Hogwarts Will Always Be There to Welcome You Home, Even If J.K. Rowling Isn't

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Time and time again, J.K. Rowling has let us down. 

From her defense of accused sexual assailant Johnny Depp’s casting as Gellert Grindlewald, to her changing of canon without ever writing storylines, to her transphobic stances, Rowling sullied herself with controversies, insensitivity, and prejudice in recent years. 

Most recently, the author tweeted transphobic comments once again — during Pride Month, no less. Her tirade began with a tweet expressing confusion on an article’s use of the phrase “people who menstruate,” believing that it should have been replaced with “women.”  

Fans instantly responded with comments that Rowling is a TERF, or a trans exclusionary radical feminist, a term which originated in the 1970s. TERFs do not believe that transwomen should be allowed in women-only spaces, and do not consider them to be “real women.” Rowling took offense with this label, but her tweets and comments, which equate sex with gender and delegitimize the trans experience, tell a different story. 

After backlash from her fans and cast members of the film franchise, Rowling doubled down on her Tweets, reflecting how many people use their sex to define themselves. 

 

"I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are,” she added in further tweets, including trans organizations people could donate to. 

In addition, Bonnie Wright, who played Ginny Weasley, Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood, Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley, Katie Leung, who played Cho Chang, Eddie Redmayne, who has starred as Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise, as well as Noma Dumezweni, who played Hermione in the original West End production of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ have also spoken out in solidarity with the trans community. 

But it's not only the actors who feel hurt by Rowling’s words; fans too feel betrayed. I feel betrayed, because Rowling’s comments and personal beliefs go against the heart of the Harry Potter universe — they are in diametric opposition with every value in her books.  

Like many of my peers, I grew up immersed in a world that had already been taken over by Harry Potter. I remember going to a book release at my local library to celebrate the publication of the final novel. I gobbled up the story of the Boy Who Lived the moment I had my hands on them. I remember sitting in the movie theater as the credits rolled for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 with my mom on one side, an overly-priced bucket of popcorn on the other. There is a nostalgia when I think of Harry Potter, but more than anything, those books instilled in me the importance of friendship and fighting for what is right, even if that might scare you.

Harry and his friends fight and eventually defeat an oppressive, autocratic regime based on a racial hierarchy. They befriend house elves and werewolves and half-giants, people who wizarding society has ostracized. They are a group made up of purebloods, half-bloods, and mudbloods alike, and they don’t view each other differently because of these statuses; instead, they actively combat them. Hermione spends the early books fighting for the rights of house elves who have been treated as slaves for generations. 

While the deemed golden trio and the rest of their friends are dismissed, and all their efforts of allyship ignored by the adults too stuck in their way, in the end, they succeed. A group of teenagers who weren’t blinded by biases was able to take down a group founded on hatred, because they never gave up and continued to stand up for others. 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The books we read and cherish as children shape us as adults. Harry Potter shaped me, and shaped my activism. While I — and everyone else in this world — need to continue developing our activism and making a more inclusive world, these books set the baseline for how people should treat one another. Act with kindness and respect to all, celebrate diversity, and continue to fight prejudice in all its forms. It’s what Harry Potter did, and what we see young people doing all across the world. 

J.K. Rowling created this world, but she has proven time and again that she does not emulate its values. She did not fight for trans women and accept them into her community. Instead, she made them the “other” and ostracized them. Rowling might be the mastermind behind the inclusive Potterverse, but she has also torn down the bricks of Hogwarts for many people who once felt included in her world. 

“Here I am, a person who once revered Rowling, a person who is also in the community that she invalidated with a few careless tweets,” wrote Mallory Yu, an NPR producer in an op-ed. “It's more than a little disappointing that the woman who created a wizarding world that meant everything to me doesn't care to include me or my community.”

While it is hard to separate the creator and the creation, especially when the author is still alive and profiting off her words, at the end of the day, Harry Potter has outgrown Rowling. It now has a life of its own, and a thriving community outside of her. It's the fans and their love of these stories that created a community, and now it's up to them and the lessons they've learned from those books to make a better world. It's up to them to stomp out hate. 

The Harry Potter series is the most read to this day, and as a result, Rowling’s work has created its own Dumbledore’s Army in the real world – people who reject her hate. They've learned the true lessons of Harry Potter. When will Rowling? 

This is the true death of the author: Rowling’s words have lived on, and breathe a life of their own, one that does not accept her transphobia. Her tweets go against the values of love and acceptance that are the very foundation of the Potterverse she built. When Rowling said at the London premiere of the eighth, and final, Harry Potter film, “Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home,” fans took this to heart. So whether you're straight, gay, Black, white, trans, or more, you are a member of the Harry Potter family. Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home – just without J.K. Rowling.