Harry Potter author and Fantastic Beasts screenwriter JK Rowling has come under fire for the character of Nagini. The latest Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald trailer revealed that Voldemort’s serpentine companion and Horcrux was once a cursed Asian woman. Some fans immediately called out Rowling for retroactively adding a minority character to the series and essentially making her Voldemort’s slave.
Easily the most famous author in the world, Rowling is no stranger to getting criticism for the lack of representation in the Harry Potter universe. Aside from Cho Chang, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Dean Thomas, Lee Jordan, Angelina Johnson and the Patil twins, the characters in Rowling’s books are largely white. Also in the films, Lavender Brown, Ron’s love interest in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was originally black in the first few movies. She was recast as white when she became a main character.
When Rowling got attacked on Twitter, she defended her choice of fleshing out Nagini’s backstory and the decision to cast her as an Asian woman.
“The Naga are snake-like mythical creatures of Indonesian mythology, hence the name ‘Nagini,” Rowling replied on Twitter to a user who accused the author of trying to score some “woke points.” “They are sometimes depicted as winged, sometimes as half-human, half-snake. Indonesia comprises a few hundred ethnic groups, including Javanese, Chinese and Betawi. Have a lovely day.”
Unfortunately for Rowling that answer didn’t necessarily satisfy the Internet. Jason Isaacs, who played Lucius Malfoy in the films, jumped to Rowling’s defense in a very sarcastic tweet:
If only @jk_rowling had an online referendum on every casting decision and learned to let trolls amend the script where they felt strongly, the films might have a chance of finding an audience. Some people never learn. https://t.co/HCMSQSrSYt
— Jason Isaacs (@jasonsfolly) September 27, 2018
In his tweet, he threw in a reference to fans attacking Star Trek: Discovery before the show even aired. He equates this to fans attacking Rowling before Fantastic Beasts comes out in theaters, maybe telling them to save their ire and judgements until they see how Nagini’s story plays out on the big screen.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald comes out on November 16.