We debate why space wizards would have been easier.
Harry Potter is at a crossroads. Last week, J.K. Rowling released four new pieces of writing about magic in America on Pottermore — pieces that have spurred passionate reactions about the treatment of Native Americans in Rowling’s imaginings.
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Alanna Bennett: Both Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling are slowly starting to acknowledge that they're not going to stop releasing new Harry Potter content, ever. They're gonna hang on to that copyright forever. So it's interesting watching them try to set that future up, and seeing where in that process they might be shooting themselves in the feet and/or tiring people out. It's a weird tightrope walk — especially as Jo starts wading into more and more cultures she hasn't actually lived in.
Hayes Brown: I am pre-exhausted for all of this.
AB: I am not against what she's doing on principle — not in reference to the culture stuff, to be clear, but to the general thing of expanding this world and expressing her thoughts on it. This might be because I have personally grappled with what happens when I disagree with her, in big ways and small. But I do think she's in a place where, regardless of what she writes, there are going to be a lot of people she upsets.
HB: Dear J.K. Rowling, you cannot win. Sorry. Welcome to America. Love, us.
AB: Which doesn't erase that those feelings are valid. Harry Potter means so much to so many people, so people are naturally going to have all kinds of reactions to it — especially when it wades into very real cultures that Jo is not a part of. Those reactions are real, and important. But in the very general sense of watching the world's most famous living author try to expand on a beloved world, what's happening right now is endlessly fascinating to me.
HB: It's so true. Which is a shame because we've all been so curious about this very thing — tell us about wizards in America! We want more information! Help us!
Alexis Nedd: Jo has crucially never attempted to fictionalize a minority culture before, instead allowing wizards to stand in for a minority subculture. No one's going to get pissy over a tea cozy joke because it's dominant British culture. But that's not what's happening anymore. And you can't put a fantasy bandage on a cut that hasn't stopped bleeding.
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