15 Times J.K. Rowling's Prejudice Was Shown In Her Writing
Start writing a post

15 Times J.K. Rowling's Prejudice Was Shown In Her Writing

How could we have missed this?

15 Times J.K. Rowling's Prejudice Was Shown In Her Writing

When I first started writing for the Odyssey in December of last year, one of the first articles I wrote was about how reading the "Harry Potter" series makes you a better person because of what the series itself stands for. However, J.K. Rowling recently outed herself as a vehement TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) and has absolutely refused to back down on her stance. Rowling has now gone as far as to publish a new book entitled "Troubled Blood" that has an incredibly transphobic plotline. "Troubled Blood" is a fictional story about a cisgender, heterosexual male who dresses up as a woman to invade women-only areas and violate and murder women. It's as if J.K. Rowling is writing this book in order to justify her own blatant transphobia by creating an awful scenario (that has LITERALLY never happened, hence why she's having to write a FICTION novel about it). This rather recent discovery that J.K. Rowling is a TERF has caused me to reevaluate my relationship with the "Harry Potter" series as well as taking a deeper look at the series as a whole. Upon doing so, I realized Rowling is far more problematic and prejudiced than I originally thought. There are so many hidden instances of racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. in Rowling's writing and I'm surprised that so many of us (myself included) missed it.

Seamus Finnigan

School Cooking GIF by Harry PotterGiphy

Seamus Finnigan is a Gryffindor in Harry's year who is a half-blood wizard and one of the only explicitly Irish characters in the series. The way in which Rowling portrays Seamus Finneagan is incredibly stereotypical and borderline offensive. He's depicted as being angry and somewhat violent and is constantly trying to turn things into alcohol or blowing things up.

Dean Thomas 

Dean Thomas is one of the few cannon black characters in the series... and one of the few characters to have an absentee father.

Kingsley Shacklebolt 

Kingsley Shacklebolt is one of the only other cannon black characters and his last name is Shacklebolt... Are you kidding me J.K?

So much queer-baiting

harry potter hug GIFGiphy

Queer-baiting is defined as "a marketing technique for fiction and entertainment in which creators hint at, but do not actually show, same-sex romance or other LGBTQ+ representation. Queer-baiting is often problematic because it treats the LGBTQ+ community as a "trend" or something that boosts ratings. There is SO much queer-baiting in the Harry Potter universe. J.K. Rowling said she originally wanted to make Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan but thought it would "take too much attention away" from the golden trio. I don't see how a same-sex relationship could possibly draw attention away from the main characters but a heterosexual couple does not? The characters of Sirius Black and Remus Lupin were written so queer coded that the director of the films and actors David Thewlis and Gary Oldman thought that they were supposed to be a couple. This is obviously not the case as made evident by J.K. Rowling seeing as she killed off Sirius and gave Remus a female love interest before also killing him off.

The Werewolf and HIV comparison

idk i like it harry potter GIFGiphy

J.K. Rowling has stated that the lycanthropy in the series was a metaphor for illnesses that carry a stigma (i.e. HIV and AIDS). Someone becomes a werewolf by being attacked by another werewolf and when someone turns into a werewolf they have an utterly uncontrollable urge to turn others into a werewolf. She is ultimately comparing werewolves to the disgusting stereotype that gay men take pleasure in giving HIV to unsuspecting sexual partners. In the series, there is also the Wolfsbane potion which is able to help with some of the "symptoms" of becoming a werewolf when there is a full moon but cannot cure them. This is similar to Zidovudine (AZT), an anti-viral drug used to slow the progression of HIV and AIDs and prolong life but cannot cure someone. There is also the incredibly problematic character Fenrir Greyback who takes pleasure in turning innocent young boys into werewolves and ultimately ruining their life.

Writing Hermione as white and then claiming she didn't

harry potter GIFGiphy

There was quite an uproar when black actress Noma Dumezweni was cast as Hermione Granger in the London production of "The Cursed Child". Many people were unhappy because they claimed that Hermione was meant to be white and J.K. Rowling called these people racists. While I do not believe someone's race impacts their ability to play a role, I am upset that J.K. Rowling won't admit that she wrote Hermione as being white. It is explicitly stated several times throughout the series such as in "The Prisoner of Azkaban" when it says "Hermione's white face was sticking out from behind a tree",

Gringotts goblins 

Rowling fully embraces the anti-Semitic myth of the "economic Jew" in her depiction of the goblins who operate the Gringotts Wizard Bank. The goblins have some stereotypical Jewish characteristics such as a large nose and their lives purpose is to run the wizard bank and guard money. They are also characterized as being pushy, greedy, and constantly taking things that do not belong to them.

More empty queer-coding

Confused Harry Potter GIFGiphy

At an event at Carnegie Hall in 2007 Rowling stated that she "always thought of Dumbledore as gay". It is hinted at in the final book that Dumbledore had a romantic relationship with another wizard by the name of Grindelwald. Many fans (myself included) were so excited for the new movie "The Crimes of Grindelwald" because it was a chance to learn more about the relationship between the two men and then nothing happened. Believe it or not, just saying that a character is gay and then not having them act on it isn't LGBTQ+ representation.

So much racism

Merry Christmas GIF by Harry PotterGiphy

Microaggressions and inadvertent racism run rampant in the series. Some of my favorites being the fact that two out of the three asian characters in the series are in Ravenclaw AKA the "smart" house. She literally named one of her asian characters Cho Chang. There is also the fact that in the movies Lavender Brown was played by a black actress and was made white for the later movies when she became a featured character while dating Ron.


harry potter love GIFGiphy

Rowling must struggle with a lot of her own internalized misogyny because it is very much present in her writing. Every single female character that is supposed to be "girly" is also written to be unbearably obnoxious and we as the reader are supposed to dislike them. For example, when Lavender Brown starts dating Ron we are supposed to hate her because she becomes overbearing and clingy. Or how Cho Chang is supposed to be annoying when she's always visibly upset because she's grieving her boyfriend who was just murdered. Why are we as readers supposed to hate these characters for experiencing and expressing normal emotions?

The Weasley's

harry potter GIFGiphy

The stereotype that that people with red hair are poor and have a lot of children dates back to the medieval times and is apparent among the Weasley family. It is also believed to be poking fun at the fact that Catholic (mainly Irish Catholic) families tend to be absolutely enormous.

Slavery and the house elves

dobby GIFGiphy

The house-elves are a species of subservient elves that live to serve the wizards. Their sole purpose in life is to be servants for elite wizard families and are often horribly mistreated and they are happy to live their life that way. I don't know that just really doesn't sit right with me.

Veelas and Sexism 

Veelas are a species of semi-human magical beings. They are described as being beautiful women with white-gold hair and skin that seems to shine moon-bright. Veela also have the power to drive all men uncontrollably wild, especially when they turn on their charm or perform the sensual dance that they are known for. Because Veela have the ability to tempt and lure men, they often fall victim to assault and misconduct from men which they are then blamed for. Most women also CANNOT STAND the veelas. The flat-out sexism is not cute!

Fat phobia among antagonists

harry potter poa GIFGiphy

Literally every single antagonist within the series (aside from Voldemort and Bellatrix). The Dursley's? Fat. Aunt Marge? Fat. Crabbe and Goyle? Fat. Peter Pettigrew? Fat. Delores Umbridge? FAT. Making the the antagonists all larger in size allows fatphobia to run rampant within the series and equates their fatness to their bad or evil character traits.

Justifying child abuse

snape GIFGiphy

I will never forgive J.K. Rowling for trying to justify Harry Potter being horrifically abused at home and at school. She tries to justify sending Harry Potter to live with the Dursley's (who were known to be abusive) by saying it was "for the greater good". Rowling also tries to justify the years of abusive behavior exhibited by Snape by saying it's because he was in love. I don't buy it.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments