I am… very scared to post this because this seems to have generated so much controversy… please just hear me out and try to be courteous and respectful of different opinions ❤
So lately… JK Rowling has been getting herself into a lot of trouble. As usual.
In case you haven’t seen, JK Rowling went on yet another twitter rampage… but this time it was with a barrage of harmful transphobic tweets. And she somehow felt that right now, during Pride month, a global pandemic, and a Black Lives Matter movement, was the right time to voice her harmful opinions. And so, as a longtime Harry Potter fan, I’ve had to think about if/how I can continue to be a fan when I absolutely don’t agree with or support the author. Of course this is only the latest in many problematic things she’s done, which we all put up with, but this seemed to be the breaking point so here I am writing a post on it.
First of all I want to say that trans people are valid and amazing and magical and we see you and love you! ❤️ 🧡 💛 💚 💙 💜 Trans women are women and trans men are men and non binary people are non binary and you are whatever you are and we love you for it! JK Rowling’s comments were very harmful and I absolutely do not agree with anything she said.
So now, with that being said… what do we do about it?
On Not Supporting The Author
First of all, I do NOT follow her on Twitter and never have (provided I’ve only been on Twitter for like a year after she already started going crazy). I absolutely do not want to support her, and don’t really want to give her any more money.
I feel like it’s fairly easy to not support her monetarily. I never really have in the past, and will continue to not. For example, although my family owns a set of all the books, which were bought when they were coming out before she went crazy, those are the only copies we have. I never really bought multiple copies before, but now I especially don’t want to buy any more copies. If you don’t already have books but want to read them, you can always read them from the library, or buy them second hand!
She’s directly involved in Fantastic Beasts, so you can avoid seeing those, or at least in theaters. I didn’t watch Crimes of Grindelwald in theaters because I was already getting sick of her bs by then, instead watching it on DVD (lol does anyone else still use those) from the library, and I’m not planning on seeing the third Fantastic Beasts movie.
You can also avoid buying official merch! I actually don’t own any official merch; in fact, the only “merch” I own is a Ravenclaw scarf that I knit myself so 0% benefiting her. I don’t really know about getting merch since I have none but I assume you can buy unofficial merch from like Etsy or maybe knockoffs in stores that don’t support her.
So I don’t really want to support her directly anymore. But the much harder question: what about loving the books?
On Loving Harry Potter
These books had such a huge impact on my life. I watched the first movie when I was, like, 5, read the books when I was 9, and watched the last few movies in theaters. I do not remember a time when loving Harry Potter wasn’t part of my life. I spent hundreds of hours rereading and rewatching. I had fun with friends rewatching the movies at sleepovers. I dressed up as Harry Potter for Halloween. I’ve picked up random sticks and used them as wands. I spent many fun hours playing Lego Harry Potter on Wii (does anyone remember that because it was the bomb dot com) with my brother. I memorized all the lyrics Paint’s Harry Potter in 99 seconds to belt with friends at the top of our lungs. I’ve played pretend that pineapple cake boxes in my house were Fred and George’s skiving snack boxes. I have bonded with and made friends with people, both online and in person, over the stories.
I love Harry Potter with my whole heart and soul, and it’s shaped me into the person who I am today, and I don’t want to let a transphobic Karen take that away from me. What I really want to do is to reclaim Harry Potter. To take it back as ours, the fans, and not hers anymore.
Some people say that you can’t separate the artist from the artwork, and I suppose that’s true to an extent. I think that you always have to be aware of what the artist, the author, is like, which is why I don’t follow her online and won’t buy anything from her. But I also don’t want to let her and her toxicity win and take away from who I am. Although she wrote the original books, it’s my friends, family, and even just my own imagination, that shaped my love for the stories and my own personality, not just her. The words on the paper of the books were from JKR, but the legacy, the community, the magic–that all came from us ❤
So JK Rowling’s twitter isn’t a safe space for all witches and wizards? I say that we should embrace our own community that is a safe space for all witches and wizards. I’ve made so many friends and felt such happiness with Harry Potter from other Potterheads, such as lunchtime discussions with my irl friends on the books, Youtube videos such as the Super Carlin Brothers, Cherry Wallis, and Tessa Netting, and blog posts such as Olivia’s post about being HP obsessed (which is a like a year old but I still remember it so that shows how happy it made me reading and chatting with her).
On Recommending The Books
I will continue to love the world of Harry Potter with my whole heart (at least for now). HOWEVER, if you don’t have the nostalgia, I absolutely understand not wanting to read the books or get into the world.
I’ve come across a number of people online who have never read the HP books, or even seen the movies, and every time I urged them to read the books. Do it! They’re so magical! You don’t regret it! You have to try them! They’re incredible.
I think that after everything Rowling has done, I’m probably going to stop recommending the series to people who have never read the books before. If I’d never read these books, after seeing her tweets/her true self, I probably wouldn’t want to read them. If you don’t have the nostalgia, don’t already love the books, I can see why you could be turned off from them. After all, I have nostalgia for Harry Potter not Fantastic Beasts, which I no longer want to watch.
I might also try to stop mentioning and promoting it so much on my blog, where it always turns up in tags, recommendation lists, etc and just silently love it without using my platform to promote it–I’m not sure yet though. I don’t want to give her more recognition, but I want to continue bonding with friends over our shared love of magic ❤ If you have suggestions on what to do about this, please comment below, because I’m truly torn!
Maybe I’m just bsing and extrapolating and reaching, but I really do think we can love the magic without loving her. I feel like there’s something magical in that I knitted my brother a Hufflepuff scarf, a gift I made knowing we both love the world, something I created out of regular yarn from Michales, giving nothing to JKR, but creating a moment between my brother and I, and that’s a moment I don’t want to give up to her.
Maybe you disagree. Maybe you think that it is impossible to separate the author from their work, and I understand and support you distancing yourself completely from her. Maybe you will thus unhaul your HP books. Maybe you want to unfollow me because I still love the books. Although I understand wanting to unfollow people who follow JRK herself, I think unfollowing anyone who still loves the story is a bit extreme, but hey, I’m not you, and if that’s what you want to do, if that’s what you feel is the right response to this situation, then do it.
Cutting off all HP and HP related people/things is fine, it’s a perfectly valid opinion to have, and I understand it. This whole thing is a tricky situation, and everyone is going to have their own response to it–and my response probably isn’t the best one to listen to anyways considering I’m not trans.
At the end of the day, I think it’s up to everyone what we do in response to the situation, so I just want to leave the words of Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, who posted this statement (this quote is just a part of the whole post, please check it out if you haven’t already!) on The Trevor Project:
If you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred. And in my opinion nobody can touch that. It means to you what it means to you and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.
Are you going to keep supporting JK Rowling or loving the books? Do you think we should continue to promote her books/story online? Do you think you can separate the artist from the artwork? I’d love to chat in the comments below ❤