Arts & CultureCultural Affairs

Meme of the Week: Harry Potter & The Curse of the Queerbaiting Author

JK Rowling has been trending across social media platforms for all the wrong reasons following the Blu-ray release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald.

The controversy arose from comments Rowling made in a special feature interview in which she spoke of a passionate homosexual relationship between two characters in the Harry Potter universe, Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindlewald. The trouble is that there is literally no evidence in any of the novels or movies that corroborate her claim.

Rowling has been known to use interviews and public forums to wax poetic about Dumbledore’s homosexual love life in a clear attempt to appeal to the queer audiences (rightfully) upset with her not to including any LGBT+ representation in her novels. This is the latest prominent instance of queerbaiting in popular media (a process by which same-sex relationships are hinted at but not depicted).

Queerbaiting is used to market media to queer audiences through suggestions of queer identities and relationships while simultaneously not risking the potential of lost sales to homophobes who would not consume media containing clear queer content. In speaking about Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s “relationship” without backing it up with supporting content in her bestselling series, Rowling is retroactively trying to reframe her heteronormative books as being progressive, and queer audiences are not having it:

As difficult as it is to accept that an author many of us have held in high regard since childhood may have overtly problematic morals, good has managed to arise from as dark a place as this — and that good comes in the form of some top-tier dank memery. Lo and behold, the best of the quips that have arisen from the JK Rowling controversy:

  1. Dropping Truth Bombs

If JK Rowling sincerely cared about diversity, she wouldn’t need to be retroactively inserting it into her franchise (see: Hermione’s (faux) ethnic ambiguity), and Mr. Snider’s jab hammers home how tired people are of Rowling doing just that. As opposed to diversifying her characters through paratext, Rowling ought to be adding new stories to the Harry Potter canon that solidify the diversity she claims has been present all along.

2. What’s in a name?

While JK Rowling’s has been adding information to the alleged homosexual lifestyle of Albus Dumbledore since 2007, the above rewrite to the paratext seems like it could be plausible in a mere few years’ time. Unlike her other unfounded claims regarding Dumbledore’s sexuality, her uttering something even slightly similar to the above would probably redeem her for me forevermore.

3. Humble Abode

Rowling’s latest claims of Dumbledore’s “intense, sexual relationship with Grindlewald” aren’t substantiated in any text in her novels or scenes in her movies—but she wouldn’t be a master queerbaiter if they were, would she? With that in mind, the above meme seems like a plausible scenario that those who know JK personally may have had to put up with.

4. Sorting Hat do me right

Well, according to rule 34, this house already exists in one form or another. Google at your own risk.

5. The Phallacy!

Perhaps one of the best attributes to the memes arisen from the JK Rowling controversy is their delightfully NSFW nature. To that regard, above is one of the best Rowling double entendres I’ve encountered thus far.

6. Revelations

I apologize for the double childhood-ruining nature of this meme, but If only advertising wars actually came to this, we may get more exciting commercial slams than Chester Cheetah’s (of Cheetos fame) Doritos diss track.

7. Dobby’s Special Talent

Don’t act like you haven’t done it before, Mom.

8. The Cloak of Invisible Diversity

The belligerent nature of the above fictitious JK Rowling quote makes it seem entirely unlikely, but really, the meme does a fantastic job of capturing the utterly unapologetic nature with which she lies about the diversity in her books.

9. Which letter will the LGBTQ2S+ community choose for this one?

In her youth, I bet JK Rowling was the type to have trysts exclusively with boys that “go to a different school.

10. Nothing Gold Can Stay

And now, I leave you pondering what JK might say if asked about the Weasleys’ love life.

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