Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story

Last night I was diddling around on our newest media box interface, Amazon FIRE TV or something, and stumbled across several– no, many– LMN movies! I saw Liz and Dick, Betrayal (with Meredith Baxter!), and a couple other familiar titles, but I focused in on Magic Beyond Words because:

Oh boy..

I was so psyched that I pressed play right away, but got distracted in the kitchen cracking open a second bottle of wine. I missed some stuff, but was able to figure out some “important” “plot” material, namely that as a child Joanne Rowling had a lot of wizard fantasies, did poorly in school and was picked on. And she looked like Harry Potter.

Hermione she wasn’t.

I settled in as rebellious teenage Rowling flips out at her parents when she doesn’t get in Oxford. “But I want to be a writer!” she wails in her dreadful British accent. Mr. Rowling is an ass and tells her that being a writer sucks and she should make some money instead. Mrs. Rowling is all about supporting her dear Jo and says she should follow her dreams, do what makes her happy, etc. She ends up going to stinky Exeter.

At this point I was half-watching, maybe even quarter-watching so it gets a bit hazy, but what follows are my sporadic notes– with visual media!

– – –

Alright I’m just jumping in here–

Rowling snoozes on the train, has a dream about her childhood woodland wizard games and meets HARRPY POTTER, scar and all, wakes up and says “Harry Potter! Your name is Harry Potter!” just based on his face.

Dream Potter

They are throwing random Harry Potter things into her “real life”  (an owl, weird train snacks)

Rowling’s mom, her champion, DIES after having a shaky-hands-and-wheelchair disease. She sees her little 6 year old stories she wrote that her mom had saved and has a big old breakdown.

….aaaand then finds a job ad for English teachers in Portugal and goes for it, moving into a house of hot, light-hearted chicks. She is loving it. She is still not writing, just partying down and blaming her mom’s death on her slacker lifestyle. They go clubbing.

Pulsing dance music thumps as JK flounces into the club with her Sex in the City entourage. Was JK Rowling actually a slut? They are making up fake identities for the purposes of a one night stand! JK is approached by a sexy Portuguese man who knows ENGLISH and LITERATURE. He’s like a steroid version of Tony from West Side Story. She’s totes going to one-night bone him, but you can tell it’s going to turn into so much more. They’re up in her apartment already; she’s in the other room, and he starts snoopily reading her MANUSCRIPT. She flips out and kicks him out but he saves his poontime by saying “I think I’m falling in love…. with a great writer” in a tortured spanish accent and she basically jumps straight onto his hog.

J.K. Rowling is a *babe*

Family trauma with dad remarrying, meh, and then her Portuguese Romeo is caught smooching some hussy in a club..! She is walking away SO mad. He proposes. Literally next shot is a wedding. Her wedding is IN Portuguese. And now he’s going to war?

Back as an ESL teacher, she is doodling crappy wizards while her students take a test. I guess he wasn’t going to war, I don’t know why he was wearing camo– his job was taken by someone else and he’s all full of machismo. He won’t let a woman support him! She reveals that she’s pregnant! He walks out! Not looking good.

Her Sex in the City housemates are telling her to LEAVE him now, before the baby gets old. He comes home drunk and freaking out, flinging her around by her hair and being generally violent, wakes up the baby, throws her out of the house. Policia altercation. She goes in and gets all her harry potter notes and flees with the baby. SINGLE MOM.

She’s on the DOLE. Dole lady implies that she should have stayed with the abusive husband instead of going on the dole (69 pounds a week). She sees her mother’s ghost face in a mirror who tells her to be strong and follow her heart. She gives her sob story to the real estate lady who was not keen on having a doled-up tenant but she said aaawww why not! Now they have a gorgeous, warm apartment with a nursery! On 69 pounds a week! I’d also point out that she has not been writing Harry Potter this whole time. She’s got an awful lot of stupid names to make up!

Things have hit rock bottom and she is showing her friend Harry Potter notes when she’s asked “what makes you happy?” Her friend is just amazed by Harry Potter.  “Jo, it’s magical!” Single mom writing montage. She writes in a hip coffee shop. Dole much? She looks so not poor. She sees hipsters playing chess… Inspiration! She goes without food to get a typewriter from a pawn shop.

She bought baby food and a typewriter

The candles are all floating as she writes. She sees the Gringotts bank goblin at the dole office. Her magical world is everywhere. She is sending the book to agencies. Everything is working out and now her only hardship is to think of a middle initial– she decides on K from her mom’s maiden name, I think. Secretary says “it’s got a ring to it– JK Rowling.” NOT.

She’s teaching English again and her unruly class is putty in her hands when she makes them all dress up like witches. “Don’t think of a test as a bad thing, think of it as something that makes you stronger!” Mary Poppins city. OMG SHE GETS A PUBLISHER– The publisher who published “The English Patient,” someone says, reverently.  She finally gets a hard copy of her splendid book. She smells it.

She’s doing a reading. Everyone assumes she’s going to be a man because of her mysterious nom de plume. It’s over and they just layer some written facts over JK reading to a rapt audience, but in like a Waldenbooks or something.

– – –

And that was that. Overall, it’s fun to imagine the real JK Rowling being SO PISSED upon seeing this. She got Lifetimed reaaal good. This movie was so Lifetimey that although I’d deliberately set out to watch it, I found myself wandering around the house missing chunks of it.

Also, this movie made me wish that Brad Neely narrated the entire thing.



  1. I feel like I could have done a way “better job” but at the same time, it’s not like Lifetime tries so hard! At ANYTHING. Still, it was the most fun I’d had all week. I’m pretty psyched about this little Amazonian treasure trove of BADNESS I’ve discovered. Today I watched Untouchable AND Someone I Touched! The latter was brain damagingly boring despite being about syphilis…

    • Important question: so you watched Liz & Dick, right? What did you make of the random “my boob is on fire” scene where she brushes cigarette ashes away? Wth was the point of that?

      • I did watch L&D, but it was towards the end of a hardcore binge, so my already fleeting attention was spotty at best (I remember much more about Untouchable!). My guess is that it was a reason for Lifetime to get to show some smokin’, jigglin’ boob.

  2. […] Lena: It’s too meta! Too much HOCUS! Don’t get me wrong– “Harry Potter” gets kids these days (ktd = smh) to read, so I have to like it, AND I love potions and wizardry and all that, but I just really hated JK’s MAJ-world lexicon. Everything sounds like an 90’s toy with some Latin mixed in. HP is the Scrabble Jr. version of “The Golden Compas”s trilogy’s Biggie Scrabbz. I think NO-MAJ is a legit entry here, but JK should have had her imagination hat on. Oh and if you want some MAJor laughs, check out Lifetime’s “Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story.” […]

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