The Increasingly Dark Tone of the Series Was Inspired by Rowling’s Life Experiences:
The Harry Potter series becomes considerably more sophisticated as it progresses, grappling with serious issues like death and bigotry. Rowling has been open about the fact that much of the darkness is autobiographical. Rowling told Oprah Winfrey that, though she did not realize it when she began writing the series, making Harry an orphan, along with his subsequent experiences with death, was her way of dealing with the death of her mother, who died of Multiple Sclerosis when Rowling was 20.
“If she hadn’t died, I don’t think it’s too strong to say that there wouldn’t be Harry Potter. The books are what they are because she died.” The Dementors, among the most frightening creatures in the franchise, were inspired by her struggles with depression during her 20s. “”It’s so difficult to describe to someone who’s never been there, because it’s not sadness. I know sadness. Sadness is to cry and to feel. But it’s that cold absence of feeling—that really hollowed-out feeling. That’s what Dementors are.”
Next, the interview below is an except from Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday regarding Dr. Eben Alexander’s book, “Proof of Heaven”. This example shows how important a mother’s love can be for the health and well-being of a child and adult.
Though Dr. Alexander had built a successful career and had a loving family, he still had questions about his biological parents. Prior to 2008, he tracked down his birth mother… only to learn that she did not want to meet him. After that, says Dr. Alexander, he experienced a deep sadness that threatened to derail everything in his life.
Oprah: You grew up feeling loved and appreciated, but when your biological mother… said she didn’t want to see you, you went into a sinkhole.
Dr. Alexander: It was absolutely devastating, because of the memory of feeling as if I was being thrown away. My adoptive father — a renowned neurosurgeon — would tell me, “You can’t possibly remember anything that happened when you were weeks old.” But he was wrong. Because I later came to realize it was such a deep and powerful memory, it shaped everything about my knowing of this world and how I related to this world.
Oprah: I just got that in a way like never before. And that is why this is a good thing we’re sharing here right now. That is why every mother or father who has to give up a child for adoption should explain to the child why. Even though it’s a baby. So they know the difference between being wanted and not wanted.
Dr. Alexander: Right.
May 1, 1969: Fred Rogers testifies before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications
Grief and self-destruction
How people react when their mother dies (including Johnny Depp)
Writer, philosopher, cartoonist, thinker
The recent and very public break down of Depp’s marriage has shocked many people. I won’t be so rude as to comment on what I believe to be true or not true, that is what courts are for. I find it interesting that this all immediately followed the loss of his mother. I am writing this as more of a way to draw attention to the immense power grief can have. I believe it is no coincidence that grief based on losing those so close to you, such as parents, partners, siblings or children, sends people into a deep state of mental distress. It is not spoken of enough.
Years ago I recall read about a woman, who had worked for a local council (doing the finances) when her mother died. She fell into a deep depression. She started gambling because it made her feel better. One thing led to another and she had gambled away her house, it got to the point where she was taking the council’s money and gambling that. She told her husband and he left her. She then found a note from her mother that read ‘You always do the right thing.’ That was enough to bring on a suicide attempt. The judge went easy on her, she was given a home sentence. I read this story in a magazine years ago and I couldn’t believe what a light sentence the judge gave the lady on the grounds that she had not grieved properly for her mother. I didn’t understand how that excuse worked, until I lost my own mother.
When you suffer grief, it is a state of great pain and it doesn’t end. It comes and goes, and it eventually becomes bearable. I think in the immediate time after, people need to be cared for in some way. This is not at all an attempt to say, losing your mother means you can break the law, not at all, but I think it is important to have compassion for people who are in pain. The saying ’hurt people hurt people’ can be very true in the case of grief. A mother’s love is unconditional and losing that is such a shock. When I lost my mother I incessantly dreamt of her. I read a book about lucid dreaming, so that I could deliberately see her in my dreams, I dreamt of her on purpose. There were dreams where we thought there was a chance she could come back to life, wish dreams. In another, she said she was beating the cancer and I had to tell her she had already gone (I look back now and realise I was telling myself that). In one of my last dreams of her, I said to her “Everything is so awful, but at least I can talk to you here.’ I will never forget what she said “Jenny, you have to stop conjuring me up in your dreams”. I was heartbroken. It reminded me of the scene in Harry Potter where he looks at the mirror to see his parents and Dumbledore says he has to stop because he could waste a whole life in front of that mirror. I stopped dreaming of mum and she has only appeared a few times since, to give me a hug.
While this all sounds very sentimental, I really was in a bad place for a long time after losing mum. I drank, I smoked, I was depressed. I was beyond sad. I wanted my mum back. It took years to heal. I went through an awful break up. I had sleepless nights. I ran away from the city. I saw a counsellor for my break up, but really only spoke to her about losing my parents. I did yoga, I changed careers, I went traveling. I would say now 13 years after my mother died and 11 years after losing dad, I now have children of my own and feel healed, yet still different. An acceptance of loss does happen. I look back on some of the times when I felt at my lowest and I want to give myself a hug. There were times when I felt so sad and alone and I actually don’t think people know what to say to you when you are going through such a loss.
I feel for Johnny Depp, I feel sorry for him and anyone that loses their mother and I feel for him being in that zone at the moment – there really should be a place for people to grieve.