JK Rowling Is Fighting Fans On Twitter Over The Casting Of Claudia Kim As Nagini
Someone please show JK Rowling how to log off.
Remember Voldemort’s snake? Well, earlier this week a new trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald revealed that Nagini is actually a human witch who later became a snake, and many fans are pretty concerned about the casting. Naturally, JK Rowling is now fighting them about it on Twitter.
The new Fantastic Beasts trailer reveals that South Korean actress Claudia Kim has been cast as Nagini, and fans have voiced a few different concerns about her casting. One of those concerns is that portraying Nagini as an Asian woman has the potential to reinforce some pretty racist stereotypes about Asian women being submissive, given that Nagini is a woman who becomes a snake against her will and subsequently becomes Voldemort’s pet.
Kim herself disagrees and has expressed excitement about the role, telling Entertainment Weekly that “it will be so interesting to see another side of Nagini,” and that the character is so much more than just Voldemort’s snake. “You’ve only seen her as a Horcrux,” she said. “In this, she’s a wonderful and vulnerable woman who wants to live. She wants to stay a human being and I think that’s a wonderful contrast to the character.”
JK Rowling, meanwhile, has responded exactly as you’d expect: by fighting fans about the casting on Twitter. In response to a fan criticising her for continuing to try to insert diversity into the Harry Potter series retrospectively, the author tweeted that Nagini needed to be played by an Asian actress because “the Naga are snake-like mythical creatures of Indonesian mythology, hence the name ‘Nagini’.”
The Naga are snake-like mythical creatures of Indonesian mythology, hence the name ‘Nagini.’ 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 🐍
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 26, 2018
It’s a baffling response — as many fans have pointed out — because it doesn’t seem to be right. Not only is Claudia Kim not Indonesian, but neither is the mythology Rowling’s talking about. As many fans have pointed out, the Naga mythology Rowling mentions in the tweet emerged from India, which influenced Indonesian mythology on the subject.
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. https://t.co/cXHSlDD7Kc
— Amish Tripathi (@authoramish) September 26, 2018
JK Rowling: Nagini is drawn from Indonesian mythology…
Asian person: Er it’s Indian actually…
JK Rowling: …and that’s why she will be played by a Korean woman.
Asian person: that’s not in Indonesia. Or India. Where the mythology comes from. Let’s look at the map again JK
— Congolesa Rice (@judeinlondon2) September 27, 2018
Anyway, the moral of this story seems to be that once again, JK Rowling should stop tweeting. You can see the trailer that kicked off all this chaos below.