Saying Goodbye To The Wizard School

One of the strangest things in the world in the past few years is that the writer of probably the most influential fantasy books of this century has revealed herself to be a huge anti Trans bigot, and WON’T SHUT UP ABOUT IT.

As a result the nerd world is split in an odd schism of, “people who have decided to excise the Wizard Lady” from their eco system entirely and “people who have decided it’s OK and are ignoring it,” and in the middle all the “people who are trying to square the circle of how these books shaped their lives, work and taste while also not supporting the Wizard Lady.”

I’m somewhere in the middle though my thought process is more along the lines of a few years ago when I reread those Wizard School books and realized, this was a story I was ready to put away for a good long time. I’ve always considered it lower on my list that others, and recently decided I wanted to grapple with WHY.

I was 12 when The Socrcerer’s Stone first crossed my path, I grew up with the books just like every nerd my age.

And I realized what it was, when reading a retrospective of The Lord Of The Rings movies earlier this week. (Thanks The AV Club, for the thought!) Wizard School was not the first story for me, as it was for so many other people I know. By the time I was sorted, I’d already Chronicled the rise and fall of Narnia, gone from The Shire to the Lone Mountain and back again, and of course, claimed my path as a Jedi, like my father before me. (Not to mention the jaunts through Tortall and more realistic stories of young women weathering The Civil War.) It wasn’t that I didn’t love Wizard School, and God knows, I adore a bandwagon, and feeling included, so I was happy to join in the fun with my friends and family.

But when I realized I wasn’t getting anything more out of the story, I folded up my robes, (metaphorically) and went back to the stuff that was feeding me. Star Wars is a never ending well for me. Nearly two years removed, from disappointment, I think I might still have some juice in Westeros. The MCU is a gift that keeps on giving. I’ve yet to not be delighted by something I missed or forgot when I go back to Camp Half-Blood.

But I can’t get too upset at the people trying to figure out where they land on this one, what it means for them and why it’s complicated. Or the people that go back to it over and over again.

6 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye To The Wizard School

  1. Maybe its different for me because I was only momentarily obsessed with HP, but as with other things I have managed to seperate the artist from the art. Yes, her comments are sort of bizzare and uncalled for, but Harry Potter as a cultural phenomenon is bigger than just her. I would say the same about The Cosby Show, Kevin Spacey movies, or Seinfeld (re Michael Richards)

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    • I think it’s different than Cosby and Spacey because as far as we know she hasn’t committed a crime.

      But I fully understand not wanting to continue give her money and a platform. And I understand people for whom it is their FAVORITE THING EVER not wanting to let it go. This was more about me wondering why I didn’t mind letting it go.

      And the answer is Star Wars. Lucas is a fucking weirdo too so you know, there’s that

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  2. Different for me as well— I grew up on Harry Potter and was one of the two series that made me a fantasy fan.

    I don’t decide to love a book just because of the author- more to do with the story, world and characters. I read His Dark Materials last year, and really enjoyed those despite disagreeing about some of Phillip Pullman’s view points.

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    • Pullman’s viewpoints, many of which I also disagree with, however, haven’t caused deep psychological and economic and political distress to a minority (as far as I know). Pullman’s strident atheism is a personal philosophy that I don’t subscribe to but that’s fine.

      I don’t think the answer is “pretend Harry Potter had no impact!” It quite obviously did. But grappling with Rowling’s troubling views on trans people is important when you consider her influence in culture.

      I also grew up on Harry Potter but because it WASN’T the series that made me fall in love with fantasy it’s easier for me to grapple with the weirdness here is my only point

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  3. Saaaaammmmmeeeee… I’ve not kept the Harry Potter enthusiasm as I aged like a lot of other people. I also sort of liked each book less and less from like, 5 on though, and didn’t even bother with the movies after Order of the Phoenix, so I guess I was never really a “super fan” to begin with. I very much did not mind letting go when Wizard Lady outted herself as a TERF, because… I already kind of had, I guess. But it’s been interesting watching those in my life who haven’t yet – one of my closest friends like, lives and breathes HP, and she’s sort of in that middle ground. She doesn’t want to give up the works and the world, but also doesn’t want to further put money in wizard lady’s pockets, so she’s decided to stop buying official merch, and make do with either what she has, or with handcrafted shit from etsy… Unfortunately, I anticipate a copyright crackdown on indie crafters/artists in the future if more people decide to go that route.

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    • Look, I KNOW that if George Lucas or Kathy Kennedy started spouting nonsense like her, I’d be finding every work around I could, so I’m sympathetic.

      The crackdowns might come but they’re pretty unsustainable as my Disney apologist ass can attest

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