Is Tom Felton’s memoir, ‘Beyond the Wand,’ worth the read?
Insider scoops and colorful wizarding language all add to the effect, but Felton’s real story reflects on his struggle with mental health
At age 36, Tom Felton — the actor who played Draco Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” movies — enters the world of transparency about mental health and child-actor struggles.
His new memoir, “Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard,” was released Oct. 13 by Grand Central Publishing.
The book itself is full of colorful Wizarding World lingo, referring to “aparrating” objects and his “muggle family,” making it fun for die-hard “Harry Potter” fans, per The Washington Post.
It’s basically a wizarding world gold mine.
In the book, Felton gives vivid and personal descriptions of just about every member of the “Harry Potter” cast, including actor Robbie Coltrane, who played Rubeus Hagrid, and Alan Rickman, who played Severus Snape. Both men are now deceased.
Felton outlines his closest relationships among the cast, with Emma Watson, who starred as Hermione Granger, and Jason Isaacs, who played his on-film father, Lucius Malfoy.
Felton describes his relationship with Watson in the book by saying he “loved and admired her as a person in a way that I could never explain to anybody else.”
But, the main point of the memoir lies later in the story. The Washington Post points out that while Felton’s perspective is a “one-in-a-billion experience,” his struggles outlined in the memoir are far more universal and applicable to anybody who reads it, making it the reason to read it.
It was Watson, Felton told USA Today, who encouraged him to include the hardest times of his life in the book.
“Emma was a big force of encouragement to be like, ‘This will resonate with people,’” Felton told USA Today. “It wouldn’t really seem right just to talk about all the fluffy stuff. ... After encouragement, I was given a bit more confidence in myself to go, ‘You know what? This happened, and this is part of my life.’”
While living in Hollywood, Felton said he started drinking to find normalcy. There, he experienced several rounds of rehab over the course of a couple of years to kick the addiction and get his life back on track.
He describes it as “one of the hardest decisions (he) ever had to make,” according to Rolling Stone.
“I’m no longer shy of putting my hands up and saying: I’m not okay,” he writes in the memoir. “To this day, I never know which version of myself I’m going to wake up to.”
But he doesn’t end there. He mimics similar sentiment to when author J.K. Rowling explained that the life-sucking dementors in the series represented her own mental illness and worked to encourage those struggling with depression, per Entertainment.
“Just as we all experience physical ill health at some stage in our lives, so we all experience mental ill health too,” he writes. “There’s no shame in that. It’s not a sign of weakness. And part of the reason that I took the decision to write these pages is the hope that by sharing my experiences, I might be able to help someone else who is struggling.”