Give the Lady a Break

J.K. Rowling just can’t catch a break. As a resident of the Czech Republic, I remember a few years back when she caught all sorts of shit for making a completely valid criticism of Czech mental health care (cages are a bad look, at the very least). Since then, she has gotten a barrage of flak for saying that trans-women are not exactly the same as those who are female by birth, and now John Stewart (who I’m still a big fan of, by the way, but he’s wrong on this) is calling her an anti-semite because the Goblins in Harry Potter, who run Gringott’s bank and, by extension, the entire economy of the wizarding world, are a Jewish stereotype. You know, short, big noses, always obsessed with money. Sort of like Scrooge McDuck. Or the Ferenghi on Deep Space Nine.
I could argue that the Gringott Goblins, while they are portrayed as greedy and somewhat manipulative, are also known for their attention to detail, love of numbers, persistent dedication and, above all, reliability. If they weren’t reliable, the wizards and witches wouldn’t keep all their money there, much less store sacred relics in their vaults. It’s one of the great aspects of her books.
Sometimes good guys have a dark side, sometimes bad guys turn out to be good. There was Snape, of course, and Percy Weasley, and one lesser character I quite liked, Fletcher Mundungus (Order of the Phoenix, iirc, or maybe The Half-Blood Prince), who agreed to help the good guys but didn’t object to a bit of larceny on the side, and was sort of a typical Cockney hooligan. Are Cockney hooligans up in arms? No, they are not.
It’s one of the great things about her books. For YA fiction, they are very well nuanced.
But mostly, my argument is this: J.K. Rowling created a beautiful world of magic, as complex and detailed as Westeros or Middle Earth, as intriguing as Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland, and that is no small feat. She has entertained millions, perhaps billions of people, encouraged literacy, and added significantly to the culture of the human race. She’s given plenty to charity and doesn’t dodge her taxes. She opposed Brexit. She has a fairly normal family life and, as far as I know, has never killed or molested anybody.
She’s all right in my book, and her critics should find somebody more worthy of their anger.

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