Friday, March 16, 2007

Confirmed: Rowling is a Chestertonian

We've talked back and forth here for some time about Harry Potter. And people have claimed that she writes very Chestertonianly, but without direct proof. Now we have proof.

A few days ago, someone was defending Joanne Rowling on a message board I belong to. This person stated that if we could judge a person by the company she keeps, then judge Rowling by this: Her favorite poem is one of Belloc's. Her favorite painting is a Caravaggio--Supper at Emmaus. She quotes Dorothy Sayers, and, according to this source, was a member of the UK Chestertonian group.

This last little tidbit caught my immediate attention. So I emailed a US Chestertonian who emailed a UK Chestertonian, who was privy to rosters of members, and this person said that when he inherited the roster, Joanne Rowling's name WAS ON IT. Since then, they haven't been able to contact her for her renewal, but she may still consider herself a member, and in any case, she *was* on the roster, and therefore, she *is* a Chestertonian in my book.

So, there you have it. Now we will invite her to come to a ChesterCon in the future, and tell us all about her connections to Chesterton. You heard it here first, folks!

UPDATE: Roving Medievalist reminded me that he predicted a Rowling/Catholic connection a while ago.


  1. I knew about the Belloc poem (I can e-mail you which one) and I knew she's a member (or at least was at one time) of the UK Chesterton society.

    I did not know about the Carravagio, however. He is one of my favorite artists (my fave is The Calling of St. Matthew).

    Which message board is it?

  2. Catholic Writer's Online.

  3. Here's a link to that painting:

    Fair trade: what's the title of that Belloc poem, Chestertonian? Got a link for it?

  4. Actually I think that painting tells us something important.

    The story of Jesus with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus is truly the denoument of a detective story, and the only one in which the Master Detective (in disguise, even!) solves His own murder.

    VERY suggestive.

  5. The Belloc she likes is Verse 22 of the Dedicatory Ode. I tried searching for it but failed, so if Chestertonian has it, I'd love to see it.

  6. No, it's a long poem, called "Jim, Who Ran Away From His Nurse and Was Eaten by a Lion."

    A couple of years ago, John Granger sent me an e-mail telling of the publication of a book in the UK that was a collection of favorite poems by English authors. The Belloc poem was Rowling's entry.

  7. "Jim who was..." Isn't that also part of the book "Cautionary tales for Children" by Belloc and most recently illustrated by Gorey? I have it out from the library(again) right now. One of My Favorites, A bit dark and twisted. It is not suprising JK Rowling likes it, her sense of humor seems to be similar.

  8. Yes, "Jim" is from "Cautionary Tales for Children." The Gorey edition is perfectly illustrated.

  9. I like your post and a nice discussion...

    Jitendra Kumar


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