As you’d expect from a sport created in the mid-aughts by Harry Potter superfans, real-life Quidditch is aggressively inclusive and egalitarian. Complex, fast-paced, full contact, mixed gender, and trans-inclusive by design, it’s the perfect mix of nerdery and jockitude, sportsballing and Calvinballing.
But in 2021, there’s nothing less egalitarian than corporate-owned intellectual property–and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is no longer a place where your secret magical identity can be your whole true self.
Meanwhile, though Rowling recently bought her childhood home, she doesn’t live there. She owns two estates in Scotland, and by all accounts is a security and privacy fanatic. She clearly spends much of her free time on the Internet, scowling at all the under-40 types who were inspired by her stories to lead big, vibrant lives of magic and wonder and empathy and acceptance. She’s still writing, but pretty much just thinly veiled polemics against whoever she’s currently maddest at.
Though she rose above her station in the most British of ways–pluck, luck, and good breeding–it feels like she’s obsessed with high-school glory days she never had (her old English teacher once described her as “not exceptional”). It’s as though she wished the world were smaller, like her magical London that only has about 42 wizards in it. It’s like she wished she’d never gotten those degrees, never gone on those adventures, just had a couple of amazing school years where it felt like she
could do anything and then chose to get in line with everyone else.
Between the word itself being the corporate IP they can’t properly trademark or license as part of growing the sport, and the fact that a sport built around gender identity and inclusivity
really can’t be aligned with the world’s No. 1 transphobe, they’re going to have to come up with something else.
Rowling did exactly what she set out to do with the Harry Potter series: teach millions of kids the world over to dream big, love loud, and accept the magic inside everyone–no matter who their parents were, where they were born, how much money they have, or how different they are from you.
Now, she’s furious at those kids for going beyond the limits of her empathy. And rather than come to heel, as she demands, they’re cutting her off. The values her stories taught a generation-and-then-some are so true, so right, that those people are picking them over her (and her stories).
Of course, the Harry Potter
stories have a special place in my heart, too. I launched that indie blog in December 2008, and I joined Twitter two months later. For all 13 years I’ve been on the horrible bird site, my bio has contained a paraphrased version of the exact same Albus Dumbledore quote