Many “Harry Potter” fans have discussed the ways in which the book series has inspired them and impacted their lives, including a recent story from actor Matthew Lewis about a fan who overcame suicidal thoughts because of the series. But one woman is now crediting the books, along with “Lord of the Rings,” with inspiring her to escape captivity after 30 years at a south London commune, according to the BBC.
A jury heard about how the woman was beaten and threatened by her father but fought back against his control after reading the books, which her father allowed her to read because he identified with the characters, believing himself to be like hero Harry.
“He thought Harry Potter was like him–Harry Potter sounded like [him] and he liked it because he thought it fitted in with his plan to get me to agree with his ideas,” she said in court.
He also saw himself in “Lord of the Rings” character Aragorn.
“I suppose in his mind, Sauron was like America and the west; he would get rid of them, there would be a war and he would destroy them and he would become leader of the universe, like Aragon did. That is why he let me read ‘Lord of the Rings.'”
Until reading the two series, she had not been allowed to read freely and secretly read any newspapers or books she could find in the house. After reading the books when she was 19, the now 32-year-old woman saw her father as a “dark lord” forcing her to bend to his will, while she saw herself in wizard Harry and Hobbit Frodo.
“It worked against him,” she said. “When I read them, ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Lord of the Rings,’ I actually began to see that he is like Voldemort and Sauron and he wants all of us to be like the death eaters in ‘Harry Potter’ and the black riders in ‘Lord of the Rings,’ which means you have no mind of your own and you have to agree with everything he says…and if not, he wants to kill you…just like Sauron and Voldemort did. But I felt like Harry and Frodo, this little person with no power fighting against this dark lord…this invincible dark lord, and you cannot fight against him, yet the little tiny people with their strength, they manage to get to change that and destroy that. So I felt inspired by these books.”
Records indicate the woman never attended school or visited a doctor outside of immunization appointments. She was also found to have endured a high degree of emotional trauma and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and low self-esteem, as well as a Vitamin D deficiency and probable type one diabetes.
“From birth, [the woman] never spent a night away from the collective until 25 October 2013,” prosecutor Peter Clement said, which is when she escaped with two other women and reported her father to the police. He was arrested that November.
The woman’s father denies any wrongdoing, including charges of cruelty to a child and false imprisonment. He also denies seven counts of indecent assault and four counts of rape against two women in he 1970s and ’80s, as well as three counts of bodily harm.
The trial is ongoing.