I have been asking myself that question lately, and wanted to discuss it with you. If you rate a book only four instead of five stars on Goodreads, can you truly say you love it? If you don’t like the author of your favourite book, can you truly appreciate their work?
My answer is yes. I’m aware that I am a critical person. And me being a feminist and a member of the LGBT community and caring about equality and basic human rights have something to do with that. I care about these topics, so it will obviously bother me more than those who don’t care about it, when things aren’t portrayed well.
Since my childhood, I have been a huge fan of everything that’s even remotely related to Harry Potter. Lately, however, I have been more and more critical of the author who created my favourite universe in the world: J.K Rowling. I’m not very vocal about my critiques, since so many people think she can do no wrong. And that’s not right. I shouldn’t be afraid to express my opinion, as long as I don’t insult or hurt anyone else.
Example 1: Is Dumbledore really gay?
I don’t think J.K. Rowling deserves any praise about that, no. Just because she says so, doesn’t make it true. It’s not in the books. Of course, if you really, really pay attention to it, you might say “Oh yeah, I see it now”, but she didn’t dare to give us actual represenation of an LGBT character. She played it safe. And I don’t appreciate that. It’s queer baiting. Her excuse is that it didn’t matter to Harry’s story. I call bullshit. We do find out about other, of course heterosexual, pairings.
Obviously I’m not denying that Dumbledore is gay, but I’m angry that J.K. Rowling didn’t include it in her series. It’s easy to say it afterwards, when it won’t affect the sales of your books.
Example 2: Is Hermione a POC?
So, if we look at the books, Hermione’s skin colour is never specified. In the films, her skin is white. In the play, however, Hermione is portrayed by a black woman. I think it’s great they finally added some diversity to the Harry Potter series. I don’t agree with those who dislike the idea of Hermione being a POC, let’s make that very clear. I, however, dislike the fact that, once again, J.K. Rowling didn’t add the diversity in the series herself. Yes, if she didn’t specify Hermione’s skin colour, everyone could have related to her. But how much more meaningful would it have been if one of the main characters in this series was canonly a POC?
Now, you might think I don’t have any problems with my favourite books, but only with the author. While that is partially true, I will never say the Harry Potter series is 100% perfect. While my sister was reading the books, she told me how sexist they could be; like the way Harry treated Cho or how only the girls treated Fleur badly. Still, it’s my favourite series in the entire world and each time I read it, it feels like coming home.
Another series I love and adore is The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. I especially love the characters. When The Raven King was released in April, I immediately read it. It was very emotional; I cried about a hundred times. Still, I felt disappointed afterwards. Even though I got what I wanted, I had still expected something more.
So, can I truly say I love this series, while whenever I think about the final instalment, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth? Are you only a ‘real’ fan if you gave every book five stars and can’t say anything badly about it?
Let me know in the comments what you think! I’m very interested to hear your thoughts! I think the answer is yes; being a fan doesn’t mean you have to approve everything.