J.K. Rowling Gave Her Dad A Harry Potter First Edition, And He Promptly Sold It

He didn't much care for her Father's Day gift.
J.K. Rowling Gave Her Dad A Harry Potter First Edition, And He Promptly Sold It

In June of 2000, J.K. Rowling gifted her father a first edition of Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire. On the dedication page was this message: "To Peter Rowling, in memory of Mr. Ridley and to Susan Sladden, who helped Harry out of his cupboard." If you own the book, your copy says the same thing—it was dedicated to her father Peter (and to those unimportant two other people). 

The copy she gave her dad for Father's Day also had a unique handwritten message. "Lots of love from your first born," it said, followed by nine x's, for kisses. Truly, his daughter had given him an irreplaceable gift.

So, he sold it. In 2003, he put it up for auction, along with six other books she'd gifted him. This was highly irresponsible of him, both from both a parental angle and a financial one. Had he held on to the books for a few more years, he would have made much more money selling them. As it was, the four books he offered fetched a combined £50,000. Three books from the set failed to sell at all because no one was willing to meet the minimum bid he specified.

Jo and Peter Rowling were estranged for a while before the dedication and again for a while after the book sale. Neither has publicly gone into detail about the original cause of the rift. Fans have tried to chart out their relationship, noting which weddings each attended and which each snubbed, but we'll avoid listing all those details, since that feels a little too stalkerish. Some people have also speculated that she based the abusive father in her book Casual Vacancy on Peter, but we're not going to make that assumption.

If we did want to seek answers in her books, we'd turn to Harry Potter, particularly since that's the piece of literature we on the internet are supposed to connect to everything. Maybe Jo is just bitter that her father didn't have the grace to heroically die, like virtually every father figure in Harry Potter does. Or maybe her dad actually read the book and then became enraged upon learning that she'd named the treacherous rat man "Peter."

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