Harry Potter author JK Rowling declined to take part in Return to Hogwarts 20 year anniversary TV special on New Year’s Day after a number of the child stars from the movie hit out at her comments about transwomen
Harry Potter fans tuning in to watch the eagerly-anticipated 20 year reunion this week may spot a noticeable absence in author and mastermind of the hugely successful franchise JK Rowling.
The best-selling author, 56, makes a fleeting cameo in the cosy cast get together in archival footage after choosing not to film any new interviws
Rowling’s apparent snub of HBO’s Return to Hogwarts comes after a number of the former child stars spoke out against her comments about the trans community.
The drama unfolded when Rowling publicly shared her disapproval of certain transgender terminology.
In June 2020, Rowling took to Twitter to share with her 14 million followers that she had an issue with the term ‘people who menstruate’ being used instead of ‘women.’
“I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” Rowling tweeted.
Her posts were branded ‘transphobic’ by infuriated fans with JK hitting back at her critics as she insisted: “It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
After doubling down on her statement, Rowling added that she respects ‘every trans person’s rights to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them.’
As the furore went on, the author then shared an essay discussing her thoughts on biological sex.
Rowling said her issues stemmed from being a survivor of abuse which gave her concerns about single sex spaces.
“I’m mentioning these things now not in an attempt to garner sympathy, but out of solidarity with the huge numbers of women who have histories like mine, who’ve been slurred as bigots for having concerns around single-sex spaces,” she wrote.
Three months later the debate resurfaced when it was revealed that the villain in Rowling’s latest book Troubled blood, was a male serial killer who dons a woman’s coat and wig when killing his victims.
Rowling, who released the crime fiction novel under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, came under fire from accusations of transphobia once again.
Among those weighing in on the debate were some of Harry Potter’s biggest stars
Leading trio Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson all spoke out against Rowling’s views as well as star of Fantastic Beats franchise Eddie Redmayne
What did the Harry Potter stars say?
Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter in the eight film franchise, was among the first to slam Rowling’s choice of words.
The now 32-year-old actor said he apologised to those whose had their experience of the Harry Potter books ‘tarnished’ by Rowling’s tweets and said he was ‘deeply sorry’ for their pain.
Radcliffe said trans people had the right to live their lives ‘peacefully’ in a statement.
While Hermione Granger actress Emma Watson told her 29.1 million Twitter followers: “Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are.”
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The UN Women Goodwill Ambassador added: “I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are.”
Rupert Grint, who plays Potter’s best pal Ron Weasley said at the time: “I firmly stand with the trans community.”
He told The Times: “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment.
“I firmly stand with the trans community and echo the sentiments expressed by many of my peers.”
Bonnie Wright, who played Ginny Weasley in four Harry Potter films, also weighed into the debate.
“If Harry Potter was a source of love and belonging for you, that love is infinite and there to take without judgement or question. Transwomen are Women. I see and love you, Bonnie x. “
Eddie Redmayne, who starred in the Fantastic Beats franchise, also said he wanted to make it ‘absolutely clear’ he did not agree with Rowling.
Why is Rowling not in the reunion?
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According to sources, it was Rowling who decided not to be involved in Return to Hogwarts, not the show’s cast or producers.
The author instead decided that an interview she gave in 2019 should be used in the one-off TV special.
In the archive footage, Rowling recalls the struggle of trying to bring her vision to life on the big screen and in particular the difficulty in finding the perfect young actor to play boy wizard Harry for the Philosopher’s Stone movie.
“We couldn’t find Harry! We just couldn’t find Harry, and it was getting kind of weird, and panicky.” she exclaims in the resurfaced clip.
Later in the reunion, some members of the cast take time to praise Rowling’s hugely successful book series as they discuss her impact.
“So many people were falling in love with JK Rowling’s writing, said Bonnie, who played Ron Weasley’s only sister.
Daniel, who did get the role of Harry, replied: “I think it’s very easy to forget that at the time, people were talking about ‘the death of reading.'”
Robbie Coltrane, who played Hogwarts groundkeeper Hagrid, agreed: “‘One of the many reasons I admire JK so much is that millions now read books who would never have lifted a book up in their lives, and you suddenly realise the power of writing.”
Return to Hogwarts premieres at midnight PST on New Year’s Day, January 1 on HBO Max