A Harry Potter fan penned a heartfelt letter to J.K. Rowling detailing her struggles. The 22-year-old fan admitted that she had to resort to self-harm after being bullied and sexually assaulted. She also tried to commit suicide eight times. The British author read her letter and gifted her with a handwritten “Expecto Patronum.”
Expecto Patronum refers to the special spell in Rowling’s series that chases away the “dementors” that frighten and suck out all the happiness from a person. When uttered, Expecto Patronum yields the “patronus” – a white animal-shaped substance that wards off the terrifying entities. Harry’s patronus is stag-shaped.
The fan wants to have the spell tattooed on her wrist, the portion of her body she self-harms the most. The tattoo will serve as a reminder for her not to inflict pain on herself. Apart from granting the fan’s wish, Rowling accompanied her gift with a message.”I love that you’re working to heal and protect yourself. You deserve this. I hope it helps,” it read.
— ㅤKate△⃒⃘ 31daysclean (@AlwaysJLover) May 11, 2016
Kate told Mirror Online that Harry Potter always helps her whenever she’s feeling low. She never thought that Rowling would respond, and after she did, Kate felt that Rowling truly cares for her fans. As for the fan, her patronus comes in the form of a woman.
“The spell is about protecting yourself – creating a powerful force from your happiest and strongest memories, like Harry did. I know that your patronus is supposed to be an animal, but in my case it’s the woman who saved my life.The fact that she took the time to read my letter and not only respond with a wonderful message, but also write the spell and send it to me – that means more than the world to me.”
She’ll get the tattoo in about two weeks’ time and hopes that it will set the path for her recovery process. She is thankful to Rowling, whom she called “an angel who saves people with her magical pen and her big heart.”
One of the traits that endears Rowling to her fans is her honesty about the past struggles in her life. Prior to writing a series that sold more than 450 million copies across the globe, Rowling was a single mother who had to rely on unemployment benefits.
She thought of taking her own life after parting ways with her first husband, Portuguese journalist Jorge Arantes. Rowling had to undergo cognitive behavioral therapy for nine months to overcome her suicidal urges. She said that it was her daughter who inspired her to deal with depression.
“Mid-twenties, my life circumstances were poor and I really plummeted. The thing that made me go for help was probably my daughter. She was something that earthed me, grounded me, and I thought, this isn’t right, she cannot grow up with me in this state.”
Her Harry Potter manuscript was rejected 12 times, and while she doubted herself, her determination to produce something meaningful inspired her to continue. Today, Rowling does her best to support charitable causes.
Rowling’s charity, Lumos, provides vulnerable children with access to education, health, and other programs to protect them and improve their lives. Following the incredible success of her books, Rowling established the foundation in 2005. Apart from writing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, she was also pregnant with her third child at that time.
She basically had no time to establish a charity, but after seeing a photograph of a caged boy in The Sunday Times, she decided to help end the abuse and suffering of children. She found out that the boy wasn’t the only one being treated that way by the orphanage.
“The image of that boy’s face marked me. I couldn’t get it, or the story, out of my mind. He was a very young disabled child, who was being kept in a cage bed around the clock.”
Potterheads may support Lumos, and at the same time, enjoy the upcoming Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play. Proceeds from ticket sales for the September 18 shows will benefit the charity. Tickets for the benefit performances are now on sale through an auction.
[Image by Ian Gavan/Getty Images]