J.K. Rowling

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Name: Joanne "Jo" Rowling
Also Known As: JKR
Occupation: author
Medium: novels, screenplays
Works: Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts, The Casual Vacancy, Cormoran Strike Series
Official Website(s): http://www.jkrowling.com/
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages

J.K. Rowling is the British author of the best-selling Harry Potter series, inspiration for one of the internet's biggest fandoms and the biggest book fandom by far. [1]

The Harry Potter series contains seven novels: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (published 26 June 1997), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2 July 1998), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (8 July 1999), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (8 July 2000), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (21 June 2003), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (16 July 2005), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (21 July 2007), and three supplements: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2001), Quidditch Through the Ages (2001) and The Tales of Beedle the Bard (2008).

Relationship with Fandom

J.K. Rowling is generally supportive of fan activities.

From an interview in the fall of 2000 with Rowling by the BBC:
The Internet! Twice I've been on the internet. Friends of mine were telling me what's on there and I'd never gone looking before. First time, I thought I was never coming back, it's too scary. Some of the stuff that's out there is very weird. Second time I went in there someone had set up an unofficial fan site where you can be sorted, they have a Sorting Hat, and I was Hufflepuff. I wasn't that pleased! If anyone's meant to be Griffyndor, it's me. [2]
From a October 20th, 2000 chat:

Yahooligan_Ana asks: Hello, I would like to know if you ever read any Harry Potter fanfiction on the web.

jkrowling_bn: I have read some and I've been very flattered to see how absorbed people are in the world. [3]

In 2004, Rowling gave her blessing for fanfiction, saying via a spokesperson, that she was "flattered people wanted to write their own stories" and "her concern would be to make sure that it remains a non-commercial activity to ensure fans are not exploited and it is not being published in the strict sense of traditional print publishing." [4]

She gave awards for her favorite fansites, including the HP Alliance [1], Harry Potter Fan Zone.com (2007), Potterish.com [2] (2006), The Leaky Cauldron [3] (2005) and HPANA [4], MuggleNet [5], The Harry Potter Lexicon [6] and Immeritus [7] (2004).

In 2007 she and Warner Brothers, who hold the film rights, successfully blocked RDR Books from publishing a book version of The Harry Potter Lexicon]] by Steve Vander Ark. See Harry Potter Lexicon Trial.

Post-Harry Potter

In the years since the release of the last movie adaptation of Harry Potter, fandom's relationship to Rowling has been characterised by a number of controversies.

In the aftermath of Rowling declaring Albus Dumbledore gay, there was wank for many years about the appropriateness of only mentioning his sexuality afterwards and not including it in the books themselves.[5] The same controversy flared up again with the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which includes references to the Albus Dumbledore/Gellert Grindelwald relationship but still fails to make the sexuality of either character canon. A similar controversy arose over the relationship between Albus Severus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which many felt was queerbaited.[6]

Another controversy was sparked by Rowling's writing about North America, made available on Pottermore in 2016. Many fans felt that Rowling had not only displayed a lack of understanding of North America in her worldbuilding, several factors were insensitive towards Native Americans.[7][8] With the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, criticism only grew, as many took the lack of racial diversity in the movie as further proof of racism on Rowling's part.[9]

Transphobia

In 2018, Rowling liked a couple of transphobic tweets, causing some criticism and wariness of her within the trans community.[10] The issue didn't blow up till late 2019, when Rowling published a tweet in support of Maya Forstater, a trans-exclusionary radical feminist who lost a court case about transphobic remarks as protected speech. In response to Rowling's transphobia, many fans produced fanworks with Harry Potter characters portrayed as trans and the HPTransFest, dedicated to trans Harry Potter fanworks, was started in response.[11]

In 2020, Rowling accidentally added a transphobic statement to a reply to a 9-year-old girl on Twitter; the tweet was quickly erased but not before it was caught in screencaps.[12]

In reaction to Rowling's increasingly obvious racism and transphobia, some fans have taken to claiming the books were written by Hatsune Miku, which is a common claim for Minecraft fans who disapprove of its creator's transphobic actions. However, other fans have pointed out that racist and transphobic themes are entrenched in the Potterverse, and not giving credit to the creator won't fix the content.

See also: J.K. Rowling and Transphobia

Meta/Further Reading

Resources

References

  1. As of 30 September 2010 fanfiction.net had 477,014 Harry Potter stories, compared to the runners-up Twilight (163,659) and Lord of the Rings (43,894)
  2. Mzimba, Lizo. Transcript of interview with J.K. Rowling, BBC Newsround, Fall 2000; archived link
  3. Barnes and Noble & Yahoo! chat with J.K. Rowling, barnesandnoble.com, 20 October, 2000, also posted on the Yahooligans! website
  4. Rowling backs Potter fan fiction, BBC News Online, 27 May 2004
  5. Fandoms and Feminism discussing the topic with various other tumblr users, Tumblr, 2015
  6. The Disappointing Heteronormativity of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Shipping Room Podcast, 2016.
  7. Reddit discussion of use of Native American beliefs in JKR's worldbuilding, Reddit, 2016
  8. See the criticism section of Ilvermorny
  9. Why are you so angry about Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them?, dictacontrion on Tumblr, 2016.
  10. Rowling is a terf, Twitter, 2018
  11. HPTransFest on Tumblr
  12. J.K. Rowling deleted a tweet that included transphobic commentary with a child’s fanart, May 29, 2020