It’s not often I do this, but here we go.
I believe J.K. Rowling, in spite of the recent strings of controversy this past month, especially during this month, remains one of the most influential authors in the fantasy genre. She not only fought against the male dominated icons of Tolkien, Jordan, Sanderson, Martin, Pratchett, and numerous other highly revered Fantasy storytellers. Someone who influenced and entire generation of children to not only believe in magic, but fight the darkness that exists within us, and in front of us. I had seen so many movies, read so many books, even played those licensed adaptations on the PlayStation 2 and Gamecube. Some were decent, others…not so much.
I still think that she remains one of the most prolific fantasy authors in the last twenty years. And that’s what makes me mad about this ordeal.
Over the past several months, J.K. Rowling has gone on to defend not just her right as a woman (nothing wrong with that, honest), but to attack transgender creators and individuals at large, and even go as far as to defend a controversial transphobe herself. I’m not going to get into this debate of “are transgender women actually women.” It’s honestly not my place to decide that and I’d rather not speak on behalf of the trans community when I myself am a cisgendered straight guy.
These comments are not just incendiary, but damaging to Mrs. Rowling’s career. Children grew up believing that they could be wizards and witches, heroes of a wizarding world hidden from the typical and boring muggle world. In an age where anyone can be the hero of their story, white, black, asian, indigenous, male, female, trans, non-binary, gay, lesbian, I can go on and on.
The world is moving to a more inclusive society now more than ever. Stories are growing diverse and rich in cultures outside of what we’ve grown accustomed to, both as Americans and, in Mrs. Rowling’s case, as English folk alike. Might have gotten away with that to some extent in the late 90s and early 2000s. In 2020 where not only we have a President lashing out at everyone who dares criticize him, not only are we witnessing police brutality come to a head, and not only are citizens showing their true, hateful colors, there’s little excuse to not be more open.
I have written mostly white male heroes, cause that’s who I am. Many of my protagonists, even back then, were of that nature. Nowadays, I’m broadening my horizons, coming up with storylines, characters, and personalities that I would never have imagined writing in my pre-teen years when I first made Hamtaro fanfiction, for some reason.
In this day and age, you can grow, change your old habits, your old prejudices, and be more welcoming of those whose ideals you don’t necessarily agree with, or you can drown yourself in this hate and undo your entire legacy in the blink of an eye. As someone who grew up on Harry Potter, following his journey through Hogwarts and dreaming of joining a school of magic, to have that ripped from me is like taking my own son, one that I had loved and cared for, be reduced to something I despise.
I still trust that you can learn and adapt. It’s not too late, not while new worlds are waiting to be made. You tought me to fight my inner death eaters, and fight against the forces of darkness both inside and out. It would be ironic, and disappointing, to see you succumb to this darkness yourself.