Against JK Rowling

Previously posted to my magical blog amugofmagic.wordpress.com.

Despite my love of Harry Potter, the author has long been problematic. From her declaration that Dumbledore is gay after the entire series was published to the admission that before the invention of toilets wizards simply defecated where they stood and Vanished the evidence (EW), there’s been a lot said over the years. She Tweets or blogs about things that are added to the canon. Whilst this worked for Pottermore, it’s been difficult to take her seriously for some time.

However, now she has decided to properly out herself as a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist: someone who doesn’t believe that trans women are women). Her Tweets and the essay on her blog are completely harmful to many in the magical community, and indeed the wider world.

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As the most famous children’s author on the planet, she has a sense of duty to her fans and other children. She has disgustingly let everyone down.

Over the past week or so, I’ve struggled with my love of Harry Potter contrasted with my hate of the author. Is it possible to love something and hate its creator? After all, we still read Lord of the Flies (William Goulding attempted to rape a 14-year-old), Elvis Presley courted underage girls, and Frank Sinatra had battery charges against him.

Whilst it is impossible to separate the art from the artist entirely, as we must always understand the link between the context in which a piece was produced to the final product, I think that Harry Potter has become something more than JK Rowling herself. If we look at the impact these novels and films have had on the world, it is hard to divorce that from what we have now learnt. Harry Potter became a world where people found acceptance and love and the place where they could be who they wanted to be.

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I cannot support JK Rowling any longer. There are difficulties with this: I would love to return to the Wizarding World in Florida and indeed for my birthday in May I received tickets to the Warner Bros Studio Tours, where I will still be visiting. There are of course changes I can still make: recommending other, more diverse and less problematic books over Harry Potter; trying to buy official merchandise second hand, if indeed I buy any at all; and no longer following or interacting with JK Rowling herself. I am also uplifting trans voices in the community, signing petitions, and when I am able, I would like to be able to be in the position to donate to LGBTQIA+ charities.

I am delighted by the fact that many of the cast and members of the wizarding world community have spoken out against JK Rowling’s transphobic messages, in support of the trans community. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Eddie Redmayne have all been outspoken in their support. For me, this not only reaffirms that these people are humane and accepting, it tells me that they fight for rights of others. Not only that, but it tells me that the wizarding world is still a place where people can call home.

3 Days, 3 Quotes | day three

Make sure you check out day 1 and also day 2 of this challenge I’ve done two of my all-time favourite quotes. I was tagged to do this by Louise @ A Little Fool Reads.

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote each day).
  3. Nominate 3 new bloggers each day.

The quote that I’ve chosen for my final day of this challenge is from a series that changed my life, and this quote really reminds me why I keep on writing.

Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable both of inflicting injury, and of remedying it.

– Albus Dumbledore, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS by JK Rowling

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he may be problematic as fuck, but man… dumbledore’s got style 

I’m quite mediocre at a lot of things. I would say that the only thing that I’m truly good at is writing.

For a world that shits on writers a lot, we sure read a lot, talk a lot, and our whole lives revolve around words. I’ve watched readers of my work laugh and cry, and I think that that’s unbelievably magical, powerful, and comforting to someone who feels lost most of the time.

And I’ve also chosen a second quote for today, because it basically has the same sentiment –

…words have the power to change us.

– CLOCKWORK PRINCESS by Cassandra Clare

Indeed, they do.

I nominate…

This time, I would like to nominate YOU, the person reading this. Over the past three days, I’ve really bared my soul through these quotes, and considering the sentiment I’ve written about above, I would love for you to do the same. There’s a catch, though – if you decide to do this challenge after seeing me do it, I would love it if you posted your blogs in the comments so I can read which quotes you chose! They don’t have to be as pretentious as mine are!

I hope you enjoyed reading!

Hannah x

Women Writers Who Made a Difference To Me

Today is International Women’s Day, and to celebrate I’m going to be sharing some women writers who have made a difference to me and my writing!

Enid Blyton 

One of the first books I can vividly remember reading is Malory Towers, a six-book series following a girl at boarding school. It’s a series I read over and over again, and it’s definitely a series that got me into reading, so her books made such a huge difference to my life.

JK Rowling 

Whilst I don’t agree with some of what Rowling has done lately, it doesn’t erase the impact that her and her books have had on my life. I would not have started writing when I did without Harry Potter being in my life, and therefore I would not be where I am now. Taking the same degree, perhaps, but almost certainly without the same amount of experience and love of writing that I do.

Eva Ibbotson 

Journey to the River Sea is a book that meant a lot to me when I was younger. It’s one of the books that made me actually feel something, and it was one of the first books that I properly, truly loved. That’s a feeling that I fully want to feel again; and if it’s possible, I want people to feel that way about a book I might write in the future too.

Let me know in the comments below any women writers who mean a lot to you, because I’d love to hear ones who have made a difference to your life.

Until the next time,

hannah sign off

Book Review | Pottermore Presents by JK Rowling

If you didn’t know, Pottermore Presents is a set of three eBooks of short stories by JK Rowling about the Harry Potter-verse. They’re a collection of some of the posts which had been released on the original Pottermore website. I’m going to be reviewing these as three separate mini-books. And… I kind of have a little rant/mini discussion at the end (#sorrynotsorry) if you’d like to see that too. Lots to be had in this post! 57d06c45180000b429bcfe13 Continue reading “Book Review | Pottermore Presents by JK Rowling”

Book Discussion: Gendered Books

bd; gendered booksOften, books are aimed at one gender or the other. For example, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is aimed primarily at girls, whereas Anthony Horowitz’s books are aimed primarily at boys. Now, I’m not saying that each sex can’t read each other’s books, but the question is, should we have gendered books, and even if the content is gendered should aspects like the cover and author’s name be gendered too?

To continue using the example above, Anna is a pink book whereas Horowitz’s are reds, greens and blues most of the time. This automatically genders the book in our society of today: no young boy would ordinarily, or stereotypically, be seeing reading a pink book. However, girls can, it seems, read any colour book and still keep in the stereotypes of society. For example, on my own bookshelves I have every colour of the rainbow (providing you’re going with the ROYGBIV version!). Whereas on my brother’s bookshelf, he probably has just ROGB. So… a much less wide collection.

Famously, Jo Rowling had to use a pseudonym when publishing the Harry Potter series, so she could “appeal to everyone”. Jo’s name is Joanne Rowling: she has no middle name, so the “K” is borrowed from a relative, and stands for Kathleen (or nothing in Jo’s case, I guess). But what does this tell us about how publishers think people’s minds work? They thought “JK Rowling” would sell better than “Jo Rowling” because then it could be debatable about the author’s own gender. Does that mean publishers think boys won’t read books written by authors like Cassandra Clare, Jodi Picoult or Lauren St John if they wrote the kind of stuff a boy would read?

Suzanne Collins is probably one of the biggest anomalies in the situations I’ve set up here: she clearly has a female name and her books come in a variety of colours, but both girls and boys read and enjoy them. Some of the editions of The Hunger Games are published in black, orange and blue (my collection); some are all black (my brother’s collection); and the newest ones out are pink, orange and green. And yet, both genders alike will probably read any of these, which then begs the question: is it the content which dictates what the different genders stereotypically read?

In the three female authors I named a paragraph ago, Cassandra Clare may appeal to both sexes (I’ve never read anything of hers, so I don’t know), Jodi Picoult is aimed at adult women and Lauren St John is aimed at teenagers – a gender is not specified. Clare writes about demons and angels, Picoult writes literary fiction about families and St John writes mainly about animals, such as horses or giraffes (uh, that’s two different series). But it’s interesting to discover that boys will probably read the former and girls the two latter… as well as the former. It seems that today’s society means girls are more likely to read anything open to them, but boys are sectioned off to read action/adventure, westerns or crime. It seems that if a boy settled down with a cosy romance, they’d be looked on as “weird”.

The final question of this post? Should books be gendered at all. Personally, I think that, as a lot of things in society, it can’t be helped. Most boys simply don’t want to read about horse riding or kissing. Some girls only want to read about these, whereas other girls are open to all. In some ways, it appears that girls are the more flexible ones: or perhaps have a wider degree of interest. Other times, it seems like publishers try to warp the book’s author, cover or blurb to appeal to one sex and not the other, securing an interest base.

Now it’s over to you, dear readers. How much do you think books are gendered in today’s society? Do you think they should be? Do you think it can be helped? What type of books do you/your parents/your brother and sister read and do you think they fit into these categories neatly, or can you find anomalies like Suzanne Collins? I’d love to hear from you! 

HA! You got REJECTED!

So, on Tuesday (29th Apr), I came home to my first ever rejection letter on the kitchen table. Was I disappointed? A bit. Did I want to give up and never write again because I thought I wasn’t good enough? Naa.

Getting rejected is something every serious writer will go through – whether it’s from a magazine, newspaper or publisher. But how do you cope with it?

  1. Don’t go on a murderous rampage. Everybody gets rejected. Sometimes, you’re just gonna have to learn to open that letter without threatening to storm to wherever it came from and demand that they accept your manuscript.
  2. See it as an opportunity to try again. You really need to do this just as you read the letter. It’ll help with the hit, trust me! It just means that you can nitpick your work and make it better. If you’re lucky, the sender of the letter will even send you some tips – if not, then you can still do it yourself!
  3. Don’t think your writing is rubbish. It’s not. Perhaps you’re just not sending your work into the right place – for example, if you’ve written a romance and you’re sending it into a publishing house that tends to put out gothic horror.
  4. Try again. Send your writing into another place; or back to the same one with a different piece – or, indeed, the same piece – of writing if you want to!
  5. Don’t give up. JKR was rejected 12 times before someone accepted her. Now, she has a net worth of about $1 billion! So don’t think you’re rubbish. If she hadn’t kept trying, there would be no Harry Potter – can you imagine what a terrible world this would be if there wasn’t?!

When you do open that letter, and see those three dreaded words – I’m sorry, but… – it’s perfectly okay to be upset. In fact, it’s natural! Feel free to have a cry, maybe a little scream of irritation. You may feel like you never want to write again, and that’s all right – for a few days. Even if you don’t pick up your story/article again for a while, that’s fine, too! Just make sure you do, eventually. See point 5.

To pick yourself up, you just need to smile and remember that at least they read your work. And, at least they wrote back. Finally, you just need to sit back and think that you can do this –you can make it better.

Just remember that you’re not terrible at what you do. If you love it, how bad can you be?

I believe in you, if no one else!

– Hannah 😀

Said Sirius Seriously

I, for one, am one of those who believe that everyone has read Harry Potter, so if you haven’t… Have fun.

That’s not even what this post is about, actually, so I don’t know why I started with that. This post is about using other words instead of ‘said’, because, let’s face it, that word is boooooooooooring.

I know some authors publish their ‘tips’ and say, ‘Only use the word ‘said’, otherwise it takes away from the story,’ but I think that using other words apart from ‘said’ is the one that makes it more fun.

So, what can you use other than said?

Well, here’s 3 for starters: chuckled, replied, asked. Now, don’t those look more fun than ‘said’? And if you really can’t think of anything other than ‘said’, add in an adverb, like ‘seriously’ (see title).

And I’m not saying that using the word ‘said’ is taboo – I mean, it can be used occasionally, I do sometimes – but please don’t make it every word used to, supposedly, describe the speech. Have you ever read Harry Potter? Though I love the books, so much, pretty much the only word JKR uses is ‘said’. Urgh. Boring.

Admittedly, it did never stop me reading them, but y’know.

So yes, that’s just a few ideas on what to do to improve your writing. If you ever do get stuck on more words needed in place of ‘said’, then why not Google it? There’s a whole world of words out there. Promise.

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