J.K. Rowling’s Fall from Grace


Kailey Conti

Art of author J.K. Rowling

Natalie Donnelly

J.K. Rowling, the formerly beloved author of the notorious and beloved series Harry Potter was exposed for her prejudices.

Rowling started off as a single mother living off government assistance in England. She was rejected by multiple publishers before striking it big with Harry Potter.

This series was originally targeted toward middle school demographics but is loved by a variety of age groups.

In 1998 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was published; it was turned into a movie in 2001. 

After the series was completed, however, Rowling decided to keep changing Harry Potter’s timeline and the timelines of the series that take place in the same universe. Some of these changes were posted on her website, “Pottermore,” while others were announced via her Twitter.

Some of the changes were ridiculous things that didn’t really matter to the story, like how Hogwarts didn’t have toilets, and characters just relieved themselves wherever, before getting rid of the evidence, or how Uncle Vernon apparently supported Brexit. 

Other changes were more noteworthy and controversial: Rowling took to twitter to announce that Dumbledore was gay, despite his personal romantic relationships never being mentioned in the series. Rowling then decided to announce that Dumbledore apparently had a physical relationship with his childhood friend-turned-rival, Grindelwald, even though nothing in the prequel series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, even hinted toward a past relationship between the two. 

These scandals were nothing compared to the backlash Rowling faced after she took to twitter to criticize the term “people who menstruate,” claiming the erasal of women in language. 

Then, after receiving extreme backlash, she doubled down on her views, sharing items from an online store with marketing phrases such as “Trans men are my sisters.”

Most of the cast members from the movies have also criticized Rowling and denounced her statements. 

After seeing Rowling’s prejudices against the trans community, people decided to take a long hard look at the series for other prejudices that had previously gone unnoticed. 

One example of her prejudices was shown in the race of house elves. This was heavily criticized because in the series, the house elves are enslaved. The claim that the characters in the series use to defend the treatment of the house elves was that they “enjoyed” working and thus did not want fair compensation or rights.

The only character who thought they should have basic rights was Hermione, and she was heavily made fun of and seen as a joke. 

 Rowling’s prejudices were also exposed by how she portrayed the Goblin race. Who showed very heavy antisemetic elements from the way that they control all the money in the wizarding world to the way that they are feared for being greedy or stingy. 

TikTok and a variety of other platforms have provided a way for people to share and discuss problematic elements from her books. These spaces served as a meeting ground for people to discuss the issues in the series, fueled the hatred for her to spread like a wildfire.  

When Rowling was first carving a place for herself in the publishing word, she decided to  use the pen name we know her by currently, instead of her given name, Joanne. Since this was a middle-grade series with a male protagonist, the team was concerned that young boys would not want to read a book clearly written by a woman.

This is where her trans-exclusionary radical feminist beliefs, and her protectiveness of her femininity, are believed to have begun.

Recently Rowling published a book recently titled Troubled Blood. This story features a man who cross dresses as a woman to deceive and kill other women. The man described his cross dressing as a “fantasy” he chooses to live in.

In combination with Rowling’s previously stated transphobia, it currently does not look like her career and public perception will ever recover from the damage she keeps inflicting onto it.

Rowling’s prejudices contrast the themes of love and acceptance prevalent in her series, saddening many.

 In a matter of years, Rowling has gone from being one of the most successful modern authors, widely loved and highly praised, to being one of the most hated people in the literary  community.