J.K. Rowling is perhaps one of the most beloved and well-regarded authors today. She’s the writer and creator of Harry Potter, and rather than just writing a series of books, she’s created an entire universe, from Pottermore to Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Her story is one that almost everyone is familiar with. Rowling is a classic case of the rags-to-riches experience. After herfailed marriage and the birth of her daughter, she fell into a deep depression, finding herself jobless and penniless. She spent much of her time relying on state benefits while writing Harry Potter in cafes.
During a 2008 Harvard University commencement speech, Rowlingstated, “By every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.” After many rejections from book publishers when she initially sent out her manuscript,Bloomsbury agreed to publish “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” in 1997.
Rowling has since experienced tremendous achievement and success with her Harry Potter series. Her seven books have sold more than450 million copies, won a plethora of awards, been made into movies and utterly transformed Rowling’s life and those of millions of others.
It’s hard to imagine life without Harry Potter. It seems as if Harry Potter is integrated into almost every aspect of life, from the wildly successful movie franchise to the constant pop culture references. An example of this is the Fairly Odd Parents movie, “Wishology,” whichspoofs cult classics such as “The Matrix,” “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter.”
While J.K. Rowling is undoubtedly one of the most influential authors of today’s generation, she has unfortunately been scrutinized for her abundant and often unsolicited additions to the Harry Potter world.
Her most recent information came when shetweeted, “Hogwarts didn’t always have bathrooms. Before adopting Muggle plumbing methods in the eighteenth century, witches and wizards simply relieved themselves wherever they stood and vanished the evidence.”
This news garnered disgusted reactions from fans, especially those wondering about the Chamber of Secrets and the plot hole her additional information creates. Many fans met the reveal with skepticism and confusion.
Another recent fact Rowling shared with the world came on the DVD and Blu-ray versions of “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.” Rowling says that Dumbledore had an “incredibly intense...love relationship” with Grindelwald, adding that she believes there “is a sexual dimension to this relationship.”
Rowling has been particularly outspoken about LGBTQ rights and has been criticized for not representing a gay character on screen. As one fan said, “Unless there’s an editor’s note or some gay sex scene she was forced to cut out, then she’s simply vying for attention.”
While no one can know for sure what Rowling is thinking, it’s rather convenient that she chose to reveal the fact that Dumbledore is gay and other such representational information after the fact rather than explicitly stating it in the books.
As one fan wrote, Rowling is actively seeking to make her series retroactively progressive, perhaps trying to gain brownie points. “Rowling has talked up the number of LGBTQ and Jewish characters in the series. The problem is we never see those elements of characterization in the books themselves,” says Kayleigh Anne, a writer for the “Independent.”
While I think Rowling is trying to do good, I agree with the other fans and feel her attempts at representation can ring fake to many people, especially because she’s coming out with them now rather than when she initially wrote her books.
Hannah Zeigler is a junior media arts and anthropology double major. Contact Hannah at firstname.lastname@example.org