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JK Rowling, who rose to fame as the author of Harry Potter series, is known for her writings on magical subjects and fantasy worlds. But her latest book bears more than a passing resemblance to reality — and, critics say, not in a good way.
The inky heart is the sixth episode of Rowling’s thriller series Cormorant Strike, which she wrote under the pen name Robert Galbraith. The 1,024-page tome started raising eyebrows as soon as it hit stores on Tuesday.
Observers noted that the plot seems to mirror Rowling’s own experience of taking heat and losing fans for expressing transphobic views in recent years. Rowling has publicly stated that the book is not based on her own life, although some of the events that take place in the story actually happened to her as she was writing it.
“Although I have to say when it happened to me, those who had already read the book in manuscript form were [like] – are you clairvoyant? Rowling wrote in a Q&A on Galbraith’s website. “I wasn’t clairvoyant, I just – yeah, it was just one of those weird twists. Sometimes life imitates art more than you would like.”
In the book, a popular artist is harassed for her opinions
The book centers on the story of Edie Ledwell, a popular cartoonist who, according to the official description, is “persecuted by a mysterious online figure” – and ultimately found dead – after her cartoon was criticized for being racist. , ableist and transphobic (at least in part on a bit involving “a hermaphrodite worm”, Rolling Stone Reports).
“The book is clearly aimed at ‘social justice warriors’ and suggests that Ledwell was the victim of a masterfully planned and politically fueled hate campaign against her,” the magazine continued, adding that the character is doxxed – with “photos from his house pasted on the Internet” – and faces rape and death threats because of his opinions.
Parts of the story seem to reflect Rowling’s experience
Rowling has made her own opinions known, particularly regarding the transgender community, over the past few years.
She faced backlash in 2019 for publicly support Maya Forstater, a researcher who had lost her job because of transphobic tweets. The following year, Rowling posted several controversial tweets, including an opinion piece that poked fun at the term “menstruating people” (“I’m sure there was a word for these people,” she tweeted. “Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”), and released a lengthy statement expressing concern over the “consequences of current trans activism.”
Rowling said in November she had received death threats. She also publicly accused three activists of doxing her when they posted photos of themselves holding pro-trans signs outside her home in Scotland, ‘positioning themselves carefully to make sure our address was visible’ , she said.
The activists, who had been protesting in honor of International Transgender Remembrance Day, later deleted the photo and deactivated their accounts due to the amount of transphobic backlash they had received online. Police Scotland later investigated the so-called doxxing and determined that no crime had been committed (notably, Rowling’s house is a popular tourist attraction, as Their points out).
Critics say the book is selfish and ‘beyond parody’
Critics decried the book as “hilarious self-harming” and “beyond parody,” with some draw attention to real world issues in the face of transgender people, mocking its length (“500 pages more than dune300 pages more than infinity joke and 100 pages longer than the Bible,” wrote a) and calling people boycott his work.
Queer co-host Lark Malakai Gray Harry Potter “The Gayly Prophet” podcast told NPR via email that it finds the situation “deeply embarrassing” for Rowling.
“She posted a self-inserted 1,000-page fanfiction in which she is the victim. This is the kind of behavior one would expect from a bubbly teenager, not an adult with a immense wealth and power,” he added. “I have no idea what she was expecting, but seeing the internet filled with jokes about the book has been an absolute joy after all the harm it has caused my community over the past few years.”
Rowling’s transphobic comments cost her many fans
Rowling’s position has alienated many members of her fan base – which includes a large number of LGBTQ people – as well as a large number of prominent Harry Potter Actors: Actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint are among those who have condemned his comments and expressed their support for the trans community.
Rowling was noticeably absent from the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary Special, a de facto reunion for much of the franchise’s cast and crew that aired on New Year’s Day 2022. She told Graham Norton’s “Radio Show” podcast on Saturday that she had been invited to participate in the special but chose not to come because she considered it “about the movies more than the books”.
In that same interview, she pointed out that she had written her new book before the events of the past year.
“I said to my husband, ‘I think everyone is going to see this as a response to what happened to me,’ but it really wasn’t,” she said. “The first draft of the book was finished by the time certain things happened.”