Can JK Rowling please stop shoehorning Harry Potter into current events?
Oh great, a tweet about how Snape would feel about the NHS
Another day, another JK Rowling tweet about UK politics and Harry Potter. Today, she was trending on Facebook again, just after a painful declaration on Twitter about Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn isn’t Dumbledore. Guys, stop everything. This is the greatest political commentary of our time. Corbyn, Dumbledore, beards, dubious leaders – you get it right? Hogwarts Express, Virgin Trains, Privet Drive, Houses of Parliament, dodgy trackies, no tie, robes, Hufflepuff – God there is just so much potential material here. She went on to write (because no, she didn’t stop there): “I forgot Dumbledore trashed Hogwarts, refused to resign and ran off to the forest to make speeches to angry trolls.”
It isn’t the first time JK Rowling has managed to shoehorn herself into a political conversation by making things about Harry Potter. There was also this despondent reaction to Brexit which I’m sure is intended to speak volumes but actually is just frustratingly naive.
Now it’s almost cliche. Political event, Harry Potter tweet, brief flurry of attention, Buzzfeed article on how she just “absolutely slammed and clapped back” at someone.
Like everyone else, I was a massive fan of Harry Potter growing up. Books, films, Slytherin scarves, pencil cases, adolescent lust after actors and fictional characters; it was all there. I adored JK Rowling, but every time she pipes up with her 140 character friendly lightweight political commentary, I like her a little less.
It’s frankly patronising that she thinks this is the only way to make politics and the Big Bad Real World accessible to an audience of young people who grew up reading her books and now are presumably jaded-but-cutesy millennials. As she would probably say, every time she makes a Potter reference to that audience it makes the whole thing a little less magical – and a lot more tragic. It feels a bit like leaving your mum unsupervised on Facebook and coming back to find she’s posted a lot of cat memes and tagged her friend Julie in a status about “wine o’clock”.
Rowling becomes less and less of the figure who you thought of as some sort of genius, the author of what 13-year-old you would call the greatest books of all time and more of a lazy social media demagogue. She’s 51-years-old. She’s got three kids. She’s got 8.07 million Twitter followers, and instead of using that influence to say anything useful, she’s turned it into a bizarre safe-space fan fiction.
She is literally an adult who cannot engage with real life unless she manages to make it about a world she made up in her head.