A response to Why Potter Fans Should Stand With JK Rowling.
Call me a Slytherin (though I consider myself a Hufflepuff at heart). Or a Squib. But I’ve been committed Potterhead since about 2000.
Minor note, Simons, neither of us are old. 23-years-old does not qualify me for the senior menu at Denny’s. But I digress.
You asked me to stand with Rowling because I’m a fellow Potter fan. To that, I say “rubbish”.
I don’t care if Rowling donated her entire net worth into finding a cure for cancer or that she spends every summer knitting sweaters for orphaned naked cats. Hell, I don’t care that I grew up on the franchise she penned.
The flack she’s receiving for supporting Johnny Depp’s casting in her Fantastic Beasts series after reports came out about his abuse of Amber Heard? Well-deserved.
Rowling doesn’t get to support a proven abuser and merrily side-step potential criticism that such support garners. Especially when she’s spent her entire career claiming to fight for victims of domestic abuse.
How can you acknowledge #metoo survivors when you’re giving a paycheck to a perpetrator of violence? All Rowling has to offer is lip service.
There is no obligation to stand by Rowling or to stand by her decision to excuse Depp’s violence. No matter how big of a Potterhead you are. No matter how many hours you’ve sunk into repeated readings of the series.
Simon, you claim that Rowling is free of criticism because of the lip service she’s paid into different social movements. That Potter fans must always be willing to offer unconditional support, unconditional respect.
She is not immune from criticism just because she penned a beloved franchise. Our love of the work can, and will, exist outside of Rowling’s future and past actions.
When a work becomes as beloved as Harry Potter, it no longer exclusively belongs to the author. It belongs to those who sink their own meaning into the work, who spend hours curled underneath a bed sheet with a flashlight trawling in the magic of Harry and his friends, who attend midnight premieres at Barnes and Noble.
We can love the work without loving who the author is or wholeheartedly support every single action she dare takes outside of the franchise.
I’m not standing with Rowling. You don’t have to either.