At this point, there’s a lot of cottage industry work on how to tackle the Harry Potter franchise. J.K. Rowling Because we have official Harry Potter merchandise. Lindsay Ellis made a video on this topic many years ago, but countless great essays have been published on the subject, including one from the LGBTQIA+ community who personally and deeply love these books. The ubiquity of discourse on this topic is not random and reflects how enduring both the Harry Potter stories and the systemically ingrained transphobia are in our society. As long as we sell Hats and transphobia is in our world, we need to take Rowling’s comments and discuss what to do with the Harry Potter franchise.
Can we still enjoy this story today? Will future generations be able to enjoy the world of Hogwarts? It’s not a complicated question.
Harry Potter Past and Present
Harry Potter books, movies and merchandise are not going anywhere. Voices that are swiftly dismissed on social media may view criticism of the franchise or its authors akin to “burning the book,” but something as big as Harry Potter is out of the pop culture zeitgeist. I will never leave. This isn’t necessarily a referendum on the nature of Harry Potter as a work of fiction, but just a reflection of how difficult it is for these sorts of pop culture traits to fade once they’ve left a significant impact. .
This also means that no one is in danger of losing their special attachment to Harry Potter, and you’re not doing yourself any harm by clinging to memories and merchandise associated with the franchise. I don’t mean to be arrogant, I’m saying this as someone who’s always wanted to ride the Hogwarts Express. I grew up with nostalgic memories of consuming Harry Potter books instead of sleeping in with friends and family and rewatching movie adaptations over and over again. But more than that, their memories—the midnight movie screenings and the friendships they bond over their favorite moments from the book—are entwined with the people they love. Considering how deeply emotional chords this franchise has struck with the public, I’m not alone. Additionally, stories about a boy who is ostracized from his family and eventually finds friendship and bonds with the family he finds often resonate with readers and viewers, especially queer.
Memories of Harry Potter are going nowhere, but the future of the franchise and how the public treats it is another story. Rowling’s rhetoric isn’t happening in isolation either. A U.S. Congressman now turns to her comments about transgender women to support transphobia legislation. The franchise’s present and future are tied to an inhuman ideology.
It’s important to recognize that on a myriad of levels, especially given the onslaught of hardships the trans community faces every day. While the law has increased significantly in America in recent years, the global rhetoric against transgender life is just as bad. It’s the kind of thinking that makes considering Harry Potter’s future place in pop culture so heavy yet urgent. The sex is exacerbated by the fact that Rowling is still the main creative voice of this franchise and stands to profit financially from new expansions in this universe.
What should I do now?
Harry Potter isn’t the only beloved book series. The world of literature is full of wonderful works that can fascinate both children and adults, if only in the world of fantasy. There’s no way to erase Harry Potter from pop culture, and it does nothing to stop transphobia (rather than turning the franchise into a pop culture martyr for the most detested. ). But it would be wise for individuals and pop culture institutions alike to start highlighting fantasy literary sagas by other authors instead of Harry Potter. Just because it’s been in the spotlight for decades doesn’t mean The Boy Who Lived should continue to be the de facto face of children’s fantasy literature.
There are ways for the everyday person to better handle the legacy of fantasy literature and media so that it doesn’t all revolve around Harry Potter. But just as a handful of big corporations are responsible for much of the pollution on the planet, corporations must be aware of how they treat the Harry Potter franchise going forward.Warner Bros. released a statement saying they were “proud” to work with JK Rowling. In June 2020, in the wake of her then-latest transphobic comments, the big company’s priorities became clear (the complete lack of transgender representation in modern films is also one of those priorities). clarified).
Overly powerful corporations like Warner Bros. and its parent company Warner Discovery are helping to normalize the interests of humanity and trans erasure in vulnerable communities. Rather than squeeze the last penny out of the Wizarding World saga, the studio is prioritizing a variety of trans narratives ( Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secret) goes a long way to fixing the currently entrenched problem of trying to keep painting Harry Potter everywhere as if it were still 2004.
Focus must be on marginalized artists
Even better, you can shift your focus to fantasy literature that highlights perspectives and marginalized groups that don’t exist at all in Harry Potter. Starless Along Jacqueline Careyfor example, or an anthology collection Maiden, Mother, and Crone: Fantastic Trance Femmes (More suggestions on trans-fantasy and sci-fi literature can be found here) Make sure readers get all their favorite fantasy tropes while experiencing them through a trans-lens. ! Further normalizing transgender perspectives in art could lead to exciting new novels by future writers who recognize the exciting potential of placing transgender people in fantastical scenarios. there is.
Similarly, Rowling’s work has no real room for people of color (see how two of the film’s most famous black characters do). Fantastic Beasts: The Crime of Grindelwald But that doesn’t mean fantasy literature lacks stories told from non-white voices. NK Gemisin He single-handedly wrote countless works of fantasy and sci-fi, becoming one of the most acclaimed genre works of the 21st century.Other works such as Gilded Ones Along Namina Fornaoffers a further selection of fantasy literature that will serve as cultural touchstones for the next generation.
The flaws found in the original Harry Potter books, especially JK Rowling’s rhetoric, show that one of pop culture’s most revered traits is flawed. But these flaws should also be the starting point for people to ask, “What else?” If we treat Harry Potter as a future franchise, perhaps our answer is not to look at it through a new lens, but to use it as a helpful guide to highlight other fantasy works. Let us work to promote and emphasize the importance of genre fiction that dares to explore marginalized perspectives that are unexplainable.
How do you treat Harry Potter now? Ironically, by not thinking about it too much. This is to say that we need to start ignoring the pernicious elements of the original franchise, erase the pleasant memories of growing up with Harry Potter, and turn a blind eye to the impact of Rowling’s words. No. But the public, and giant corporations in particular, need to see that Harry Potter is neither the beginning nor the end of mainstream perception of fantasy storytelling. Dialing back Harry Potter’s presence in the zeitgeist, while calling attention to these other properties and the indisputable truth that trance living is worthwhile, deals with this story in the modern world. is the best method for