J.K. Rowling Honors Orlando Victim With A ‘Harry Potter’ Connection & His Friends Tell Her He’s A True Gryffindor
Following the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, the city of Orlando is steadily releasing more and more confirmed names of the victims of this unfortunate tragedy. The Pulse nightclub shooting on early Sunday morning has claimed 49 victims, while 53 are injured. And one person stood out on that list, especially for fans of Harry Potter. Twenty-two-year-old Luis Vielma worked at the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Orlando, and he received a heart-wrenching memorial message from J.K. Rowling herself, leading many of his friends and fellow Harry Potter fans to come together in a beautiful moment of fandom.
Rowling posted a photo of Vielma in his Gryffindor costume, smiling with a thumbs-up towards the camera on Twitter. Rowling captioned her tweet, "Luis Vielma worked on the Harry Potter ride at Universal. He was 22 years old. I can't stop crying. #Orlando."
Immediately, some of his friends and co-workers began to reply to the author's tweet, sharing stories of Vielma's loving and bubbly personality and how he showed himself to be a true Gryffindor.
For any one who isn't a Harry Potter fan, members of the house of Gryffindor (which include Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley) are described as being the students with the most courage, chivalry and determination, all characteristics which seem to describe Vielma in the fullest. The Sorting Hat famously chants of the House,
You might belong in Gryffindor/ Where dwell the brave at heart/ Their daring, nerve and chivalry/ Set Gryffindors apart.
While details are still emerging of the final moments of the Orlando victims, they are already being remembered by their loved ones. A co-worker shared with Rowling that Vielma "brought smiles to everyone he met:"
Another co-worker from Universal shared that Vielma was sorted into the Gryffindor house and said that another part of their Potter family was still fighting for his life:
An additional friend and co-worker said that Vielma would have been ecstatic to know that Rowling had recognized him:
After Rowling's tweet, Potter fans from around the globe began to share their messages of love for Vielma, offering to put their wands up in his memory.
It's moments like these that make you realize the power of a fandom and how these connections that we make with each other can give us support in the darkest of times.