Disclaimer: I am not personally attacking anyone. These are my honest and unadulterated thoughts that had bothered me for a while. Harry Potter is the first book (series) that I read. I grew up with the story and the journey has, and always will be magical. This does not, in any way, alters, minimizes or eliminates the fact that they are one of the most problematic books of all time. I would request to those reading this post: please be civil in the comments section. Thank you. Let’s get shady.
1. Fantastic Beasts is set in Harlem during the 1920s but it doesn’t look like it: Fantastic Beasts, more than a new story, was a chance for Rowling to amend her past mistakes. Unsurprisingly, she didn’t. Harlem Renaissance took place during the 1920s. It is believed that the African-American arts were reborn during this movement. This movement brought a revolution in the intellectual contributions of Blacks. Harlem was one of the most popular destinations for Blacks. Around 300,000 African-Americans had moved to Harlem by 1920. This brings us to the old argument, where were the Blacks in Fantastic Beasts? The cast and characters were white-washed. During such an important time in Black History, there was just one Black character in the story. This is either the lack of research or considerable writing on Rowling’s behalf or her ignorant and inconsiderate attitude. It is the complete expunction of Black contribution to art and literature. J.K. Rowling set her story during a landmark movement of Blacks, a Black neighbourhood, and whitewashed it.
2. Everyone except Gryffindors can pack their bags: You can look up the dictionary and find that Gryffindor is a synonym for perfect. A majority of the main characters are Gryffindor including the golden trio and the second trio except for Luna. Another thing that bothers me a lot is, Gryffindor is necessarily associated with ‘good’ and ‘brave’. Now, these two don’t always go hand in hand. For example, Bellatrix. Bellatrix was far from good but was sure as hell brave and courageous. Rowling actions show that she prefers Gryffindor over other houses. Preferring a quality, or illuminating it as ‘better’ than the other simply undermines other qualities of a person. It implies that a brave person is better than a kind or intelligent or ambitious person which is absurd. This originates from the fact that how poorly the other houses are represented. But then, underrepresentation is Rowling’s speciality. Cedric was the perfect white boy, Harry’s competition, and we didn’t see much ‘Hufflepuff’ there. When we come to ‘Ravenclaw’, I have a hard time believing that Luna is one. She is a great character, yes. But, answer this, who’s more likely knowledgeable – Hermione or Luna? And, really, Luna does have some rubbish beliefs.
3. Newt Scamander – the problematic ‘cinnamon roll’: Newt Scamander a.k.a. the Hufflepuff cinnamon roll every human fell for is the person who created the Werewolf Register. Now, if you’re thinking that it is a remarkable contribution to the wizarding world, let me tell you that…it’s not. Someone who creates Werewolf Registers to provide the government with a list of werewolves is inviting discrimination against them. Again, lycanthropy is used as a metaphor for stigmatized illnesses and I discussed how disgusting this metaphor is. Newt Scamander is largely possible for the prejudices and bias werewolves face. This would, in a way, be similar if our government had access to a list of all humans diagnosed with stigmatized illnesses such as HIV/AIDS which, quite obviously, won’t be cool.
4. J. K. Rowling – the brain behind all of this: She has done enough to deserve a spot here. I do not have a lot to say because all of what I’ve talked before has come directly or indirectly from the author herself. Whether it be handling a character’s sexuality or race without any context. Or her blatant arrogance and blocking people on social media who call her out. Every time she has tried to portray her work as diverse or inclusive, she has only made it worse. Casting Johnny Depp, and not just casting him but being “genuinely happy” with it was disappointing but not shocking. You would think that a woman with so much influence, wealth and power would be considerate enough to stand true to her word but she’s simply ignorant. If David Yates says that Dumbledore will not be explicitly gay in the movie, do you not think that Rowling’s influence can include this explicit revelation in the movie? Of course, it can. She can. She chooses to be like this. And if you piss her off, she has the ‘mute’ option.
That’s it. We are at the end of this post which I absolutely loved writing and reading about. It is upsetting to see a favourite author acting in such way. And, I really do not want to hear that it is the writer’s or the creator’s choice to diversify their art because it is not. I don’t want to hear that J. K. Rowling owes us nothing because she does. If readers wouldn’t have read her books she wouldn’t be where she is. If we support the art, it is the artist’s job to support us.
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed. Let me know in the comments what you think.