I've been thinking about this for a while and I should probably say something about it, though probably no one really cares about my perspective. Trans lives matter, despite what JKR says. I still love Harry Potter, though, and I will tell you why.
Harry Potter has brought so much joy to my life. Some of my fondest memories that I'm about to share with you involve midnight releases of the books and movies and dressing up in costume with my family and friends.
One of my first cosplays was Tonks for the Half-Blood Prince book release. That was 2005 and was shortly after Jacob, my now-husband, and I started dating. We dressed up together to get it, and my mom came too. We were Tonks, Draco and Trelawney.
I don't have a photo of this one, but another favorite memory is when Jacob dressed as Mad-Eye Moody at our college's showing of Goblet of Fire, complete with googly eye and silver foot, and lost a costume contest to a small child wearing a generic wizard Halloween costume. Oh, the outrage! What was that child even doing at our university?
When Order of the Phoenix came out, no one really felt like dressing up, but I did of course, so I just parted my hair in the middle, wore all black and didn't wear makeup, a terrible and perfect Snape!
When the Half-Blood Prince movie came out, I revamped by Tonks cosplay from the book release, taking it a step further and dying my hair hot pink.
I shared that picture because I don't have a picture for later that night when Jacob was dressed as Dumbledore and people waiting in line near us asked him to take a picture. We were thinking they wanted a picture with them, but no, they wanted him to take their picture and he responded, as Dumbledore, how odd it was that they wanted him, Albus Dumbledore, to take their muggle photograph.
Another favorite memory is when my entire family dressed up for the Deathly Hallows part two movie release. My dad and I walked around the parking lot of the theater as Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange. He didn't care anything about the books or movies, but asked me what he should say and how he should say it if someone spoke to him.
There have also been so many Harry Potter library programs that I've done, so many great memories frolicking around the various libraries I've worked in as many different characters, and also sharing my costumes with coworkers so they could take part, too.
Then last summer on the podcast, celebrating the Summer of Harry Potter and dressing up each week in elaborate costumes. I created three new ones then that I love so much: Igor Karkaroff, the painting of Walburga Black and Moaning Myrtle, my newest favorite character to be.
And recently, making the Pass the Wand video and reliving all these characters.
Then there's all the times I got to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. We got to go before the park opened, which was magical, and one time, we got to go to a red carpet event and I met Stanislav Yanevski, Viktor Krum, and had a conversation with David Bradley, Mr. Filch.
I still have all of these happy memories and I will cherish them always. Always.
However, now and in the recent past, JKR has said truly hurtful and ignorant things on social media. She tries to make it better by sharing her story, but it never gets better, it only gets worse, which is tragic. So many have spoken out against her. Neville said in Deathly Hallows, "The thing is, it helps when people stand up to them, it gives everyone hope," and I hope she will think about the things everyone is saying to her, will think about the quotes and lessons from her books, and will realize that what she's doing and saying is harmful and will choose to make better decisions in the future. That's all we can hope for. From Dumbledore in Goblet of Fire, "Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery."
Some people are calling her She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, which is fitting I think, and brings to mind Ollivander's quote from Sorcerer's Stone. "After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things — terrible, yes, but great," but I choose to think about it a little differently in the case of JKR, maybe replacing "but" with "and." She has done great things — terrible, yes, AND great." There are many wonderful things she's done, writing a series that brought a love of reading to so, so many, co-founding Lumos, donating to charities. I will choose to remember the good and use what I've learned from this magical world to make the right decisions, to stand up for my friends. After all, as Sirius said in the Order of the Phoenix movie, "We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are." I choose to be great, great meaning good, not great meaning big and terrible, Voldemort-style.
I will leave this now with several other quotes from the books and movies that came to mind while I was writing this post and why I thought of them. Some are helpful, some are important, some are thoughtful, some are ridiculous. Maybe you'll find them useful in one way or another.
"I am what I am, an' I'm not ashamed. 'Never be ashamed,' my ol' dad used ter say, 'there's some who'll hold it against you, but they're not worth botherin' with.'"
Hagrid, Goblet of Fire
No matter how you live your life, it's yours. As long as you're not hurting anyone, don't be ashamed, no matter what garbage thing people may think. They don't matter.
"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."
Dumbledore, Goblet of Fire
This one makes me laugh in this context. It doesn't matter what you were born. If that's not what you want to be or who you are, become who you were meant to be.
“The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed.”
Dumbledore, Prisoner of Azkaban
This one also makes me laugh. Think of the consequences of your actions, or, hem hem, the things you constantly post on social media, and how they will reflect on your future.
"You are a symbol of hope for many, Harry. The idea that there is somebody out there who might be able, who might even be destined, to destroy He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named — well, naturally, it gives people a lift."
Slughorn, Half-Blood Prince
These books and movies are a symbol of hope to many, just like Harry was. Also, maybe one of the responses someone makes will finally make a difference, will finally destroy the negativity caused by JKR. We can always hope.
"It was important to fight, and to fight again, and to keep fighting, to keep evil at bay, though never quite eradicated."
Harry, Half-Blood Prince
If nothing anyone says gets through, if no lessons are learned, keep fighting anyway.
Dumbledore, Sorcerer's Stone
This is what I will think each time I hope the tides are turning and then they don't. I will continue to hope though, continue to fight, continue to eat jellybeans even though they're probably going to keep tasting like earwax. One day, the jellybean will be toffee instead, and I will be delighted.
Finally, this. Harry Potter fans all over are feeling a loss right now. The author whose work brought us so much joy is letting us down, but "... the pain we all feel at this dreadful loss ... reminds us that while we may come from different places and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one." Dumbledore, Goblet of Fire movie
Thank you for reading. Not only this, but Harry Potter, and all the other wonderful books in the world.