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A Magical Turn Around: What Celebrity Went from Suicidal to Superlative?

Most of today’s films are adapted from books or plays; Romeo and Juliet is one of the most popular tales to build a plot line from, but think about how popular The Hunger Games, The Lord of the Rings and the Bridget Jones series have become, all of which originated from books. Films can even be adapted from previous films; just this year, there has been a remake of Beauty and the Beast and King Kong. But when it comes to book-to-film adaptations, there is one title that sticks out with a neon-lit crown and a throne of adoring fans.

Harry Potter has become so phenomenally popular over the last couple of decades and as a result, have made the author one of the most revered heroes alive today. But we are sure most of you will not know the story of J.K. Rowling. What did she live through? How did Harry Potter come to be? What battles did she fight her way through?

Just Joanne.

The worldwide phenomenon of Harry Potter was bound for the future on 31st July 1965, when Joanne Rowling was born. At that point, she was just Joanne Rowling with nothing special about her – an ordinary little girl with her whole life ahead of her, like a blank page ready for her sketch her life on. Apart from her love of story-telling, that is. She could virtually read and write stories before she had learnt her ABCs, a was a self-professed book worm from a very early age. Unfortunately, it has been said that her relationship with her father was rather strained, and her mother was ill, so even at this brittle age Joanne was facing problems with her self-belief and self-motivation.

At the age of 17, Joanne received the first serious rejection of her life – she was denied a place at Oxford University. But good old Joanne, she didn’t let is squash her; she studied at the University of Exeter where she learnt all about French and Classics (which would come in handy later on when she was giving the magical world of Harry Potter it’s Latin-based spells.) Proving her worth, she graduated in 1986 and moved to London for work.

“You’re a wizard, Harry.”

After a few years in London, Joanne moved away from London to live with her boyfriend in Manchester. It was around this time that she was on a delayed train, minding her own business, when a young, bespectacled boy with a wand in his hand and a lightning-bolt shaped scar on his forehead intruded her thoughts. Just an idea at that point, Joanna had no idea that she had just conjured up the character that would not only change her life, but have an incomprehensible impact upon the world in general. All she knew was that she wanted to give that magical orphan a voice and a story.

Warning: these next few sentences may make you well-up. Joanne’s mother, Anne Rowling, had always been ill, but her death hit Joanne hard, sending her into a tornado of emotion and pain. Multiple Sclerosis took Joanne’s mother away only a few months after the landmark train journey. Anne never knew Harry Potter or the success he would bring to her daughter. (Yes, I can see those tears behind your eyes.)

An over-seas job seemed to be a good idea for Joanne, to help her overcome her mother’s death, so she spent some time in Portugal teaching English. It was here that she met a man, married him, fell pregnant and gave birth to her daughter Jessica in 1993. Yet, even more turmoil had come with this experience since there were reports of domestic abuse towards Joanna, not long followed by a divorce. Poor Joanne saw herself as a cracked pot just one clumsy hit away from shattering and retreated to Edinburgh to live with her sister. At this point, she had only written three chapters of Harry Potter, and when Joanna was diagnosed with clinical depression, it looked like Harry Potter would never arrive. She even suffered through a suicidal spell.

Joanne to J.K. Rowling.

The manuscript for the first Harry Potter book was finished in 1995, and still, Joanne had a few hurdles to overcome. These hurdles were publishers. Twelve of them in fact, who rejected her magical novel – we bet they’re feeling pretty silly now. It wasn’t until 1996 when the publishing house Bloomsbury agreed to print and sell Joanne’s book, and by 1997, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was on the shelves. And it wasn’t only the books that followed. In 2001, a film adaptation of the first Harry Potter gave the world a visual window which soared sky high, already popular from the books.

By 2004, Forbes magazine had named Rowling as the first author to become a billionaire through books. In 2007, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was the fastest selling book ever, selling 2.65 million in just 24 hours within the UK. Today, Harry Potter has been translated into 79 languages and has had 450 million copies sold worldwide. Since then, Rowling has received an OBE for her services to children’s literature.

Flying High.

J.K. Rowling suffered through rejections, abuse and suicidal thoughts for Harry Potter, but having done so, she has had an impact on the world to such an extent that his name shall live forever. Alongside hers, of course. Try taking a leaf out of Rowling’s book and believe in your talents, giving them every opportunity possible to bring your life’s ambition into reality.

For more inspirational stories, read our blog: www.enlightenea.co.uk/blog

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