“Harry Potter” Fans To J.K. Rowling: “I Am The Captain Now”

    “I don’t want her to gain anything else from my love for it, but I do still have a love for it.”

    WARNING: Today’s post and episode deal with sexual assault as well as transphobia.

    On today's episode of BuzzFeed Daily, we broke down the top pop culture headlines AND discussed whether J.K. Rowling has ruined Harry Potter. You can listen below or scroll down to read more about the interview!

    Listen to BuzzFeed Daily on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever else you might listen to your favorite podcasts!

    So let's dive right into it! Recently we talked to Buzzfeed’s Nora Dominick about whether or not it’s OK to still enjoy the franchise. Here's an excerpt from the episode.

    BuzzFeed Daily: So, we all love Harry Potter, but we've had some mixed feelings over the past few years. You're a very intelligent and thoughtful person, so we wanted you as a guest today to talk about this. But before we get into it, can you tell us a little bit about your history with Harry Potter? How much has it been a part of your life?

    Photo of the first Harry Potter book

    BuzzFeed Daily: We wouldn't be having this conversation if it weren't for J.K. Rowling. So when she made her first public transphobic comments in June of 2020, as a fan, how did it affect you? How did your relationship with Harry Potter change, if at all?

    Photo of J.K. Rowling at the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights conference

    BuzzFeed Daily: It feels like this is really just one part of a larger debate that has been happening for the last few years, of whether it's OK to separate the art from the artist. And obviously, every case is different, so it's not like a one-size-fits-all set of rules, but it does feel like there are generally two schools of thought about this: one where people completely denounce the artist and all of their art, no matter how much they might have loved it at one point, and then another where people feel like as long as they're not actively supporting the artist, they can continue loving the art. I'm curious, how do you feel about that debate, especially in relation to J.K. Rowling?

    Photo of Joss Whedon

    BuzzFeed Daily: It's been somewhat refreshing that the cast members from the movies have spoken out against J.K. Rowling and in support of the trans community, including the three leads, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. Do you feel like this show of support does anything to rehabilitate our relationship with Harry Potter?

    “78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people” 👏 Thank you Daniel Radcliffe for all your support 💗 https://t.co/C56gu10Fkk

    Twitter: @TrevorProject

    ND: I think it was really important. Not to say I was surprised they spoke out, but I'm just really glad they did it in such a public forum and very much denounced it very quickly. It wasn't like we were waiting two or three months and they finally said something. So yeah, I definitely think it adds to kind of what we were saying before, where it's so much bigger than her and the world she created. And just having these actors who played these characters and brought them to life and were such a part of all of our childhoods be on our side of things, on the side of the fans is huge.

    BuzzFeed Daily: In the last few years, people have also started to realize that there are just aspects of the Harry Potter books that are more problematic or troublesome than we originally thought. This includes its almost complete lack of people of color and near lack of queer characters. And then there's the whole house-elves are slaves thing, which is played mostly for jokes. To be fair, all art is a product of its time, and it doesn't always age well. But what do you think that Harry Potter fans now do with that?

    BuzzFeed Daily: So for Harry Potter fans, this issue isn't going away anytime soon. On New Year's Day, HBO will be airing the 20-year Harry Potter reunion special, which J.K. Rowling will not be a part of. And then we're going to get another Fantastic Beasts movie in 2022. So, it's a part of our world at every corner you turn. So what advice do you have for Harry Potter fans who might want to engage with new Harry Potter content?

    Photo of Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, and Emma Watson

    BuzzFeed Daily: This is not for everyone, it's just a weird thing I do, and I'm sure some other people do it, too. But whenever I'm put in a situation like this and I have money available, I do donate it to a cause. So if I watch the reunion, I'll donate to Trevor Project. (And If I don't watch reunion, I'll probably still donate.) And for people who don't know, Daniel Radcliffe came out against J.K. Rowling by saying he's working with The Trevor Project. So it's definitely a great organization to support. But yeah, that is something that aligns with my values. It makes me feel better about the situation.

    In the rest of the episode, we discussed the sexual assault allegations against Sex and the City star Chris Noth.

    Photo of Chris Noth in a dark blazer

    Plus, People Magazine confirmed reports that Jeff Garlin was leaving The Goldbergs after accusations of “inappropriate behavior” on set.

    Photo of Jeff Garlin in thick black glasses and a gray suit

    As always, thanks for listening! And if you ever want to suggest stories or just want to say hi, you can reach us at daily@buzzfeed.com.