I’m Not A Potterhead But…

A little while ago a Harry Potter pop-up shop…popped up…in Tokyo. It’s to promote the Fantastic Beasts blu-ray release. So maybe the second movie wasn’t so great, but I still like so much about it, and Harry Potter merchandise is usually really cool.

In addition, one of my best memories is the Harry Potter portion of Universal Studios Japan. I loved everything about it. I wish they sold tickets just for that part, as I would gladly forego everything else in the park just to spend time there.

So anyway, they had some Honeydukes washi tape. I decorated my sweets jars — for a certain value of ‘decorate’ — with it, because I’m a nerd.

And now…

Well, okay, I don’t really follow JK Rowling, and I don’t follow her twitter feed. I’d heard she’d retweeted and followed some not-so-great accounts. There were explanations, and the whole thing was back-burnered. Left to simmer.

I do try to separate art and artist. I firmly believe that everyone has a case-by-case line that they have to decide for themselves. For example, I love certain poems by TS Eliot, even though he was awash in the sort of casual antisemitism common at the time. Mel Gibson’s unhinged rants have not only put me off his work going forward, it’s ruined both the Mad Max movies and Lethal Weapon, both of which were favourites from my youth (Tina Turner, hell yeah). I want the time I wasted watching Bullets Over Broadway back, after learning about Woody Allen’s personal life. The long march of terrible people acting terribly and being forgiven because “art” continues unabated. Every time I’m told that Roman Polanski is a brilliant filmmaker I wonder about the dozens of women whose brilliant work is lost forever due to the institutional misogyny that continues to reward a man who admitted to raping a child.

So we all have lines. The lines are different. It’s not a bright, clear, straight line. It’s a squiggle. We do the best we can under a deluge of information whose implications and effects we have neither the time nor the knowledge to parse.

I’m not sure when JK Rowling stopped giving a crap about the T in the LGBT that she supposedly supported for so long. Did she never? Did she not know what the T stood for? I admired her charity work and her giving back after having been in such dire straits before her first book was published. It’s still admirable. She did good things, presumably she still does. But…


I’ll keep my good memories, because they’re ones I made with my friends, and I hope that Potterheads can take the best of the Harry Potter universe, and the friends that they made and the fanfic and the cosplay and the experiences can be recuperated from whatever hurt that Rowling inflicts.

But I think my Honeydukes washi tape will be my last purchase.

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