Let it Go!

Spoiler Alert: This post may contain spoilers for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Crimes of Grindelwald

This is not a book review but more of an author review. It is also a plea to my childhood hero to stop!

I am a huge Harry Potter fan. So much so that I was on the panel for Harry Potter Fandom at ComicCon. I grew up with the books and if you have seen my previous posts, you will know the series means a great deal to me.

Growing up, I admired J. K. Rowling. Her effortless portrayal of strong independent women was not only fascinating but also inspiring. She stood for feminism and encouraged young girls to follow in Hermoine’s path.

Over the years, the author has given us a lot of insight into the characters. Some heartbreaking like McGonagall’s past; some fairly obvious (to me, at least) like Dumbledore being gay and I have enjoyed each of these tidbits. They added depth and new dimensions to the characters I already loved.  It had always been fun discussing new information suddenly thrust upon us decades after our favorite series had ended.

But guess what? Too much of a good thing is bad! It all started with the fateful Cursed Child. ‘Disappointed’ would be an understatement. Cursed Child was one of the most sloppily written, money-grabbing piece of work I have ever read. To those of you that are going to jump at me and say she never wrote it, here’s what I have to say – signing off on that garbage was just as bad. Not only was it completely inconsistent with the characters we have come to know and love, the plot was ridiculous. I see the irony in calling a work of fantasy ridiculous but that’s exactly my point!

I have since come to forgive her for Cursed Child. But did it end there? If only! Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was acceptable but the casting of Johnny Depp is inexcusable from someone like J. K. Rowling. I was heartbroken that my hero, the one that stood for feminism and for women’s rights would allow a wife-beating abuser like Johnny Depp to star in one of the most prominent roles in her new franchise. A franchise which, by the way, is nothing but a ploy at making money.

If FBAWTFT was acceptable, Crimes of Grindelwald was awful. I am not going into detail about everything I think is wrong with the movie. It has been covered in many articles, besides that would take up almost two posts. I will, however, say this – there is no such thing as course correcting once a series has ended. It is important that J.K. Rowling accept the lack of representation (coming out and saying Hermoine is black or Dumbledore is gay AFTER the fact, doesn’t count). She needs to stop trying to “correct” her mistakes in Harry Potter. Nobody is perfect and one of the things that makes harry Potter so great are the flaws.

Whatever it is that J.K Rowling is trying to do with Nagini, having McGonagal teach at Hogwarts when she would have been 8 years old, Nicolas Flamel, problems with the Elder Wand and all the other million things that ruin the Harry Potter canon, needs to stop. We also do not need to know about wizards pissing themselves on the reg. So, can we please let Harry Potter go. Stop messing with our childhoods. Please, just stop it!

The Power in your Hands

Spoiler Alert for The Power by Naomi Alderman : If you haven’t read the book yet please stop here, bookmark the page, read it and come back. Or if you like spoilers, please go ahead.

Let me first explain the photo displayed above. From where I come, patriarchy is rampant and the only value a woman is given is based on how successful her husband is. Without a marriage, most of her accomplishments will remain unappreciated. Growing up, I associated Mehndi (henna) with weddings. It is tradition for the bride to adorn her feet and hands with Mehndi. When I turned 23 and my parents started to bring up the topic of marriage and such, I wasn’t ready. To their credit, they did not start badgering me about it until I turned 26. At this point, I started to resent weddings and everything that went with it. This was a big deal for me because my secret ambition is to be a wedding planner when I grow up. I realized however, it wasn’t Mehndi or my parents that were causing my resentment. It was the system and the patriarchal culture that required a woman’s worth to be tied to a man.

After 3 years of debating and fighting, my parents finally have given up on the prospect of me ever being married. I have since decided Mehndi will be my symbol of the power I yield as an independent woman who doesn’t need a man to validate her.

Let us move on to the actual review of the book. Now, is a book really good if it made you extremely depressed? I think it is, because it must have been written well to incite such a strong emotion in the reader. In my last post, I talked about the best book I read in 2017. (If you didn’t read my last post, it was The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy). The Power by Naomi Alderman was the best book I read in 2018. I hated that book, only because of how accurate I thought it was in it’s depiction of a dystopian future.

If you are a feminist, like I am, you have, no doubt, daydreamed about what it would be like if the patriarchy was flipped on it’s head. What if men and women switched places? If the power lay in our hands, what would the world look like? One of the reasons I hated the book is because it shattered my bubble, it was a rude awakening to reality, my daydreams turned into nightmares.

Naomi Alderman’s writing style is pleasing, she knows how to write a story and most important of all, she knows how to captivate her audience and make them feel. For days after the book, I kept trying to find flaws in her argument, to find a way to avoid the dystopia she predicted. I could not! I was distraught. Did this mean, there was no point in our fight? Would we be committing atrocities against men? We would not! The point of feminism is not to rule over men! My fight isn’t against men – it is against patriarchy, toxic masculinity, this notion that somehow women are an inferior species.

The Power is a difficult read. But it is a very important book. If you meet men that do not believe in feminism or are the poster child for everything wrong with this world, I would have them read this book. Maybe if they read about what happens to women everyday in today’s world as happening to them, maybe then they will open their eyes and aid in our fight to smash the patriarchy.

P.S. I apologize if this post was more rant than review. I think The Power is a great food for thought and these ideas are worth discussing.