Friday, June 24, 2016

Rowling: "Newt walks into a society he doesn't really understand."

A new trailer for Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released on June 23rd. Rowling narrates it, saying:
My heroes are always people who feel themselves to be set apart, stigmatized, or othered. That's at the heart of most of what I write. It's certainly at the heart of this movie. 
Her use of "set apart, stigmatized, or othered" is the first irony in the trailer. All three are very much the experience of Native peoples in the US.

Rowling also says:
"Newt walks into a society he doesn't really understand." 
That is precisely what she's doing in the ways that she's appropriating from Native peoples for this story, set in a place she calls Ilvermorny, where she's borrowing, people say, from "Native American lore."

With the appropriation of Native stories,
Rowling has walked into societies 
that she doesn't understand. 

Back in May of 2016 the Daily Mail ran a story about Federico Ian Cervantez, a software engineer, who was "rooting through the javascript" and found an Ilvermorny Sorting Ceremony quiz that asked, "Where do you belong? Horned Serpent, Wampus, Thunderbird or Pukwudgie." Fans write that "Wampus" is Cherokee and "Pukwudgie" is Wampanoag. What, I wonder, are their sources for those declarations? What, I wonder, are Rowling's sources?!

Back in March when Rowling released her first story in Magic in North America, Native peoples responded to that first video, and the stories, too. I compiled them here: Native People Respond to Rowling. I wonder what we'll see in the movie?

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