Culture

J.K. Rowling Responds to Criticism of Claudia Kim Casting in Final 'Fantastic Beasts' Trailer

The author also sheds light on the origins of the character.

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J.K. Rowling Responds to Criticism of Claudia Kim Casting in Final 'Fantastic Beasts' Trailer

The author also sheds light on the origins of the character.

J.K. Rowling is under fire recently after the final Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald trailer was unveiled. The trailer features the character Nagini played by South Korean actress Claudia Kim and in the clip, Nagini transforms into a snake. The snake is an important fixture in Rowling’s Harry Potter series since it later serves as Voldemort’s trustworthy snake and Horcrux.

Nagini is actually a maledictus, a human born afflicted by a blood curse that will ultimately turn the person into a serpent permanently. Following the casting news, numerous people took to Twitter to call out the prequel film via social media. Fans alleged that by casting Kim, the film is pushing forward the ideal of Asian stereotypes, which includes an Asian woman in service in the Harry Potter series to a white male character as a “pet/slave for 60 years.”

Prior to the above criticism, on Wednesday, an author, Jen Moulton, shared her thoughts on the trailer on Twitter. She tagged Rowling and wrote: “Listen Joanne, we get it, you didn’t include enough representation when you wrote the books. But suddenly making Nagini into a Korean woman is garbage. Representation as an afterthought for more woke points is not good representation.”

YA writer Ellen Oh created a Twitter thread and expressed her opinion on the casting. She shared:

“I feel like this is the problem when white people want to diversify and don’t actually ask POC how to do so. They don’t make the connection between making Nagini an Asian woman who later on is the pet of a white man. So I’m going to say it right now. That sh*t is racist.”

After this instance, Rowling finally spoke up about the trailer in her own words via Twitter. She tweeted and shared further details on the word Nagini. She wrote:

“The Naga are snake-like mythical creatures of Indonesian mythology, hence the name ‘Nagini,’” she wrote. “They are sometimes depicted as winged, sometimes as half-human, half-snake. Indonesia comprises a few hundred ethnic groups, including Javanese, Chinese and Betawi. Have a lovely day.”

Following Rowling’s reaction, another author came forward and corrected the author’s depiction of the term Nagini. Amish Tripathi tweeted: “Actually @jk_rowling the Naga mythology emerged from India. It travelled to Indonesia with the Indic/Hindu empires that emerged there in the early Common Era, with the influence of Indian traders and Rishis/Rishikas who travelled there. Nagin is a Sanskrit language word.”

Rowling has not officially responded to the above criticisms. She did thank a fan, who tweeted his support of her and that the “universe that [she's] made is still the universe that we all love.”

Take a look at the trailer for yourself above and read the critiques below.

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