J.K. Rowling: Is she ruining more than her reputation?


Josie Swanson (9th), Editor

As far as I’m aware, the J. K. Rowling controversy started about a year after the last Harry Potter book was released. She released a statement, on twitter, that a beloved character of the series was gay. At the time, no one found issue with this. There were parts of the story where it could be implied, and the Harry Potter books had never really focused on relationships, so it was understandable that this detail didn’t make its way into the series.

Of course as time passed, fans of the series began to feel that Rowling was trying to please everyone by having a character that was gay, but not putting it directly into the series. It was also clear that by releasing these new details, Rowling was trying to milk as much attention (and money, in the case of Fantastic Beasts) out of the series as possible.

It didn’t help that with these accusations, Rowling had been very open about her opposition to the trans-gender community. She wrote entire essays on her twitter account about the topic, wrote many tweets undermining people in the trans community, and liked multiple anti-trans posts.

What this really comes down to, for me, is separation of art and artist. I disagree with J. K. Rowling in many of her beliefs, and I believe her to be genuinely wrong in so many aspects, but does this mean that the series is ruined for me? Should I stop watching the films, or going to the parks, or buying merchandise for the series due to her lack of sensitivity for an often misunderstood minority?

Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and Daniel Radcliff, the stars of the live action Harry Potter films, have all made comments on social media and in interviews that they in no way agree with J. K. Rowling in this matter. Rupert Grint, the actor portraying Ron Weasley, goes so far as to say, “I am hugely grateful for everything she’s”, in regard to Rowling, “done. I think that she’s extremely talented. I mean, clearly, her works are genius.”

Grint goes on to say, “But I think also you can have great respect for someone and still disagree with things like that.”

I truly believe that the answers to these questions come down to personal choice. If a fan is unable to read the series without thinking of the J. K. Rowling books, then it is entirely within their right to stop reading the books. On the other hand, if someone else is able to put aside the author’s beliefs, and read the books as the fantasy novels they are, then more power to them.

A good way to still enjoy the series without supporting J. K. Rowling is to buy fan made merchandise that doesn’t profit her. Support creators that go out of their way to make non J. K. Rowling related content for readers to enjoy. 

And while it is most definitely a shame that the author of such a wonderful and fantastic series has so much controversy surrounding her, I encourage every fan to decide for themselves whether this ruins the books for them.