The Melt-Your-Heart Story Hidden Within The Harry Potter Books

Image: Courtesy of Scholastic.
In news that's surprising to no one, J.K. Rowling is further solidifying her reputation as a modern-day hero. Seriously, though — this one is good. Moviepilot recently unearthed a heartwarming story involving the best-selling author and a young Harry Potter fan — the only real-life muggle ever to get a cameo in the beloved books. The story was originally reported by Buzzfeed over the summer, and while it's not new, it is new to us — and still very sweet. In 1999, when Rowling was nose-deep in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, nine-year-old Natalie McDonald was dying of terminal leukemia. Knowing that Natalie was the ultimate Potterhead, family friend Anne Kidder wrote a fan letter to Rowling. "[Natalie] was obsessed with the Harry Potter books. They had been her respite from the hell of leukemia. And because I’m the sort of person who thinks there must be something I can do, I badgered Rowling’s publishers in London, sending them a letter and an e-mail and a fax for her," she recalls.  Rowling not only personally responded to Natalie, but her e-mail reply was "beautiful," as Kidder describes. Rowling divulged plot secrets and twists, even talking about which characters she liked best. (Our bet is on Hermione.)  The best part? When the fourth installment was published, Natalie was given another surprise: She got sorted into Gryffindor. Here she is on page 180 of The Goblet of Fire: "'I do hope this year's batch of Gryffindors are up to scratch,' said Nearly Headless Nick, applauding as 'McDonald, Natalie!' joined the Gryffindor table. 'We don't want to break our winning streak, do we?'" We'll give you some time to grab a tissue, be alone with your Harry Potter books, and have your faith in humankind restored. It's kind of like what Dumbledore said in The Prisoner of Azkaban: "In dreams, we enter a world that's entirely our own." Word. (Moviepilot)

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