Saying Goodbye to Hogwarts

Posted September 28, 2020 by Amber in Bookish Things / 2 Comments

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Growing up, the Harry Potter series was everything to me.  Books have always been at the center of my life, but Harry was special.  Different.  It was the glue that kept my small, misfit group of friends together.  From movie premieres to marathon reading the new books, this series was at the center of most of the happiest memories of my childhood.

And now, it’s time to say goodbye.

Everyone knows about J. K. Rowling and the horrible things she has said about and is doing to the transgender community.  Even for the stubbornest of us, we can’t continue to say that anything was misunderstood or blown out of proportion – no.  There are no excuses.  She’s made her views quite clear and addressed them directly.  And she doesn’t stop screaming about them.

Like all decent people in the blogosphere, I can’t and won’t and DON’T support this.  But I also can’t “not support” it silently anymore.

But what does this mean?

First of all, I will no longer be posting any content that has anything to do with or gives light to this author or her works.  I do not want to ever be a platform for her voice and to spread something that is going to hurt my trans friends or others in the community.  There’s plenty out there to read and talk about without bringing up even a cultural phenomenon like Harry Potter.

Secondly, I am unhauling the Cormoran Strike series books I’ve picked up over the years but haven’t read.  Nobody needs that nonsense in their life, certainly not me.  I’m also unhauling any duplicate or special editions of the Harry Potter series.  I don’t want to give her any more money, even if it would be meaningless to her at this point.  And I want that room on my shelves.

I am a flawed human.  I’ve grappled with this a lot, but I am choosing not to unhaul my childhood set of Harry Potter books.  The stories were simply too meaningful to me growing up and I fully understand that try as we might, an author cannot be completely separated from her works.  But there are too many meaningful memories tied up in that series for me to throw them away, although they’ll always be tainted.  I wanted to be honest about that here.  I’m not a perfect person and I don’t always do the perfectly right thing.  However, should I ever feel the need to read these books, I won’t be sharing it publicly, won’t be adding new reviews, and again, I will not be giving this series any more face time.  Should I break and read a book or listen to the audiobooks, I will be following my problematic authors rule and donating an equal value of the book, audiobook, or film to a charity supporting trans rights.

Because Harry has been such a part of my life, I have Harry Potter inspired merch and art around my house.  Obviously, looking at any of these pieces now turns my stomach and they no longer bring joy. I’m planning on keeping my Funko, but not photographing them for Instagram’s #FunkoFriday and definitely not buying more – the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban trio I have on my desk at work will be coming home and secluded to a dark shameful corner.

I will be looking toward replacing any HP-inspired art with other pieces, preferably by the same artists.  I have a house print collection by TJ Lubrano in my upstairs hallway that I love, so I will definitely be replacing this with more of her work (I have some Alice and The Night Circus prints of hers in that hall as well.  So whimsical).

Lastly, I want to address travel.  How in the bloody world could JKR affect travel, am I right?  Whelp, my husband and I booked a trip to Universal Studios Orlando in 2019.  We were supposed to go for Halloween Horror Nights this October, but due to the pandemic, it’s been pushed out to next year.  Because of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, JKR receives a cut of every single ticket sold to the parks carrying her franchise.

Unfortunately, even with the pandemic, Universal doesn’t do refunds, so we can’t take that money back from her.  Fortunately, we weren’t planning to go just for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – we’re in Orlando every few years for the parks, but we hadn’t visited Universal in seven years and wanted a quick trip to see Halloween Horror Nights.  Anything else in the parks was a perk.  So we’ve done our research.

We won’t be purchasing any Harry Potter merchandise.  We won’t be eating anywhere near that section of the park.  We won’t be paying for any Harry Potter related experiences.  Basically, if it’s in the Wizarding World section, she gets paid, so we are just going to steer clear of that area.  There’s plenty of other things to do at Universal Studios beside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Personally, I’m a huge fan of The Mummy indoor coaster.  And the franchise.  Basically anything The Mummy. … Basically anything Brendan Fraser.  Have y’all seen Doom PatrolGeorge of the Jungle?  Hey, I never said I had good taste.

And, of course, it goes without saying that this will likely be our last trip to Universal Studios Orlando.  I’ve never liked it as much as the Disney Parks anyway, and since they directly support J. K. Rowling, all the more reason not to go.

Friends, I understand how difficult it is for some of us to give up this franchise.  When something like this becomes a cultural phenomenon, it’s hard to say goodbye.  It’s like quitting Star Wars or Marvel… it’s that huge.  But as individuals and especially as influencers, I feel we have a deep responsibility to those in the transgender community to fight back against J. K. Rowling’s bigotry.

It may be too little too late, but I would like to echo Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) in his statement in The Times from back in June:

“I firmly stand with the trans community and echo the sentiments expressed by many of my peers. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment.”

 

Thank you to all my friends out there who are stepping away from this problematic author and her franchise.  Thank you to those who support our trans communities.  And to my trans friends and colleagues… I love you so much and I am so sorry.

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What small steps are you taking to support the trans community?  Are you, like me, tearing off the Band-Aid and saying goodbye to the Potterverse?  Let me know your actions and other ways to help in the comments!

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2 responses to “Saying Goodbye to Hogwarts

  1. I love this, and I absolutely know where you’re coming from. JKR has had views I haven’t agreed with for a while now – I’m still angry at how she wrote the First Nations community out of her version of the history of magic in North America – but Harry Potter has belonged to its fandom for so long that I’ve been able to separate the books from her. Part of me still can because the series was such a big part of my childhood and my teenage years, but this year I’ve found it too hard to separate her from her work when she keeps being so hateful at every chance she gets.

    I’ve been collecting the illustrated editions of Harry Potter and, like you, earlier this year I decided I’d donate the same amount of money to an LGBT+ charity from now on, but it’s gotten to the point now where I don’t even know if I want to collect them. I have no plans to have anything HP-related on my blog anymore either – it’s not like she needs the publicity, after all! – but it is sad to see someone who meant so much to me as a child essentially become one of the villains she once warned us against.

    I really like how you addressed this and, as a fellow lover of The Mummy, can I PLEASE come with you to Universal?

    • Amber

      Lovers of The Mummy unite!!!

      Tbh, I’d always written off everything after the original series. The Cursed Child was … … something, and the North American version just felt like such a money grab (there were some good characters in the film, but that’s it). It’s all started to feel like bad fanfiction after a while, but you’re very right about the colonizer’s approach in the North American history of magic. Why couldn’t she have just finished DH and disappeared and left us all to ignorance of her disappointing, insulting possibilities. Gah.