rowling had only seen in books that toads could “shed their clothes”, but today she finally saw it. Yi Toad can be reborn, so she can too! Thinking of this, Rowling decided to revise the manuscript again. She believed that someone would like this novel. The novel tells the story of a little boy with a tragic life experience who enters the magical world by fate. As he grows up, he has to constantly face the hardships of the outside world and the darkness in his heart, until he finally becomes the savior – Harry Potter’s experience in To a certain extent, it is also the history of Rowling’s struggle.
   In the novel, Rowling inserted the golden toad into the mix. The school in the novel is very strictly managed, but students are allowed to bring three animals into the school as pets, namely owls, cats and golden toads. The pet kept by Neville Longbottom is a golden back named Leif. toad. Neville is very forgetful, causing Leif to often get lost. In the book’s finale, Lyf finally slips into the Hogwarts lake and joins his brethren.
   In 1997, after Rowling revised the novel, she submitted it again. Finally, a small publishing house called Blooms Bury was willing to publish it, but the price offered was only a meager £1,500, and the first printing was only 500 copies. The publisher also suggested that because readers of fantasy novels are mostly boys, they were worried that Rowling’s female identity would affect the sales of her works, and persuaded her to use a gender-neutral pen name.
   Seeing that the manuscript was finally published, Rowling was very happy even though the remuneration was very low. Even if it was a slightly sexist request to change her pen name, she agreed. In this way, she changed her name to JK Rowling, who is now a household name.
   To everyone’s surprise, the novel attracted much attention as soon as it was published, received rave reviews, and won numerous awards, including the British National Book Award for Children’s Fiction, the Smarty Book Gold Medal Award, and other awards.
   One day, Rowling suddenly received a call from her agent, informing her that the copyright of the book was being auctioned in the United States. An American publisher was very interested in the book and was willing to buy the publishing rights of the book in the United States for a high price of US$105,000. .
   Suddenly, Rowling’s world changed dramatically. Her bank account received a lot of money every day, and she and her daughter moved from a rental house to a villa. She lived a life that she could not even imagine in her dreams.

   Later, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was put on the screen. During the filming, due to insufficient preparation by the crew, no adult golden-backed toad suitable for the role could be found. The director originally wanted to use a sand toad instead, but after seeking Rowling’s opinion, Rowling firmly opposed it and said that the golden-backed toad must appear on the stage, and “lent” her pet Yi Toad to the crew.
   Rowling has always believed that the golden toad is her lucky god. Toads have been closely associated with magic throughout European history, and they were believed to be able to cure the Black Death caused by magic. In Rowling’s eyes, it is the magic of the golden toad that protects her, and her novels are constantly translated into various languages, allowing readers in different countries and languages ​​to be immersed in her fairy tale dream and unwilling to wake up.
   If it is true that the golden toad made her successful, then the golden toad’s love for her continues. In December 2001, love for Rowling came unexpectedly. On Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, she got married to anesthetist Neil Murray at their new home in Scotland.
   In March 2003, they had a son named David. In January 2005, another cute little girl, Mackenzie, came to the family. Today, Rowling lives happily in Edinburgh with her husband and three children.
   However, what made Rowling sad was that Yi Toad died of a serious illness. When she tried to find a golden toad some time later, she found that this species could no longer be found. It turns out that global warming has made the golden toad’s living environment difficult, and then it happened to encounter the dual ravages of El Niño and La Niña. The former made the weather where the golden toad lives hot and dry, and the latter intensified the drought in this area. . Golden toads, which cannot survive without water, died in large numbers, and the eggs they laid dried up and died. Coupled with infection by chytrid fungus, parasites and air pollution, this species has declined rapidly, and the golden toad is classified as extinct (EX) on the “IUCN Red List of Threatened Species”.
   Seeing this result, Rowling felt heavy. The golden toad has magic and can make people reborn. Why didn’t they protect themselves?
   In order to commemorate the golden toad, Rowling paid a high price at the auction for a toad stone. It’s a brown stone that doesn’t sparkle in the sun, but what’s amazing about it is that in poison, the stone changes color and temperature. What’s more, it is said that this kind of toad stone comes from the mind of an old toad. Owning it is equivalent to having close contact with the golden toad.
   Regardless of whether this legend is true or not, Rowling always feels that the golden toad will not become extinct because species of the genus Toad that are closely related to the golden toad can live up to 12 years. Scientists have analyzed that they may be hiding, or there may still be surviving golden toads underground. toad. Moreover, they have magic, maybe they are hiding somewhere to practice, and maybe one day they will be reborn.
   In 2020, Rowling spent $3.54 million to buy the small villa where she lived when she was young. This property was the inspiration for the “Harry Potter” series of books. The Gothic-style cottage features vaulted ceilings, stone windows and under-stairs cupboards. Fans have likened it to the house where Harry was imprisoned by his evil Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, and it also has a weird trap door in the dining room, just like the one in the novel when Harry was searching for the Philosopher’s Stone.
   Next to the other courtyard is the pond that used to be there. Rowling often comes here and stands by the former pond. The wind is clear and the water is calm, and the faint fragrance floats. It seems that everything is the same as before, and there is a golden toad crawling quietly.

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