Don't Dismiss 'Harry Potter' Because of J.K. Rowling's Transphobia
The message of the books is not the one the author is espousing.
The Harry Potter series of books has been frequently credited for the uptick in kids wanting to read again. The books and the movies are among the best loved fiction works ever. Through Harry Potter and his adventures, kids have learned that just because you don't fit in doesn't mean you can't go on to do great things; sometimes, it's because you don't fit in that you can do some remarkable things with some equally remarkable people you can rely on.
This incredible series of books and movies - and now stage play - has come to mean the world to a legion of fans. However, the series' author, JK Rowling, seems to have been haunted by Voldemort and his Death Eaters, given her recent spate of transphobic tweets.
Because of #HarryPotter, #HermioneGranger and #RonWeasley, JK Rowling went from impoverished writer who dared to dream of seeing her words in print one day to becoming one of the world's richest. A few years ago, anyone in the Twitterverse was applauding her for her clapbacks against the likes of Donald Trump or Piers Morgan. Now, she is quite likely one of the most disliked individuals on the social media platform.
I will not revisit what Rowling actually tweeted lest the furor over what she wrote erupt once again. What she wrote was distasteful and completely inappropriate and does not need to be quoted here. However, in spite of what she's tweeted, the work she's done by creating Harry Potter and all that's associated with it shouldn't be diminished. The Harry Potter universe is something that has given so many kids something positive to hold on to and has taught kids that it doesn't matter how different they might feel - they can still learn and grow and find something within themselves to defeat the evil they see in their world.
I am seriously disappointed in Rowling. I realize that there have been previous times where Rowling has tweeted things that are transphobic and completely without excuse. However, the beauty of her words as she brought the world of Harry Potter to life cannot and should not be diminished because of her hateful rhetoric in real life.
The power of Harry Potter is magical, and I'm not just talking about the magic of the world in which the story unfolds. No other story has had the power to do what that boy wizard who - spoiler alert! - ultimately defeated Voldemort did for the youth of the world. Both youth and adults ultimately fell in love with the entire wizarding world, with a slew of fanfiction and other stories erupting almost immediately following the debut of Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone in the United States). Both the book and the film series became among huge successes in their respective fields, smashing records; Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone was the highest grossing film of 2001 while the Harry Potter series of books has gone on to sell 500 million copies worldwide.
My own family has watched the movies and read the books countless times, and with each time we watch a movie in the series or read the books, we appreciate just how incredible - and how rich - this world of JK Rowling's creation truly is. The stories are so beautifully woven together, with each one leading seamlessly into the other, that it's not hard to believe that the series has been as unbelievably successful as it has been.
That is, however, perhaps why it hurts to see that Rowling, who has become a hero of sorts to so many, seems to have revealed herself as transphobic. It always hurts when our heroes are realized as flawed individuals, as we never want to believe that our heroes are capable of hatred or any sort of terrible doings. Unfortunately, the reality is, humans are flawed, and those of us who follow Rowling on Twitter are reeling with her series of recent tweets.
Regardless of how dismayed we are by Rowling's tweets, however, we can't turn around and now claim we are going to boycott all things Harry Potter because of it. Harry Potter was, and is, a wonderful read that has entertained millions, if not billions. While we might be disappointed in the series' author, we cannot ascribe those feelings to the series as a whole.