It’s the Year of Our Lord 2019 and storytelling is still important. In some cases the stories are the same, like the age-old tale of good triumphing over evil, but they’re being delivered in increasingly more novel ways. Comics are drawn and fan fiction is written and YouTube sketches are filmed, and sometimes the collaborators aren’t even in the same city, let alone country. In other cases the stories, while nothing new, are finally being given the opportunity to be told. The idea of finding yourself isn’t an original one, but the narrative of coming out as gay or lesbian or transgender or any other identity has only recently found a foothold in popular media.
Storytelling and identity are crucial building blocks to our culture, and both are heavily intertwined (as are all things, these days) with the internet (it would be remiss of me not to mention that I chose to do so in a podcast I co-hosted). This is certainly as true for a multi-award-winning online first-person shooter as it is for a series of books that wrapped up a dozen years ago. The Overwatch and Harry Potter universes are like ours in that they are populated by a myriad of different characters, some straight and some LGBT+, but I want to delve into how the similarities, and ultimately the differences, of their respective coming out stories (in both cases the term “coming out” feels accurate, as none of the characters discussed were initially introduced as being anything other than straight).
“Yer a Gay Man, Dumbledore”
Before touching on her approach to revealing one of her characters’ sexual orientations, it’s worth making note of how the billionaire author has reentered our collective conversation. Two years ago a BuzzFeed writer was one of the first to report on a shocking revelation found on Pottermore, a site Rowling created for her legion of fans to learn more about the Wizarding World. Most people online will have come across this by now, but the page in question was about the Chamber of Secrets, and explained that wizards once vanished their excrement in lieu of using toilets. It resulted in one of my favourite Tumblr posts:
The user has since deleted their blog, so no direct link, sorry!
Posted in internet, lgbt, literature, relationships, video games, writing
Tagged Ana, Bastet, Blizzard, books, comics, coming out, Dumbledore, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, gay, Grindelwald, Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling, lesbian, lgbt, Michael Chu, Overwatch, Pottermore, queer, Reflections, Soldier: 76, Tracer, Twitter, video games, writing
I read Harry Potter.
Didn’t love it.
Which puts me in perhaps one of the smallest minorities on the planet, between folks who’ve been struck by lightning multiple times and folks named “Craig Craigerson”.
Now I, like many, was enthralled at first. Tore through ’em at a lightning pace. But as the series wore on, I found myself drifting away from it. Certain issues I’d have been more willing to forgive as a kid just didn’t hold up. Problems like-
- Why is the reportedly most powerful wizard in the world a high school principal?
- Why are these kids not also being taught history, literature, and chemistry?
- Is Voldemort such a nerdy loser that his plan for domination gets undone by his insistence on conquering his old school?
Also, why not just shoot the guy?
I mean seriously- he clearly views Muggles [non magic-users] in such low regard that he’d never see it coming. Granted, this is the issue I have with Doctor Who, Sherlock, and most British shows, but I do think that there’s few problems a well-aimed .44 can’t solve.
Yes, that’s a distinctly American attitude, and part of my problem with Rowling’s latest venture.
Posted in America, art, Europe, geography, government, history, literature, media, writing
Tagged America, American, appropriation, cultural appropriation, Culture, depth, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, gun control, Harry Potter, history, JK Rowling, literature, Muggle, no-maj, politics, USA, writing
I like the Harry Potter books. I just can’t say I love them [my favourite YA series of novels is Percy Jackson & the Olympians], and after having finished all seven and catching the last few movies in theatres haven’t thought about them much. Certainly not enough to give the Pottermore website, created by Rowling to give HP fans what they continue to jones for, even a cursory visit.
On that same note I haven’t really been following Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a prequel and spin-off to the film franchise, aside from perking up at the idea that protagonist Newt Scamander might be something other than White. I briefly mentioned it back in 2013 when covering the inherent problem with assuming that White is the norm, but ultimately stopped paying attention after it was officially announced last June that Eddie Redmayne had been cast in the role.
That said, fantasy worlds and the worldbuilding involved in their creation have always interested me, and I didn’t hesitate to click on a link a friend had shared on Facebook stating that Rowling had “[revealed] four wizarding schools, including one in the United States“, with the latter being one of the settings in the upcoming film. After all, if one of the aforementioned magical places of learning was to be in North America chances were that the other three were located elsewhere. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire had always been my favourite of the series, with one of the many reasons being that it featured the two other wizarding schools and characters from them, expanding the universe beyond the borders of Great Britain. Continue reading
Posted in Africa, film, geography, literature, race
Tagged Africa, Africa is not a country, Asia, Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, Binyavanga Wainaina, brazil, Castelbruxo, continent, country, Democratic Republic of Congo, Durmstrang Insititute, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, fantasy, geography, Harry Potter, Hogwarts, How to Write About Africa, Ilvermorny, J. K. Rowling, Japan, Mahoutokoro, Pottermore, Uagadou, Uganda, wizarding school
The title of this post comes from the image below, which I see floating around the internet from time to time. It might’ve been from one of Cracked’s PhotoShop contests, I really have no idea.
The reason I’m bringing this to your attention is to underscore the fact that, by and large, “White” really does equal “normal,” at least in North America. You don’t really have to search hard to stumble across that fact, either. Think about how it works when you recount stories to other people-
Imagine you’re talking about this weird dude who sat down next to you on the subway. If he was White, would you bother mentioning that? How about if he was Black, or Asian, or Latino?
The terminology used in this gif aside, you probably never make reference to a White person’s ethnicity.
Posted in comics, film, media, race, writing
Tagged asian, black, Brian Lee O'Malley, casting, characters, fancasting, fandom, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Newt Scamander, norm, normal, race, Rue, Scott Pilgrim, Toronto, white, writing