I have mixed feelings about Harry Potter. I read all the books as a kid and the Chamber of Secrets video game was unequivocally one of my favourite games of all time. But this series has problems with it, we see that in its portrayal of ethnic minorities, its queer representation, and ultimately it having been created by an incredible bigot. Sadly, JK Rowling, a woman with an unbelievable amount of power, wealth, and influence, is unapologetically hateful towards trans people. I’m not here to disprove each and every stupid claim she’s made in the last few months because people who are much more eloquent than myself have already done so (I’ll link them below this piece). I think it’s fair to say that Harry Potter feels a bit tainted at the moment and it’s meant to act as an escape from life’s problems, that’s why so many millions of people the world over feel so attached to it. How do we reconcile ourselves with wanting to escape into a fantasy world that has been constructed by somebody who is very openly transphobic? I don’t have concrete answers. Maybe for the time being Hogwarts isn’t something that can be appreciated or lived in in the ways it once was for people.
Enter My Immortal. This is the greatest piece of fan fiction of all time and is undoubtedly a parody. If you are not aware, My Immortal is a self-insert fan fiction based around the impossibly ‘perfect’ Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way, a name so brilliant it has rendered all other fictional characters inferior by comparison. Ebony is hilariously unlikeable and the story is so perfectly riddled with contradictions and inaccuracies and mistakes whilst also offering a chance to escape to Hogwarts. I think this fan fiction balances perfectly the mockery of Harry Potter fan fictions whilst creating an atmosphere that allows you to still be immersed in its world, albeit one where Albus Dumbledore, famously a wizard of quiet dignity and wisdom, screams “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING YOU MOTHERFUKERS!” at two of his students who he has just caught having sex outside the Forbidden Forest. I shit you not. This whole piece is just an advertisement for this fan fiction, I cannot recommend it enough. It lifts your spirits reading it. You get amazing ‘unintentional’ laughs whilst also getting the fantasy world of Harry Potter that has otherwise been a bit tainted by the original creator. My Immortal is truly art, it is transcendent in its use of Rowling’s intellectual property.
There is an amazing adaptation of My Immortal on Mediajunkie Studios’ Youtube channel which takes the source material and goes even further with it, adding more character drama and more emotion! If you’ve arrived at the web series adaptation you are now two spaces removed from JK Rowling, an ideal place to be! This adaptation even has good minority representation both with race and sexuality, something the original Harry Potter failed to do very well. Rather than alluding to characters’ sexualities after the fact, My Immortal has blatant representations of queer love, it builds drama around these love triangles and creates decent tension. What My Immortal the web series achieves is a place for people of all backgrounds and experiences to exist within the world of Harry Potter, something JK Rowling might have vaguely once spoken to but failed to make good on.
I like the world of Harry Potter, even though it does have deficiencies and the writer is a bigot. Right now, I’m in no rush to re-read those books or watch the movies, but it’s not like there isn’t more on offer out there. My Immortal is so fun and deserves all the recognition it gets. It is possible to find ways to appreciate Hogwarts and the world of Harry Potter without it being Rowling’s world. The Author is dead, so to speak. Re-appropriate and parody the work, make it something bigger than just what one person envisioned it as being. Hogwarts is our oyster.
Trans rights are human rights.
Trans men are men.
Trans women are women.
Non-binary people are non-binary.
A Bibliography of Debunking Rowling’s claims:
Jammidodger’s ‘Responding to JK Rowlings Essay | Is It Anti-Trans?’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Avcp-e4bOs&t=1131s
Anna Medaris Miller and Canela López’s ‘J.K. Rowling said there’s been an ‘explosion’ of young women transitioning and de-transitioning. There’s no evidence that’s true.’ https://www.insider.com/jk-rowling-says-explosion-of-young-women-have-transitioned-detransitioned-2020-6
Katy Montgomerie’s ‘Addressing The Claims In JK Rowling’s Justification For Transphobia’ https://medium.com/@KatyMontgomerie/addressing-the-claims-in-jk-rowlings-justification-for-transphobia-7b6f761e8f8f
Sources for My Immortal:
The story: https://www.wattpad.com/story/40796325-my-immortal
The web series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zpx_Cf0KCrM&list=PLjRR1J3NOisDqBG6Pn-nqn51Cw96VPfTu