Is ‘Harry Potter and The Cursed Child’ going to Suffer because of J.K Rowling?

There have been a lot of changes since “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” came to San Francisco’s Curran Theater in late 2019.

When the COVID-19 virus hit theatres in March 2020, it shut down the show and all theatres in general. This year, “Cursed Child” has been trimmed down from a five-hour play in two parts to a single three-and-a-half-hour play for its return to San Francisco, Broadway, and other places.

In the background, there was a bigger change. People who write Harry Potter books have become the public face of the “gender critical” movement in her home country of the United Kingdom. Which opposes legal and social acceptance of transgender people. J.K. Rowling is one of them.

The controversy hasn’t gone away. Since the summer of 2020, JK Rowling has been posting on Twitter and writing essays about how trans recognition is bad for women and how “erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives,” even though she says that she is not anti-trans and has trans friends.

Many “Harry Potter” actors, like Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. Were quick to speak out against Rowling’s comments and say that they support the rights of people who are different from them. Added Radcliffe: “I know that some media outlets will try to make this into a fight between J.K. Rowling and myself. But that isn’t what this is about, and it isn’t what’s important right now, either.”

Another “Fantastic Beasts” movie is coming out this spring. As well as a reunion special of the movie’s cast that aired on HBO Max in January. Watson, Grint, and Radcliffe all appear in the special. Which only includes an interview with JK Rowling that was already recorded.

The play wasn’t written by J.K. Rowling. It was written by Jack Thorne. And it was based on a story written by Rowling and Thorne, as well as directed by John Tiffany. As a result, when the play comes back to San Francisco.  There are some hard talks about how far a popular franchise can be separate from the actions of its creator.

In Charlie Jane Anders’ words: “I think everyone has to figure out how they want to separate the author from the work.” Charlie Jane Anders is an award-winning author who is also a transgender woman. Co-founder of and host of a reading series in San Francisco called Writers with Drinks. I would not be comfortable giving money to a living author who is now using her power to attack people who are vulnerable or who are less well-known.

As a trans nonbinary performance artist and activist who co-founded the Poltergeist Theatre Project in San Francisco.  Chris Steele says, “If money is going to her from the show. That’s bad for trans people, no matter what.”  “It just seems like we’re still living in the fantasy world of the thing. Rather than the real world of the thing. In which, the things she says are making it more likely that trans femme people live shorter lives than everyone else.”

It’s not like other celebrities who make transphobic jokes or comments: Julia Serano is a trans woman. Rowling is very different from other celebrities who make transphobic jokes or comments. There isn’t a political reason for it. These people have certain feelings and sometimes say things. But J.K. Rowling has shown that she has a lot of support for political positions and movements that want to force trans people out of existence.

New York and San Francisco have not seen any organized protests against “Cursed Child” productions. At the same time, the COVID is affecting theatre productions in general. So it would be hard to figure out how the COVID might affect attendance.

If you want to know why San Francisco was chosen as the only West Coast location for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” producers say in an email. “San Francisco was chosen because of its rich cultural diversity and commitment to the arts. We hope that you enjoy the movie.” Lessons of tolerance and acceptance and understanding are at the heart of our story. And they show up in every part of the production. The theater is an important part of this community. And we are grateful that the city has welcomed the show with open arms,” says the group.

Despite this, many of Rowling’s critics still have a soft spot for parts of her most famous work. They still think the author has crossed a line.

“I think there are a lot of ways to love Harry Potter without paying J.K. Rowling a penny,” Anders says. The Potter books helped to bring a whole new group of readers into the world. And they also helped to save bookstores at a very important time. But there is a lot of great fantasy out there now, written by people who aren’t well-known. With worlds that are both more vibrant and more inclusive than Rowling’s.

There are other ways to learn about the same things, even though Steele says they “loved” the books as kids.

Harry Potter is a good example of what it is like to be a kid in a world where nobody understands why you’re special and people treat you badly. But then you go to a magical place with people who know you’re unique and appreciate that.  A queer or trans metaphor? Sure, I guess you could read that way as well, but I don’t know for sure. Another thing I’ve seen people say is, “I was excited to read the Harry Potter books to my kids when they were older. But there’s no way I’m doing that now.”

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