JK Rowling Ruining Her Own Magic

I’ve written before about the unfortunate awkwardness and confusion that we fans feel when celebrities/influencers are revealed to be more problematic than once thought. That was years ago, and since then, it’s not gotten easier, nor has the issue dimmed as more are more revered people are outed as Bad. But a lot of the time, even recently, the behaviour in question is from years ago, often a decade or more. So we have to be allowed to forgive and examine recent changes to determine if the person is worth our praise/money/time again. I’ve also written before about how that should be a solo decision and how cancel culture needs to reflect that.

JK Rowling, however, has taken a new approach to problematic behavior. Not only is she recently revealed to be a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist), but she revealed it herself. She alone has tarnished her own reputation and brought it to light herself.

surprised and confused gif.

Of course, she’s been lowkey doing it for ages when it comes to Harry Potter. Every year or so she’d share some new tidbit about the Wizarding World and after a while, it got unnecessary. Dumbledore is gay? Okay, we can handle that. Nagini is actually an Asian woman? Um, that came out of nowhere, but alright. Hufflepuffs hold their own sex-ed classes in the dorms? ….What. At that point fans were old enough and could embrace what they want, think critically if they want, and accept that this author is fighting way too hard to stay relevant when she really did not need to because we all loved Harry Potter. We all were totally planning on raising our kids on that magic that we were raised on.

But then the transgender stuff came out. And it’s weird. (For those blissfully unaware, Rowling has for a few years now been thought to be transphobic/supportive of transphobic people, but she had never really confirmed it or acted on it until recently, June 10th to be specific, when she published a whole article about it and her thoughts on trans people and sexuality and women’s rights. The article was not cited and was filled with blatant transphobic beliefs despite the fact that she claimed to support trans people). I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the most educated on trans issues, but even I knew that the stuff she was spewing was dangerously wrong. How she could sit there and say she’s done the research and spoke to her trans friends and all that, and then still feel the need to write a whole manifesto like that is weird. It’s concerning.

That Aint Right And She Aint Right GIF.

And it’s ruining Harry Potter. People are pointing out issues within the books and people are rethinking their beliefs. I can’t imagine how trans Potter fans have been feeling. To know that the person you may have looked up to and who created a safe and exciting escape for you actually thinks you’re a problem and a danger and then is so confident about this that she’ll proudly speak it and close herself off to any criticism or discussion? It’s unfortunate.

I’ve read several blog posts from Potterheads explaining how they’re choosing to act going forward. In this post from Bizarre Brunette, she said she’s going to stop supporting Rowling financially by buying fan art instead of official merch and by not seeing the Fantastic Beasts movies in theaters. And another blogger, Strange Storyteller, said in this post that she has decided to stop engaging with any Harry Potter things fully, as she’s unable to separate the art from the artist.

Both takes are valid, and as I said in my post in cancel culture, it should be up to you personally to take the info and decide how you feel and how you’re going to act. Harry Potter has played such a huge part in so many of our lives, so it’s understandable that it’s hard, perhaps even unfathomable, to remove it fully from your life. Personally, I feel like the magic of Harry Potter transcended Rowling a long time ago for me. I’ve unfollowed her on social media and I’ll certainly think twice before I give money to something Potter-related, but I’m choosing to still enjoy quidditch and choosing to enjoy the books/DVDs I already own. This doesn’t make me a bad person, nor you, if you’re in a similar boat. I’m aware Rowling is problematic and I do not support her or her beliefs. To many, she’s now just another sucky creator we’ll largely dislike forever now.

You made it a mess gif.

I encourage you, whether you’re a fan of Harry Potter or not, to educate yourself on trans issues and where Rowling’s beliefs went wrong. Here are three things / really breaking it down / to get you started.

As always, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Have your feelings toward Harry Potter changed? Do you think people should separate art from the artist?

 

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I Wrote An iBook! And You Can Read It!

Guess who’s a published author? Meeeeee!

Leslie Knope smiling proudly
The exact face I made when I called my mom and told her

This past semester I took a course on iPad publishing because I had the prereq and heard good things about it from an upper-year student I asked last year. In this small class, we were each loaned an iPad for the semester, introduced to iBooks Author, and told to write, design, and publish an iBook. It could be on any topic and it could be as interactive as we’d like, as long as we use some design critical thinking and completed the assignment updates on time. I was originally going to write a book on how to start a blog, as that was something I had solid knowledge on, but then I had a better idea. What’s the one thing that people can never wrap their heads around when I tell them about it? Muggle Quidditch.The cover for Muggle Quidditch: Yes, It's Real!

Super nerdy, yes, and I feel like anyone who saw me working on it in the computer lab was hardcore judging me, but I am so proud of this book! It’s called Muggle Quidditch: Yes, It’s Real! and it’s a quick but comprehensive guide to the non-magical version of the sport. And since it’s an iBook, it’s colourful and interactive and fun to read. It is now available for download from Apple’s iBook store and it’s being offered for the low, low price of zero dollars and zero cents! Yes, it’s free! I mean, I thought about selling it for a small fee, but it’s only sixteen pages and I made it for a class, so the school credit and good grade is reward enough. Plus, it’s not like I’d make a living off of it! I’d much rather introduce the amazing sport to new people for free, anyway!

The book is available worldwide and it’s downloadable on iPhones, iPod Touches, Macs, and iPads, but the levels of interactivity make it best experienced on an iPad or a Mac.

Download Muggle Quidditch: Yes, It’s Real! by clicking here

I’ve mentioned my involvement with my school’s Quidditch team on my blog a few times before, and if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll probably see me tweet about it every once in a while, so through me, you may know the sport exists, but this guide really delves into all the smaller aspects that I know people are curious about.

Anyway, since it’s not being sold, whether you download it or not doesn’t really affect me, but if you have an interest in Harry Potter or this sport and want to learn more, please give it a read! I worked really, really, really hard on it and I’d love for people other than my mom and my teammates to enjoy it. If you do download it, I’d also love for you to take a few seconds to rate it on the iTunes store. It’d mean a lot!

Anyway, I’m so glad I can share this with you! I spent months working on it but I didn’t want to share news of it until it was available, so I’m thrilled to be able to tell everyone about it now! This is my first taste of official publication and it tastes super great! I can’t wait to deal with my actual novel at the end of next semester!

If you do download it, thank you so much! I hope you like it! And thanks in advance to everyone who’ll rate/review it and/or tell a friend!

That’s all for now!

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Why Can’t These Ladies Tie Back Their Hair???

One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to action movies/TV shows is when the female characters have long hair and they don’t tie it back. It drives me insane to watch because of course their hair always looks nice (that entertainment magic!) but I know how impractical it is.

Listen to me: long hair is annoying. I know this because I have long hair. I love my hair, I do, but my left wrist always has two hair elastics on it because there are moments I just gotta tie it back. Like sometimes I have to tie it back when I’m studying or writing an essay because even constantly looking down at my keyboard or a book causes my hair to fall in my face. I also tie it back when I sleep because I don’t like it choking me when I turn my head.

And while I love seeing more and more amazing ladies in midst of the action on various superhero shows and whatnot, I get so annoyed watching a lot of them engage in combat and quick movements and knowing that in real life, their movements would be very hindered because of their long hair. It’s very impractical in battle.

The other night while watching the mid-season finale of Agents Of SHIELD, I tweeted this upon seeing one character have her hair back in a braid:

(Natalia Cordova retweeted it and my mentions blew up and my night was officially made)

A braid is even better than a pony-tail because that way the hair is constricted even more. I personally do not like my hair pulled back in a pony-tail and I try to only do it when I’m alone. I just don’t think it suits me. So when playing Quidditch, I’ve been experimenting with only tying the front part back, which frees my peripherals (and is also a look Yo-yo has rocked). But if I ever really needed all my hair back, of course I’d sacrifice my vanity for the greater good.

Here are just a few characters off the top of my head who would benefit from doing the same.

Peggy Carter’s one flaw.
Kara always seems to be fighting and flying on slightly windy days and yet, her hair is ALWAYS free. She'll tie it up for Thanksgiving dinner, but saving the world? Nah
Kara always seems to be fighting and flying on slightly windy days and yet, her hair is ALWAYS free. She’ll tie it up for Thanksgiving dinner, but saving the world? Nah
Natasha's hair in Avengers was perfect: short, stylish, and out of the way. Then from Winter Soldier onwards she decides to wear it long with a center part. Did they teach that in the Red Room?
Natasha’s hair in Avengers was perfect: short, stylish, and out of the way. Then from Winter Soldier onwards she decides to wear it long with a center part. Did they teach that in the Red Room?
SHIELD slaps their logo on everything. How about some SHIELD hair elastics, yeah?
SHIELD slaps their logo on everything. How about some SHIELD hair elastics, yeah?
 Hair aside, both Sara and Laurel also have the mask to interfere with vision. What a combo. Though, admittedly, sometimes in Legends Sara does have her hair kind of slicked back or tied up if it works with the time they're in...
Hair aside, both Sara and Laurel also have the mask to interfere with vision. What a combo. Though, admittedly, sometimes in Legends Sara does have her hair kind of slicked back or tied up if it works with the time they’re in…
That headband thing is doing NOTHING (except look cool)
That headband thing is doing NOTHING (except look cool)

But not all characters are disappointing me. Here are a few more gals off the top of my head who’ve at least done something to help, even if it’s not the best:

A ponytail is good, but what if Electra used her bandana thing to hold her long bangs back?
A ponytail is good, but what if Electra used her bandana thing to hold her long bangs back?
Pigtails are not a common look for anyone above the age of seven, but Harley's hair is out of her face. I feel like they could still be a hassle though, with the hair being at the sides rather than the back.
Pigtails are not a common look for anyone above the age of seven, but Harley’s hair is out of her face. I feel like they could still be a hassle though, with the hair being at the sides rather than the back.
 Most of Bellatrix's hair is pinned up and back, which is a start, but clearly she still has hair in her face. That being said, I don't think she cares.
Most of Bellatrix’s hair is pinned up and back, which is a start, but clearly she still has hair in her face. That being said, I don’t think she cares.

And then there are the ladies who know what’s up. They know to tie back their hair or have a haircut that is ideal for their line of work. Here are a few:

It's the best gif I could find, but Jesse Quick has her hair pulled back into a neat ponytail. Nice.
It’s the best gif I could find, but Jesse Quick has her hair pulled back into a neat ponytail. Nice.
Look at this. All her hair is pulled back in a tight bun. And though her bangs are free, they're above her eyes and won't interfere with her vision. This is just another reason as to why she's Fury's right hand (wo)man.
Look at this. All her hair is pulled back in a tight bun. And though her bangs are free, they’re above her eyes and won’t interfere with her vision. This is just another reason as to why she’s Fury’s right hand (wo)man.
I've never even seen this movie but I gotta give props to Rey for tying her hair back (and in her own unique style).
I’ve never even seen this movie but I gotta give props to Rey for tying her hair back (and in her own unique style).
Rita Vrataski from Edge Of Tomorrow had her hair pulled back all the time, even when doing yoga. Amazing.
Rita Vrataski from Edge Of Tomorrow had her hair pulled back all the time, even when doing yoga. Amazing.

 

Hair is a great thing and I have no plans to lose mine, but it is a hassle and it is a thing that interferes with action and I wish the makers of these shows and movies would stop trying to pretend it’s no big deal. I don’t care if the characters are like me and don’t look their best with their hair back, I’d rather everyone be safe and functional than attractive. If surgeons have to tie their hair back when doing surgery and the teenager who serves my nuggets at McDonalds has to wear a hair net, I don’t understand why the people who save our fictional worlds can just run around with their hair flapping all about.

If I have to hit up Walmart and buy hair elastics to send to TV and movie sets I will, just let me know.

Is anyone else bothered by this? I mean, I guess dudes who’ve only ever had short hair don’t fully understand (which is probably one reason why it’s happening), but I hope any male readers I have read this and get a feeling for what I’m feeling. But while we’re on the topic of males, this problem can affect y’all too:

Gods need hair elastics as well.
Gods need hair elastics as well.

 

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Fantastic Beasts Review (Spoiler Free!)

Fantastic Beasts was really fantastic. Everyone’s going to say that but it’s true! I saw it last night. My Quidditch team got advance passes and since we got there super early we got to see it in IMAX (thanks Warner Bros!!!). I was so excited.

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I was also a bit nervous. I trust JK Rowling, but there was a split in the fandom when The Cursed Child came out (though I liked it) and I know people were apprehensive about a promise of five Beasts movies based off a book that didn’t even have a plot.

But it really delivered. Obviously I’m not going to spoil anything but a general plot is that Newt Scamander, a British wizard, accidentally loses control of a bunch of magical creatures in New York sometime in the 1920’s. I like the 20’s and the fun, classy vibe so I was happy with this.

The really cool thing is that it could have been a standalone movie. There were, of course, many fun references to Harry Potter and the magical world we know, but it really didn’t rely on it too much. And I liked that. It made it feel new and fresh. The new setting and the different kind of magic and terms removed the familiar Harry Potter aspect enough to rejuvenate the wonder. Harry Potter was largely about Harry and his life. Fantastic Beasts was about the magical world that we all want to know more about.

The movie was really fun overall. That also made it stand out from the other Potter films (especially the last few as they were really dark the whole time). Fantastic Beasts had so many jokes and fun moments and cool visual effects all the way through and it was really enjoyable. The beasts themselves were really neat! The niffler was adorable and Picket the bowtruckle is the new baby Groot (can someone please draw me a picture of baby Groot and Picket dancing or something???) but I think there should have been at least one dragon. The more dragons the better.

Image result for fantastic beasts
I want one!

As for the cast, they were superb. Eddie Redmayne was amazing. He’s so likeable and adorable and that really carried over to Newt. The two girls in the movie were also great but Katherine Waterston (who played Tina) stood out. I really liked her and hope we see a lot more of her. As for the no-maj (or muggle) played by Dan Fogler, his role was very interesting. There wasn’t really a magic-less main character in the Potter movies, so I think us viewers really connected to Jacob. We want to be a part of the magic just like he was.

I also wanted to mention Ezra Miller. I don’t want to give away anything but I’ve really only seen him in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, and his character in Fantastic Beasts, Credence, was very, very different from the hilarious Patrick. I enjoyed his performance a lot though (despite the horrible haircut he was plagued with). I can’t wait to see him as the Flash!

The plot was definitely interesting enough to make four more movies out of. I must say, I was a bit confused in the first half of the movie as to how the subplot with Credence tied to Newt’s story, but it was all revealed in the end and the set up for the future was captivating.

I always appreciate movies that cover all ranges of emotion and Fantastic Beasts really did. The rule of thumb for this movie: when Eddie Redmayne cries, I cry.

I also cried when it ended. I don’t know why. Well, I kind of do. I was just really feeling the magic, I think. Harry Potter has shaped so much of my life and I’m glad that this new series is reinstating a new feeling of awe and excitement and happiness that I didn’t really feel as a kid because I missed a lot of the movies in theaters. I don’t care that I’ll be thirty-something when the last Fantastic Beasts movie comes out. I’ll be packing up my future kid(s) and my future attractive husband and hitting up the nearest theater.

It doesn’t matter what you may have thought about The Cursed Child, go see Fantastic Beasts if you want to experience the magic that we all fell in love with. It’s so good. Too good. I loved it.

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Actual footage of me at the end of the movie

P.S. I was kind of sad my favourite fantastic beast from the book, the Chizpurfle, wasn’t in the movie. Next time, please!

P.P.S. Last week a few Quidditch players and I went to the red carpet for this movie and though only the girls signed my poster (because we were unfortunately behind a pole! #bitter), it was still really cool to be within meters of the stars!

 

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‘Harry Potter And The Cursed Child’ Book Review: Man, I’m Glad I’m Back

There are some spoilers here. I waited a few days to post this so more people could read the book first, but I couldn’t wait any longer!

Here I am, another Potterhead adding her humble Cursed Child review to the many that already exist on the interwebs. The people of Twitter have spoken and said they wouldn’t mind a post by me on the subject and I really welcomed the opportunity to write about Harry Potter, a subject that I haven’t really touched on much.

Harry_Potter_and_the_Cursed_Child_Special_Rehearsal_Edition_Book_CoverI love Harry Potter. I do. Those books made a mark on me, and every time I read them I’m inspired to write more myself. I never was the hardcore fan. No midnight premiers, no knowledge of every spell ever, no strong I-will-fight-you-over-Snape attitude. But I was in a Harry Potter club in high school, I do play Quidditch now in University, I have been to Universal Studios and I’ve of course seen Starkid’s Potter musicals. And as of July 3oth, I have attended a book release. My best friend and I attended the local mall’s release party, and though it wasn’t the greatest event, I got to nerd out and get my hands on a copy of a book I was psyched to read. Well, fairly psyched. Because The Cursed Child is the script of a play, spoilers were already online. I avoided them, but my friend didn’t and she carefully warned me that she read some disappointing things.

Either way, I spent four straight hours on July 31st tearing through the book and I am pleased to say: I really liked it. Because of my friend, I expected worse, but I was surprised at how great it was. Really.

First of all, I loved just going back to that world. I quoted Starkid in my title when I said, “man, I’m glad I’m back,” because I really was so thrilled to read more about these characters. I mean, I love the magical world, but I really adore the characters. I basically grew up with them! So to read this, something that is considered canon, was amazing. I only teared up a few times!

‘Goin’ Back To Hogwarts’ lyrics from A Very Potter Musical

I didn’t even mind that the story was in script form. I prefer regular novel format, but once I got into the story, I didn’t even notice. I’m also glad I read the script before I saw the play. Not that I have an opportunity to see the play, but if a bootleg comes along, I won’t pass it up! But because I read it, I was able to picture the cast my way in my head instead of having to adjust to a whole new cast.

As for the plot, I have to say, I enjoyed it. I have a love/hate relationship with time travel, and while I don’t think this story flawlessly executed it, it was very interesting. I think the Time Turner was a really underused magical item and the theme of time was really unexplored in the books, so to see this in the new story was really neat. I did think that having Cedric Diggory as the one to bring back was kind of dumb, but it made sense plot-wise. I also liked that the story featured the kids. I wish the other kids had a larger role too (and where was Teddy Lupin?) but it still worked well. Just to know they’re all still there and alive is great, really. And the old characters still had a great and large role, so I was satisfied.

So why were some people unhappy with it? One criticism that my friend said she read was that Harry was portrayed as a bad father. And I have to defend that. I mean, first of all, Harry never really had a father figure, so he can’t even emulate from that. This point was even blatantly addressed! Secondly, he wasn’t doing anything wrong, he just wasn’t doing anything really perfect. Like any parent of a teen, it’s hard. Albus was not only a somewhat angsty teen, but he’s also the middle child, and the son of a celebrity. There’s a lot going on and it just didn’t mix well with Harry’s parently style. Harry was seriously trying his best as a father. He really just wants his family safe and happy, like any other normal parent.

Another criticism that I kind of agreed with was that the famous last line “all was well” clearly was a lie. I guess that as a fan, I just want confirmation that my beloved characters are really okay, and to now find out that there was this big event again makes me feel like I was kind of lied to. I guess it could have been worse, no one important died or anything and there was a happy ending, but still. Is all well now? Will we ever know?

And lastly, people were upset that Voldemort had a child. And while I was kind of surprised, I wasn’t mad. Here’s why that made perfect sense: First of all, Bellatrix was pretty much all over Voldemort, so I can totally see her being open to bearing his child. And two, since this conception happened before the Battle Of Hogwarts, I can see it as Voldemort’s back up plan. He knew he was getting weaker from the destroyed horcruxes, so he probably at least considered failure as a possibility, so this child was probably seen as his very last chance to do his evil bidding.

But enough about criticisms, let’s talk more about what I liked. Before, I never really cared much for Draco Malfoy, but I really enjoyed his role in this story. The parallels between him and Harry were amazing, and how their interactions tied to and mirrored the interactions of Albus and Scorpius was really impressive and cool to read. I also liked how the relationships between Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione developed. They weren’t really too developed in the books, especially due to the 19 year gap, so it was special to see those bonds grow, as well as the bond of the Golden Trio. It was 22 years later and somehow so much had changed as well as nothing at all. I dug that. Hard.

Under all the magic, the morals that Harry Potter has is really important. Love and friendship and life are all valued and respected and it’s great to know that those qualities that everyone loves about the story are still going strong. Stronger, even, I’d say, as Harry learned a big lesson in judgement and trusting gossip. It’s these timeless things that make this beautiful series perfect and adored by all ages and genders. Yes, we all want a letter to Hogwarts but even more I think we all want friendships as strong as Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s. I love reading blog posts by adults reading the series for the first time, especially if they grew up in places where the books were banned, because these people are learning that these books are just a crazy story about magic featuring morals that inspire.

All in all, I didn’t know what I was expecting but seriously, all Potter fans will love The Cursed Child. It’s got all the elements to love: humour, romance, magic, suspense, friendship, family, and all within a fairly airtight plot. The new characters were cool, the old characters were amazing, the plot was super and it has that same Harry Potter feel! I can’t imagine that anyone is on the fence about reading this, but if you are and liked any aspect of Harry Potter then you will like this! If I didn’t already have two other books to read, I’d probably be rereading it.

I’m so glad I got to go back to my childhood. I’m so glad this new story was great. I’m so glad that JK Rowling has blessed us with more Potter goodness.

 

What are your thoughts on The Cursed Child? I’m in dire need to discuss the book with people so comment with your opinions!

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