Author JK Rowling is actually the worst and here is why

Audrey Helm, News Editor

I love J.K. Rowling. Truly, I do. I love the wizarding world of Harry Potter and many of the characters in it. I understand that there is an enormous demand on her to constantly create new material. But that doesn’t excuse some of her decisions following the conclusion of the Harry Potter series, especially those regarding Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and its upcoming sequel, The Crimes of Grindelwald.

First, let’s talk about Dumbledore. Announcing that she ‘had always thought of Dumbledore as gay’ after the series was finished and she’d made millions of dollars is a tad problematic.

Also, if she’d always thought of Dumbledore as gay and that he loved Grindelwald, why not mention that in the seventh book? Both Dumbledore and Grindelwald are speaking characters and it delves deep into Dumbledore’s past. They or any of the other people who expose Dumbledore’s backstory-Elphias Doge, Rita Skeeter, or Bathilda Bagshot-could have at least mentioned it.

There’s also the issue of the new movies, which largely feature Grindelwald and Dumbledore. The director, David Yates, said in a 2018 interview with Entertainment Weekly that Dumbledore would not be “explicitly gay.” This misses a fantastic opportunity to push for greater representation of queer people in Hollywood.

Rowling is deeply irritated by the criticisms this comment has made, tweeting that it is one comment and that none of her critics have actually read the screenplay. It should also be noted that it is only the second part of a five-part series, so hopefully Rowling notes the criticism and incorporates Dumbledore’s sexuality in more explicit detail in future movies.

Another draw for critics of the Crimes of Grindelwald movie is Johnny Depp’s continued role as Grindelwald. Depp was formerly by his then-wife, Amber Heard, of domestic abuse in 2016. Depp denied the allegations, despite compelling evidence, like pictures of bruises on Heard’s face and eyewitness accounts, against him.

In this era of Time’s Up and #MeToo, it is borderline appalling that a man who beat his wife is being permitted to continue making movies in enormous franchises. He was in Fantastic Beasts for like thirty seconds-you could find an actor who looked similar and no one would care that much. Marvel did it with their character Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes between the first and second Iron Man movies, so why can’t you switch out an abuser for someone a little less questionable?

Fantastic Beasts took the spotlight off of the British wizarding world and shone it on the American wizarding society. In preparation for this change, J.K. Rowling released a series of writings called Wizards of North America, which sought to shed some light on the history of witches and wizards on the North American continent. While American fans were very excited to get this insight into how wizarding might look on their continent, many fans were deeply disappointed by the way Rowling chose to handle North American wizardry history.

Rowling elected to begin the history with the white explorers who arrived on America’s shores, rather than with the Native peoples who had been living there for thousands of years beforehand. She also culturally appropriated Native American cultures in order to create her American wizarding school, Ilvermorny, and referred to Native Americans as one homogeneous entity, which fails to acknowledge that there are many tribes, each with their own distinct culture and traditions.

Here’s why this matters: Rowling has repeatedly, if unintentionally, told entire groups of people that they don’t matter, that they don’t belong in the world she created. Not only that, but she has repeatedly refused to listen to her fans about these issues. As someone who cried when she walked into the Wizarding World at Universal Studios for the first time, I just hope that J.K. Rowling chooses to accept feedback and make her work more inclusive and respectful.