On a delayed train ride from Manchester to King’s Cross in London, the characters in the Harry Potter series sprang from the pen of the one and only, J.K Rowling. In the following six years, Rowling created a magical world consisting of everything from elves, to witches and wizards, to goblins, and an array of other enticing characters.

The Harry Potter series is one of the most famous fictional book series in the world and has made Rowling one of the most well-renowned authors worldwide. While she has left quite a legacy, Rowling had a modest begin to her career.

Rowling lost her mother to multiple sclerosis, her first marriage consisted of a divorce and a miscarriage, and she suffered from deep depression.

It is no secret that the Harry Potter series has a large fan base, but to J.K Rowling, the success of the series saved her life. When her first marriage failed, Rowling and her daughter moved to the UK and lived in a cramped apartment. The first books of the series were written in cafes with her daughter sleeping alongside her. Relying almost entirely on state benefits in the wake of a failed marriage, being jobless, raising her daughter alone, and on the brink of becoming homeless, she saw herself as the biggest failure one could be. Rowling then began to consider suicide as her only option to get herself out of the downward spiral her life was on.

With no job and nobody to turn to, she, instead, turned to her imagination and using her past experiences and passion for writing, the world of Harry Potter began to come alive on the pages of her first book. It was this that pulled her out of her deep depression, the books gave her life a purpose, a reason to keep moving forward, and an outlet to express her struggles with depression through fictional characters and events in the books.

Finally, after multiple attempts and rejections in an effort to get her series published, Bloomsbury, a publishing house in London, gave the Harry Potter series a chance. They published the first book, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” in 1997. Since the first, six more have come along. The series, seven books in total, has since sold more than 450 million copies, won numerous awards, become a series of eight movies, and entirely changed the course of Rowling’s life. Rowling’s struggle led her to create an empire in her name.

        Since the massive success that is Harry Potter, Forbes estimated Rowling’s to be worth one billion dollars in 2011. She was later taken off the list after giving a large chunk of her wealth to charities. On her website, Rowling says that the best thing wealth has given her is the absence of worry from her life, helping her to further pull herself away from her previously very dark and grim world.  

“I have not forgotten what it feels like to worry whether you’ll have enough money to pay the bills. Not to have to think about that anymore is the biggest luxury in the world,” said Rowling.

        To this day, Rowling is not ashamed of her past dealing with deep depression and considering suicide. She receives letters and emails from many of her readers asking for her help as they battle with personal mental disorders, and she is happy to give her guidance and thoughts.Writing proved to be the best therapy for Rowling and has given her the influence to make a difference in both the world of writers and the world of those dealing with mental disorders.

Some write for money, some for fame, but Rowling wrote to find comfort in the worst times of her life, to pull herself and her daughter through times of darkness and into a brighter world.

As Albus Dumbledore would say, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” For Rowling, her light was the Harry Potter series waiting to be expressed on paper, and once she turned it on she found happiness, even in her darkest, most woeful of times.



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