There are many reasons to love the Harry Potter series: The thrill of adventure, the addition to the cast in each subsequent movie, or Hermione Granger, who’s amazing all by herself. But the aspect that has united Potter fans everywhere has been the author herself, JK Rowling.
She’s been admired not just by ardent fans, but also by people who can’t even pronounce Wingardium Leviosa properly. Her philosophies, about love and making the right choices, which shone through the books she’d written, were perhaps the biggest reason for her success. People believed in her. People wanted to be like her. People loved her.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, is set to hit theatres in November 2018. The movie, which depicts the adventures of zoologist Newt Scamander, is a part of the wizarding world but outside the seven-book series. It is set in the 1920s and focuses mostly on the American world of magic. Along with Scamander, the new movie will also show the life of a young and handsome Dumbledore (yes, played by Jude Law. Calm down everybody, this is a serious article).
When fans asked the director whether Dumbledore’s sexual orientation (Rowling has confirmed that he’s gay) will be depicted in the movie, he responded by saying that Dumbledore won’t be ‘explicitly’ gay in the movie. Furthermore, he went to add that fans already know that he is gay.
This seems downright ludicrous. A young, good-looking man will not explore his sexual side with his confirmed love interest, Grindelwald, who is also a main character in the movie? Are they just going to casually fight against each other without acknowledging the sexual tension? Or will they sit in a dingy room discussing dark magic with no sign of dark thoughts on their mind? Would this have happened if the pair was straight and one of them had been a woman?
Rowling, who has written the movie’s screenplay, has been facing furious backlash from fans on Twitter. And their anger is justified. Years ago, Rowling had said that the mighty Dumbledore is gay, so that people wouldn’t complain about diversity in her series. He wasn’t actually shown to be gay though, despite his major role in the tales. But fans accepted this claim, believing in their beloved author.
But when the time came for her to walk the talk, everything went sideways. And now Rowling’s fans are feeling pretty betrayed.
All this comes on the heels of her ambiguous and, frankly, unfathomable statement in support of Johnny Depp in November.
After his ex-wife Amber Heard accused him of verbally and physically abusing her, fans of the Potter series questioned his casting as Grindelwald. Rowling came to his defence saying that she was doing what the former couple had jointly said they wanted to do – get on with their lives. “Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the film-makers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies,” she wrote. This took a lot of people by surprise especially since she’s been a prominent voice in defence of women.
Ms Rowling, your fans expect better.