Dreamy, anxious, shy, withdrawn, no good at sports or metal work, bullied at school. Sounds like the profile of a typical dyspraxic/ ND person. In fact it describes JK Rowling creator of the mega successful Harry Potter books.
JK went to Tutshill Primary School near the Forest of Dean. On her first day she did badly in an arithmetic test and was put in the ’dunces’ side of the class. She worked hard and graduated to the ‘bright’ side of the room. Readers of the series will know that Harry has to undergo a sorting hat ordeal to decide which house to place him in.
The idea for that came from the test that JK had to endure.
She was considered clever at school ‘above average’ but hated the annual sports day and also the compulsory country dancing. She was a great reader and used to write stories which she would read to her friends.
She has often been compared to the character,Hermione, in the books.
JK herself says:
“Hermione was based almost entirely on myself at the age of 11. Like her I was obsessed with achieving academically but this masked a huge insecurity”. Like Hermione, JK was always the first to put her hand up to answer questions in class. ‘I did relax as I got older which was a good thing ,although I was and am still, a worrier’
There was one big difference between the two- Hermione, unlike JK, never failed a test at school. It is Harry Potter who projects the insecurities of JK. It’s Harry who has a hard time from Professor Snape, Harry who worries about exams and for who the sorting hat dithers about what house to put him in. So there is as much JK in Harry as there is in Hermione.
As a young teenager at Wyedean Comprehensive, JK encountered chemistry master John Nettleship, on whom she modelled Professor Snape. JK did not shine at chemistry and was often singled out by Nettleship for special questioning. It was something she had never forgotten and the scenes in the book where a squirming Harry is routinely humiliated by Professor Snape are based on her these experiences.
JK later said :
“I understand from a teachers point of view that its easy to be a bully but its also the worst shabbiest thing you can do”.
As well as bullying from teachers JK found herself on the receiving end of bullying from some fellow pupils. This can be seen in the books through the character of Draco Malfoy, the Hogwarts bully.
JK in describing her time at the school said:
“My least favourite subject was metalwork. I am not a practical person …it seemed to be all about hammering stuff until it broke. I did try but I just could not do it. I was terrible at woodwork too and dreadful at sports but I did like swimming”.
However, in English, JK, shone with her creative writing. Her teacher did not know it but she already had secret plans to become a writer. In her last year at school she was made Head girl and did well in her A’ levels.
One of JK’s favourite sayings is the Buddhist teaching that: “life is suffering,” which she interpreted as we have to suffer to grow. I think it true to say that she had her share of suffering but she did find eventual success and she was able to use the bad times in some of the Harry Potter books! So I guess the moral is don’t give up but keep on striving.
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Posted By: Nside |
2/12/13 10:47 AM
What a magnificent mind! She has the ear of so many waiting for her next project so hopefully her fans can find comfort in knowing that she was once bullied too and she has become a terrific success