Harry Potter played a huge role in my childhood, and I will always love the story. However, I have concerns about the franchise which is still as strong as ever all this time later. There is something my younger self never thought I would utter: is it time for the Boy Who Lived to finally die?
The Boy Who Lived
When Deathly Hallows Part 2 came out, I thought that was the last bit of Harry Potter content until the inevitable remake. I was sad at the thought of no longer having it to look forward to.
The first film came out when I was 7 so all my life, I spent every year looking forward to the next movie. I put off reading the books until after they all came out so I could stay immersed in the Wizarding World for as long as possible. I could not have been more wrong about it being the end. Pretty soon we had Pottermore, a theme park in Orlando, and more.
Since 1997, Harry Potter has been non-stop. It refuses to die. It can’t die.
The Wizarding World Disappointments
Personally I was a little disappointed by Pottermore. Then, I learned I wanted to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando one day. Now, in a very short period of time, we have Cursed Child, the Fantastic Beasts series, and games like Hogwarts Mystery.
For many fans, Cursed Child feels like fan-fiction, and hard to consider cannon. Crimes of Grindlewald broke existing cannon with the inclusion of Professor McGonagall – even though, I don’t believe she would have been born yet. I think Hogwarts Mystery was wasted potential.
Pottermore was the first disappointment I’d had with Harry Potter. I was hoping it would be a MMORPG game, that let us create avatars and walk around Hogwarts. Instead, you got a username you didn’t want, and wont remember. The “exploring” might as well have been an e-book. If not for the quizzes I wouldn’t go on Pottermore at all.
The Death Of The Author
A lot of the fanbase no longer look up to J.K. Rowling due to her views on the transgender community, myself included. All the odds were against her like being a single mother out of an abusive relationship, suffering with depression, and the fact that The Philosopher’s Stone was rejected 12 times. She also gave so much money to charity that she lost her billionaire status. As a child, she was one of my heroes.
I was having a conversation with Amy from writersblockwhat and the Death of the Author came up, and I think it’s particularly relevant to J.K Rowling. For those who don’t know what the Death of the Author is, it’s a literary term derived from Roland Barthes’ essay of the same name. Death of the Autor means the author’s background and opinions should have no relevance or influence on the text or perception of the text. Once you’ve published something, it’s out in the world for the reader’s to interpret.
I feel like J.K. Rowling tainted her own work by commenting on things she regretted doing, or revealing character details way after the books have come out.
Diversity & Inclusion
Hermoine being played by a Black actress in Cursed Child is great. Hermoine’s physical appearance doesn’t have any bearing on the plot.
I have no issue with the Cursed Child play casting. J.K Rowling tweeted that, Hermonie’s skin colour was never specified in the books. As Book Riot put it, the text of the Harry Potter books suggests Hermoine is white with dark, bushy hair, whereas, with other characters, their skin colour or ethnicity is more explicit, like Dean Thomas and Angelina Thompson. I think it would have been more sincere to simply say she liked the casting and welcomed the diversity, and leave it at that.
While I know she doesn’t have full control over Fantastic Beasts, it is frustrating that Dumbledore is a canonically gay character, was in love with Grindelwald yet I felt the film kept skirting around it in Crimes of Grindelwald. Check out these queer YA books.
Her comments about the transgender community are not something I can stand by. Trans women are women.
If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, has your relationship changed with it or even other works, now that we live in a time where we know so much more about authors and creators?