On J.K. Rowling's new podcast The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter author claims that she has no concerns over her legacy and wonders why anyone would care.
JK Rowling has asserted herself as one of the most controversial authors of her time. Despite division among fans of her work, the Harry Potter creator is unconcerned about how waning public opinion will affect her legacy. As reported by Variety, Rowling maintains that how people view her when she is gone is of no concern to her; she is focused on the present.
In a new podcast titled The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling, host Megan Phelps-Roper speaks to Rowling about criticism the author received from religious conservatives in her early career, comparing it with the recent threats and insults inspired by Rowling’s apparent disrespect for the transgender community. For those who claim Rowling’s legacy is tarnished by scandal, the author has little concern.
I do not walk around my house, thinking about my legacy, you know, what a pompous way to live your life walking around thinking, ‘What will my legacy be?’ Whatever, I’ll be dead. I care about now. I care about the living.J.K. Rowling on Harry Potter fans saying she’s tarnished her legacy
JK Rowling went on to explain that those who her comments about sex and gender have angered have gravely misunderstood her. Many of Rowling’s fans have dismissed her as problematic. Even stars from the Harry Potter films have chimed in to distance themselves from Rowling’s stances.
Still, JK Rowling does have her supporters. New York Times writer Pamela Paul has defended Rowling, writing that standing up for safe spaces exclusive to cisgender women is not transphobic. Harry Potter stars Ralph Fiennes, and Helena Bonham Carter have spoken up in support of Rowling, chiding overzealous and reactionary fans simultaneously.
In the early days of Harry Potter, the author was under siege by groups who believed she was a proponent of witchcraft. Rowling said that her experiences as a controversial public figure have resulted in death threats, people coming to her home, and her address being posted online.
The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling explores the similarities and differences between the current reactions of the public and those that threatened Rowling’s life more than two decades ago. The author has been ruthlessly scrutinized, but she maintains that she has been misinterpreted and never intended to hurt people with her remarks.
The legacy of JK Rowling will be decided in the court of public opinion, but the legacy of Harry Potter lives on strong. The recently released video game Hogwarts Legacy is sending fans back to the Wizarding World in style. The Fantastic Beasts films fizzled out, but Warner Bros. Discovery is in a mad dash to revive stories of the Wizarding World on film. Rumors of new movies, shows, and even a Harry Potter reboot are in the mix.
The JK Rowling problem poses an important question to fans: can art be separated from the artist? Individuals can devise ethical standards, but Hollywood must contend with the question. How far is too far, and is redemption an option? As JK Rowling takes to the new podcast to shine a positive light on her beliefs, the answers to those questions may illuminate themselves or leave Rowling in the dark to find a new path back to the castle.