Harry James Potter is the titular character and the protagonist of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. The books cover seven years in the life of the lonely orphan who, on his eleventh birthday, learns he is a wizard. He attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn magic. Under the guidance of the kind headmaster Albus Dumbledore, Harry discovers that he is already famous throughout the wizarding world, and that his fate is tied with that of Lord Voldemort, the universally feared Dark wizard who killed Harry's mother and father.
According to Rowling, the idea for both the Harry Potter books and its eponymous protagonist came while waiting for a delayed train from Manchester to London in 1990. She stated that her idea for "this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who didn't know he was a wizard became more and more real to me". While she fleshed out the ideas for her book, she also decided to make Harry an orphan who attended a boarding school called Hogwarts. She explained in a 1999 interview with The Guardian: "Harry had to be an orphan — so that he's a free agent, with no fear of letting down his parents, disappointing them ... Hogwarts has to be a boarding school — half the important stuff happens at night! Then there's the security. Having a child of my own reinforces my belief that children above all want security, and that's what Hogwarts offers Harry."
Her own mother's death on 30 December 1990 inspired Rowling to write Harry Potter as a boy longing for his dead parents, his anguish becoming "much deeper, much more real" than in earlier drafts because she related to it herself. Finally, she established Harry's birth date as 31 July, the same as her own. However, she maintained that Harry was not directly based on any real-life character: "he came just out of a part of me".
Rowling has also maintained that Harry is a suitable real-life role model for children. "The advantage of a fictional hero or heroine is that you can know them better than you can know a living hero, many of whom you would never meet [...] if people like Harry and identify with him, I am pleased, because I think he is very likeable."
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Official Site: J.K. Rowling
Links: Harry Potter Wikipedia page "Harry Potter" (the saga) Wikipedia page "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Ston