If you hadn’t guessed, I love Harry Potter. It’s a story I return to often and enjoy even more with every read.
I’m not too crazy about the fanbase.
I wouldn’t say it’s an entirely negative reaction, but more of a puzzled one. The fanbase has decided on things that I don’t agree with and/or comprehend and I wanted to take today to go through some of those things.
- Harry Potter is black
Hoo boy, you have to be careful with this one. The idea doesn’t bother me as much as the attitude. If you were ever to say to a fan who believes this, “Whatever, Harry’s white,” they would likely respond, “The text never said he WASN’T black, you whitewashing racist.”
Calm down, guys. There’s more than just whitewashing at play. I know as one of the series’ earliest readers that I was influenced by the books’ illustrations, which depicted a white-looking boy wizard. The final nail in the coffin was the casting of a white actor as Harry Potter. It’s fine to say, “I picture Harry Potter black,” but for many other people, it’s hard to divorce the images of the book and films from what they picture in their head. I had similar problems doing so when Lord of the Rings came out.
Some people also believe Hermione is black, because she has “bushy hair.” I don’t believe that, only because the handful of other black characters in the series (including Dean Thomas, Michael Corner, and Kingsley Shacklebolt) were specifically stated to be so.
- Hermione is a feminist icon
I didn’t start hearing this until after the movies came out. I’m suspicious of anyone who says this because I suspect they’re referring to Movie Hermione rather than Book Hermione, and those are completely different characters. I’m especially annoyed when I hear things like, “Hermione taught me that you don’t have to be classically beautiful.”
I’m noticing a pattern where the female characters touted as feminist icons are ones I don’t like. And I’m not happy about it.
- Sirius and Remus are gay
This one is almost as confusing to me as the first one because of the lack of evidence. Like with Harry’s race, people address Sirius and Remus’ sexuality with, “She never said they WEREN’T gay!”
I was younger when I read the series, so I might have missed something. In my readthroughs, though, I haven’t found anything that points to Sirius and Remus being a couple or to either one of them being gay. For those who insist there is something there, this is J. K. Rowling we’re talking about; she isn’t exactly the master of gay subtext.
- Severus Snape is a good guy
What bugs me here is that people use “good guy” and “good character” interchangeably. Snape was a bitter man who mistreated children and picked on an orphan because he didn’t like the kid’s dad.
After reading the seventh book, I have sympathy for Snape, but I will never be okay with the choices he made. I don’t think loving someone for a long time makes you a good person. You can be tragic and still not be entirely sympathetic.
- “Albus Severus Potter…you were named after two of the bravest men I ever met.”
Male characters who died for Harry Potter: Remus Lupin, Fred Weasley, Alastor Moody, Sirius Black, Colin Creevey, DOBBY
Forget those guys. Name your kid after the jerk who threatened to poison you in book 4. Threatening children and pining for a dead woman: that’s bravery right there.