According to JK Rowling, her abusive ex-husband tried to prevent her from leaving him by hiding the first Harry Potter book’s manuscript. According to the author, she worried that Portuguese TV reporter Jorge Arantes might burn the pages of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” that he was holding as “hostage.”
Rowling surreptitiously began photocopying a few pages every day after learning where the manuscript was to make sure her effort wouldn’t be lost.
Rowling appeared on the first episode of the new Spotify podcast documentary series “The Witch Trials of JK Rowling.”
Rowling said: “It was a horrible state of tension to live in because I had to act as though I wasn’t going and I don’t think I’m a very good actor. That’s a terrible way to live and yet the manuscript kept growing, I had continued to write.”
“He knew what that manuscript meant to me because at a point he took the manuscript and hid it. That was his hostage. When I realized I was definitely going to go, I would take a few pages of the manuscript into work every day, just a few pages so he wouldn’t realize anything was missing and I would photocopy it.”
“Gradually in a cupboard in the staff room, bit by bit, a photocopied manuscript grew and grew because I suspected that if I wasn’t able to get out with everything he would burn it or take it and hold it hostage. That manuscript meant so much to me and it was the thing that I prioritized saving.”
After meeting Arantes at a bar in Portugal, where Rowling had relocated to work as a teacher after the passing of her mother. They both tied the knot in 1992.
Rowling said: “The marriage had turned very violent and very controlling. He was searching my handbag every time I came home and I didn’t have a key to my own front door.”