The heartbreaking story behind one of JK Rowling's most famous characters

John Phillips/Getty Images

JK Rowling has a sombre connection to one of her characters.

The Harry Potter series, which turns 20 this year, is currently being honoured at the British Library, in an exhibition entitled 'A History of Magic'.

The show contains artefacts such as the tomb stone of real life Nicholas Flammel, who features in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and a copy of the pitch that Rowling sent to publishers.

One artefact, a sketch drawn by Rowling of the character Pamona Sprout, has a sad story behind it.

Picture:Miriam Margolyes arrives for the World Premiere of Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince at Empire Leicester Square on 7 July 2009. (Picture: Tim Whitby/Getty Images)

In an interview for a new BBC documentary, Rowling explained the significance of the character:

I drew this picture on December 30, 1990, and I can be very precise...I was staying at a friend’s house and I had been writing Potter for six months and I stayed up when everyone else had gone to bed because I was watching the film, The Man Who Would Be King,

She continued.

The reason I can be incredibly precise about when I drew this was because at some point during watching that movie and drawing this picture, my mother died, 250 miles away, and I got the phone call the next day to say she had died

Sprout is the head of Hufflepuff and the professor of Herbology at the fictional wizarding school of Hogwartz, and is portrayed by actor Miriam Margolyes in the film adaptations of the series.

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