Casting Nagini as an Asian woman of colour in 'Fantastic Beasts: 'The Crimes of Grindelwald' has fans outraged
In the story, Nagini is a snake owned by Voldemort - who is nothing short of a white man with 'nazi' ambitions, believe fans.
JK Rowling has done it again. And no, she hasn't written another stalwart of modern day literature like Harry Potter, but in her attempts to be 'woke' and distribute proper representation of characters, she has now announced that the ever so infamous snake from the Harry Potter franchise - Nagini - is actually a human. Perfectly fine, nothing wrong with that concept. However, a minor detail - Nagini's human form will be played by Asian actress Claudia Kim, has left the franchise's fans outraging.
For those clueless about the background, in a new trailer for the Harry Potter franchise's upcoming film, 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,' Nagini was shown to be a shapeshifting woman. The magical name for such a creature in the Wizarding World is 'maledictus,' meaning a woman who is cursed from birth to take the shape of a snake. The curse is passed on from mother to daughter.
All was well until that point too. As fans of the franchise know that said Nagini would go on to be one of the most faithful servants owned by the prime antagonist, aka The Dark Lord. That's right, Voldemort owns Nagini and keeps her as his prizest possession, which is later on explained by the fact that she is a Horcrux - one of the seven vessels where Voldemort had infused parts of his soul into order to be immortal.
Now Nagini is pretty badass that way, being Voldemort's beck and call, killing for him and doing what not, until she meets her tragic death at the hands of Neville Longbottom in the last installment of the franchise, 'Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.' But until now, nothing about Nagini's origin was known to anyone, so JK Rowling dropping this truth bomb about her being a human is a pretty big deal that has fans hyped. And some of them are pretty agitated too, because in a way - by making Nagini an Asian woman - the story subtly lays down a plot of a woman of color being owned by a white dictator.
Of course, Twitter took notice of that and thus began the outrage. "Nagini was a human woman all along“ really is a bold addition to JK Rowling's list of post-series canon retcons," Gavia Baker-Whitelaw tweeted, adding: "maybe 'circus performer who turns into a murderous snake' isn't the best choice of role for one of the two WOC in the franchise."
“nagini is a WOC” sounds like it came from the “the sorting hat was trans” tweet but like it’s real— arin hamhunk 🎃 (@lordbilingual) September 25, 2018
And it's not wrong, come to think of it. The only other woman of color in the Fantastic Beasts franchise is Reta Lestrange. (Zoe Kravitz) It's almost like that time Rowling labeled Albus Dumbledore gay, just as a token of consolation for the lack of LGBTQ representation in the Harry Potter franchise. So this time it seems like she's just mindlessly sprinkling an Asian woman of color to fill up the lack of representation.
“Let's retroactively turn a woman of color into a literal object owned by a white man inspired by Nazis," wrote Charles Pulliam, laying down the foundation of the problem. Another Twitter user tweeted on similar lines, saying: "J.K Rowling is trash and I’m sick of it. Nagini is apparently an East Asian woman. If you don’t see anything racist about an Asian woman being the pet of a white man—who is basically magic Hitler, I don’t know what to say."
us: pleaase show us dumbledore’s canon gay romance! since you brought it up! and it’s important! also please fire abusive shit johnny depp— caro ramsey (@caroramsey) September 25, 2018
rowling: nagini was an asian woman all along here she is in a cage
The issue has reached such massive levels of outrage also because of actor Johnny Depp's association with the film. Depp plays the role of a young Grindelwald from the movie's title, and social media activists are not exactly pleased with him being cast considering the ever so public media coverage of his domestic assault case with ex-wife Amber Heard. So all in all, Nagini being branded an Asian woman is probably just another wrong step at the moment.
'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald' stars Kim and Depp alongside Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, and Jude Law. Directed by David Yates and with a screenplay written by Rowling herself, the film releases this November 16.