New Potter series raises issue about author


J.K. Rowling

By Paul Kranenburg, Staff Writer

On April 12, it was officially announced that J.K.Rowling and Warner Bros. Discovery would be teaming up to re-adapt all seven “Harry Potter” books as a decade-long television series on HBO Max, soon to be revitalized as Max.

There have been several questions raised when the news first broke. Many wondered if this second adaptation is necessary after eight successful movies. Some questioned if the announcement came too soon since the show is only in the early development stage. However, Anthony D’Alessandro of Deadline raises what is arguably the most important question: How will J.K. Rowling’s views on the transgender community affect the show?
In the past few years, “Harry Potter” creator and author, J.K. Rowling has made no secret of her opinions on transgender people. She has repeatedly questioned their validity, encouraged others to deadname and misgender them and much more. Her comments and actions have been
incredibly controversial. In fact, Devan Coggan wrote for Entertainment Weekly that LGBT+ organizations such as GLAAD and Wizarding World actors have called out her remarks. As a result, many have now associated the entire franchise with transphobia and no longer feel
comfortable paying money for related video games, books, plays or movies. Many on the other hand have been trying their best to separate art from artist.
However, D’Alessandro wrote about how several reporters asked the head of streaming content for Max, Casey Bloys, how Rowling’s divisive stance will affect viewership and attracting talent to work on the show. Bloys responded with, “I don’t have a comment on that today” before elaborating that the press event meant to highlight the rebranding of a streaming service would probably not be the best place to have this important discussion. However, D’Alessandro also doesn’t want the readers of Deadline to shrug off the situation. He reiterates
Bloy’s comments about J.K. Rowling being an executive producer on the show and that she will be working very closely with the shows executives.

Yet, while a Harry Potter TV series may be a guaranteed success, the now tainted legacy of the Wizarding World makes many wonder if that’s going to be the case. Rowling has now lost the trust of many of her fans as well as quite a few “Harry Potter” alumni. The most notable would be the actor playing the boy wizard himself. Not only has Daniel Radcliffe condemned the author’s views but Rebecca Sun of The Hollywood Reporter recently did a piece about how the actor hosted a discussion with trans and nonbinary youth for a nonprofit series by The Trevor

It would make sense to Rowling to wipe the slate clean, rather than adapt her sequel play into a feature film that many hoped for the return of  Radcliffe. Many remakes of classic Disney animated features are labeled as pointless but still manage to pull in millions of dollars. A “Harry
Potter” show could have the same effect even if many weren’t asking for it. But while the fanbase is still large, it hasn’t exactly grown.
Many die-hard fans of the series renounced it after J.K. Rowling ex[pressed her views on the transgender community and continued to reiterate them over the next few years. In Coggan’s op-ed for EW, it is mentioned how two massive “Harry Potter” fan sites came together
in 2020 to condemn the author and promised to readjust their coverage of her in the years to come. While MuggleNet’s creative director Kat Miller is still a massive fan, she’s putting her transgender friends first. She stated that: “We’re going to continue to have a very inclusive fandom, one that is all about that friendship, love, and bravery that the books taught us.”

In fact, many fans are so against Rowling’s views that they’re not exactly throwing their money at her anymore. While the “Fantastic Beasts” movies, a prequel to the main “Harry Potter” series, were supposed to last for five films, they were cut short at three due to the diminished box office returns of the final film. Even the success of the recent video game, “Hogwarts Legacy,” wasn’t without discourse as many encouraged boycotts of the product.
However, Coggan describes the future of the franchise and J.K. Rowling best: “While other box office behemoths like Star Wars or Marvel have embraced different creative voices,Warner Bros. has repeatedly reinforced its ties to Rowling.” Rowling owns “Harry Potter” and
she continues to partner with Warner Bros. on projects set in the Wizarding World.

Rowling has claimed on several occasions that she is a victim of “cancel culture” due to many criticizing her opinions. However, she doesn’t have much to complain about in the long run. She’ll make money off of a beloved cash cow. If the series fails, she’ll try again because Warner Bros. doesn’t want to lose “Harry Potter.” She will continue to rake in the dough while spouting hurtful words towards a group of oppressed individuals. J.K. Rowling isn’t a victim, no matter how many times she says she is.