JK ROWLING wrote a heartwarming letter to a fan who said that Harry Potter helped him survive bullying.
The author told Johnnie Blue, 17, that she “loathed” bullying and the way it was “handled” in schools.
She urged Johnnie, from Dalry, Ayrshire, that his experience was “shocking and disturbing” and described him as a “compassionate, moral and highly motivated person”.
The teenager said he read the Harry Potter novels during break and lunch at school to escape the small number of bullies who made his life a misery.
Rowling’s letter followed a conversation at a booksigning for The Casual Vacancy, where Johnnie first told her about his experiences.
He gifted her a notebook personally designed by Jason Cockcroft – who did the cover art for the Potter series – and a note which further explained how the books had changed his life.
When he came home from school a month later, he was surprised to see an envelope with a Chamber of Secrets stamp on it and a personal letter from his idol.
Surprisingly, Johnnie is only just getting round to replying to the letter, which was dated 15th August 2014 and adorned with a gold leaf owl emblem.
The letter reads: “Dear Johnny. You have fantastic handwriting. That’s not the most important thing I’ve got to say to you, but I thought I’d mention it — I’m a connoisseur.
“On to more important things: What you say about Harry helping you at what was clearly a dreadful time in your life means more to me than I can easily express.
“I freely confess that I loathe bullying and the way it is still so often “handled” in schools. Your experience is shocking and disturbing and that you have turned out to be a compassionate, moral, highly motivated person is high testimony to your courage. Gryffindor for you, my lad…
“Thank you so much for the stunningly beautiful notebook. I love it. This letter seems to be a series of non-sequiturs, but why break the pattern: I have family roots in Ayrshire — Arran, to be precise. And I’ve never been there. Embarrassing, isn’t it? Don’t tell the Nationalists.
“I’m sure we’ll see each other again. In the meantime, I’ll watch out for you on Twitter.”
Johnnie explained that he first made contact with Rowling on Twitter last year, when she replied to a tweet from him and described him as having “Dobby eyes”.
He said: “I then met her at the Harry Potter studios for a signing and reminded her that she replied to my tweet.
“She remembered me and invited me to come back after the signing. That’s when I got to speak to her and told her about the bullying.
“I talked to her for about ten minutes and told her how her books helped me. She said that it was an amazing thing to say and that it meant a lot to her.
“I was shaking and close to tears when I was talking to her, I couldn’t believe it.
“Photos were banned during the autograph signing but she let me have a photo taken with her and I gave her a notebook as a present.
“I would read the books during break and lunch time at school. They were an escape for me as I had to deal with the real life Crabbe and Goyle at school.”
He added: “JK Rowling to me is a hero. She’s saved so many people’s lives, along with mine – something I will be eternally grateful for.”
Johnnie’s dad, Ian Blue, said: “It means a lot to us. It was quite emotional for Johnnie meeting her and it was actually quite emotionally for my wife and I too.
“It was really good of her to take the time out for Johnnie and we are so grateful to her for that especially considering her entourage were dead against it.
Commenting on Johnnie’s difficulties while at primary school Ian said:“He had a real hard time of it for a number of years.
“There was one kid who had issues and we were very frustrated at the way the school handled it. I think they were sick of the sight of us, I think at one point we were up there about half a dozen times in a month.
“It got to the point were we felt like they were just holding us off until the kids left for high school.