We all have our own struggles, and its hard to call him "lucky," given how much he went through and how hard he worked to overcome it. But we don't all have the kind of talent that causes an otherwise uncaring world to notice us. But maybe that's not the important part. So I don't know.

I do know, Cant, I really like your term "psychic alchemy" to describe the moment when pain moves beyond simply torture (though it is still that too) and becomes something that makes you realize how strong you are. I'm a big fan of Full Metal Alchemist, and one of the things they say in those stories is "Human-kind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost." It also reminds me of some of William Wordsworth's poetry, about how the pain of losing your youth is somewhat recompensed by your ability to understand yourself and the universe more fully. Ok, I am rambling. Anyway, you've given me something to think about.
I am a veteran of the soul wars.