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I like JK Rowling.
I like her a lot.
Not just because she lived the ‘triumph-over-adversity’ story that I’m such a sucker for, but because she has continually demonstrated her will to help people help themselves to a better life.
Some of that has been through her incredible charitable donations, but some have been executed in very different ways.
I once watched an interview about the meaning behind her some of her Harry Potter characters.
She explained that the purpose of Lord Voldemort was to convey the feelings of depression. Where a spirit of darkness seemingly creeps up on you, envelops you and then leaves you feeling utterly helpless, useless and lonely.
Her purpose behind developing this character wasn’t to put fear into kids hearts … nor was it just to create an ‘enemy’ in the storyline … it was because she’d seem children starting to feel this way more and more and she wanted them to learn – through Harry & his friends – that reaching out and thinking positively and purposefully can help you to leave these feelings behind and go back to a life of colour and happiness.
In essence, she made Harry Potter literary prozac.
I love it.
I honestly believe the purpose of her most famous character is to teach the lessons of life that people used to turn to the bible for.
Until they realized it was the most contradictory, hypocritical book ever written.
But this isn’t about Harry Potter, this is about a recent book of hers … a book she didn’t want anyone to know she’d written.
Recently she wrote a book called, ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ under the name Robert Galbraith.
She said the experience was cathartic as she was able to write without the intense scrutiny of the literary masses and press.
Except the law firm who represented her decided to destroy this.
One of the partners, Chris Gossage, told a friend who the author of this book really was.
The friend, Judith Callegari, then decided to tell a journalist what was going on and before you know it – JK was exposed.
While this information transformed the success of the book – it went from being 4,709th on Amazon’s bestsellers list to number 1 – the author was incredibly distressed.
In addition, she was then abused by many people who said this was all a marketing ploy, designed to drive sales – and her profits.
Well she got them all back.
She successful sued the law firm for breach of trust [though personally I think the law society should now get involved for malpractice, but that’s another thing altogether] but the really cool thing is that she’s passed on the substantial damages she received – plus all the global net royalties of the book for a period of 3 years, starting from from July 14 2013th, the day that Galbraith’s identity was made known – to a charity that represents veteran soldiers.
And why that charity?
Because her book is about a veteran hero and it helped give her an even greater appreciation and understanding of exactly what that charity does for ex-servicemen and their families, and how much that support is needed..
In today’s cult of celebrity … where the media celebrate the ever-outrageous sums of money spent on houses, planes, boats, cars and jewelry with bigger and bigger headlines … here is a woman who not only appreciates what life is like for the majority of society, but uses her position to try and help improve it, especially for the millions upon millions of people who are overlooked, undervalued or simply ignored.
What’s sad is that anyone could do what she’s doing.
Not just rich people, but companies, adland and banks.
Helping others doesn’t mean sacrificing profit, in fact if you do it the right way, it can make you more.
Sadly, too few appreciate this, let alone do anything about it and that’s why JK Rowling is a bloody legend.
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