Young Wallander: When Reimaging A Crime Series Goes Wrong

As a huge fan of Henning Mankell’s dour Swedish detective, Kurt Wallander (so much so that I have a tattoo of a line from one of the titans of Scandi-crime’s books on my shoulder), I was excited to check out the new Young Wallander series on Netflix.

The trailer did not fill me with hope, but I argued to myself that it’s only a small snippet of what was to come. When the series finally dropped I was eager to get started, but I soon realised that it wasn’t what I’d expected.

Mankell wrote a series of short stories about his protagonist’s origins, called The Pyramid. Set in the 1970s, the series follows Wallander as he starts out in the force and shows his burgeoning relationship with his wife, who would later leave him. It also shows the struggles at the time, including the racism and social divisions that were a key fixture of Mankell’s novels set during the height of Wallander’s career.

I’d expected that the TV series would use these stories as its base, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, the show used a later novel, The Man Who Smiled, as the basis for it’s plot, but the similarities were so slight that it took me about 5 episodes to realise. It’s only small elements, but given the fact that the series was produced by Yellow Bird, the production company that helped with the Swedish series with Krister Henriksson and Kenneth Branagh’s English version, it’s clear that these coincidences were deliberate. After all, Mankell consulted with the company on the initial two series while he was still alive, so it makes sense that they’ve done this as some kind of weird tribute.

Unfortunately, by filming it in Lithuania and filling the cast with a motely crew of British and European actors, none of whom can do a Swedish accent to save their lives, Young Wallander turns into a very poor tribute to the author. Wallander in this series is nothing like the version in the novels or the original shows that inspired so many to become fans of this intellectual detective. The boy in the show is nothing like the man he’s supposed to be becoming; he’s much less intellectual and has far too much nervous energy.

He’d never become the jaded detective of Henning Mankell’s incredible novels, who was committed to fighting crime but world-weary at the same time. He used his wits and intelligence, as well as his gut feelings; this new, younger version only uses his hunches. His guesses are never based on anything, whereas the real Kurt Wallander always had a reason, even if it was vague and based on something that had happened a while ago.

Also, this new character that Netflix has dreamed up is far too polite to be Wallander. That might sound unkind, but part of the character’s charm is that he’s gruff and grumpy, and that, while he understands the psychology of violence and crime, he struggles to connect on a basic level with others.

The version in this TV show is friendly, happy and great with people. The version of his love interest, Mona, who becomes Kurt’s wife in the novels, is also wrong. She’s the only other recognisable character from the books, and she’s far too conscientious. She’s also too happy with Kurt- in the novels, Kurt was always much more in love with the idea of Mona, and she was simply angry that he was never present around her. In the TV version, the pair actually make a great couple, which means that the premise isn’t sustainable (in the books they have one daughter, then divorce when she’s young).

Many online commentators have been quick to point out that the series should be taken as a unique entity in its own right. However, I’d argue that since it’s based on a series of world-famous novels, the creators of the show have an obligation to create a series that honours the books, or at the very least vaguely resembles them.

Completely ignoring them is pointless- why didn’t they just create a new character? The answer, I suspect, is that they wanted viewers to come expecting Wallander. Unfortunately, what we got was a very poor facsimile that doesn’t hold a candle to the novels or any of the three preceding TV series.

That being said, I would still have hated Young Wallander even if it hadn’t used the name of a character that I love. The show is poorly plotted to the point where it barely makes any sense. The ending is perhaps the worst ending in a crime fiction show that I’ve seen in many years, and that’s saying something!

To sum up, I wouldn’t recommend Young Wallander to anyone, whether you’re an avid Mankell fan like me or just someone looking for something to watch to keep yourself busy. There are so many other, much better shows on Netflix that are worth your time more than this.

As I Predicted, Book Sales Have Soared And Readers Are Living Our Best Lives

Recently I wrote a blog post about how many new books would be coming out in September, and how this was amazing news for readers. I was excited to see what happened, and now, a few weeks later, we’re seeing the results.

There’s loads of new books out, so we’re able to stock up in anticipation of a second wave and the cold weather that’s coming as we move closer towards autumn. That also means that publishers, authors and publicists are having a great time too, as their figures get a much-needed boost.

As such, it’s been ace for writers and bookshops too, with booksellers reporting record sales over recent weeks, and some even comparing their sales figures to the time when the last Harry Potter novel was released. They’ve seen more readers purchasing books as their favourite authors publish exciting new volumes, either as part of a series or stand alone books.

Everyone from Jo Nesbo through to, of all people, Ant and Dec, have new books out shortly, so there’s something for literally every reader. There is everything from young adult fiction through to thrillers, romances to autobiographies, and beyond. Readers of all ages, abilities and interests will find something that they love in this latest swathe of releases, which has become one of the biggest and most popular of the year so far.

As I mentioned in my previous post about the number of new releases coming out over the coming weeks, it’s clear that increased book reading is one of the few good things to come out this horrendous situation. The pandemic has led to more people reading and, as such, buying books.

With book sales rising, and crime fiction a particular winner in the race towards increased popularity, readers have lots to get their teeth into and keep themselves busy if (read: when) a second wave locks everywhere down again.

Which brings me on to my next point. While book sales are rising now, readers need to continue to prioritise their hobby and invest more of their time on reading over the coming months and years. Reading offers so many benefits to the mind and your wellbeing, as well as your overall view of the world.

Reading widely, and by a range of different authors from all types of backgrounds, helps to broaden your view of the world. It helps you to see everything and understand the perspectives of people from different backgrounds. It also helps you to learn cool new things, and to see the world in a different light.

For writers too, the boost in productivity has helped them to grow and expand their knowledge. I write almost every day in my job, and I find that the more I write, the more I’m able to write. I expand my knowledge with everything I write. You also have to read a lot when you’re researching for articles or books, so you naturally absorb loads of exciting new information.

Creative writers have clearly been knuckling under and being productive during the lockdown, as this spike in new book releases proves. Hopefully, they’ll keep up the momentum and bring us lots of exciting new titles well into next year and even further into the future.

So, in all, I’m happy to hear that more writers are writing and more readers are reading. Or, more accurately, that we’re all buying books to read. When we’ll read them, remains to be seen. I’m excited to see how much our reading habit extends once the pandemic is fully over, and whether or not we continue to make time for solitary pursuits like reading in the long run.

How Trump’s Dirty Election Tactics Will Inspire Future Political Fiction Writers

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Even devout Trump supporters can’t argue with the fact that the US president is currently trying to sabotage the November election in every way possible.

Whether it’s removing post boxes to inciting riots, he’s desperate to cling to power that he’ll stop at nothing. In that respect, he is comparable to many of the villains in some of the world’s best political crime fiction.

That’s about the only way in which he can be compared; facts really are stranger than fiction, as some of the many books about Trump prove. He isn’t the handsome, charming or charismatic leader that most political thriller writers base their plots around. Instead, he’s an overgrown child who took advantage of America’s racism and unrest to win a prestigious political position that he isn’t remotely fit to hold.

As a result, Trump now offers a myriad of exciting possibilities for the crime fiction market. The president in most political thrillers is much more intelligent and, surprisingly, less corrupt than the actual reality TV star turned president currently ruining one of the world’s biggest superpowers.

Political fiction has always taken fact and real life scenarios as its basis, even if it then turns the facts into incredible fictional tales. Most political thrillers feature highly recognisable characters, which are clearly based on real life politicians and leaders. That’s part of the joy of reading political fiction; sifting through and trying to uncover the influence that real life has had on the book. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it’s not, but it’s always there.

As such, in the near future, I’m expecting a load of thrillers that bring to life a character that’s as large as life as the Donald himself. Political writers are already using presidential corruption as a plot point; for example, James McCrone’s amazing novel Emergency Powers tells the tale of a plot to install a dummy president into the White House to give power to a dangerous secret terrorist syndicate.

However, even McCrone, with his incredible creative writing talents, wasn’t able to envisage behaviour as abhorrent and undemocratic as what Trump is doing right now in America. The man is simultaneously unhinged and deeply devious, in ways that are almost too crazy to be believed. What’s perhaps even more insane is that there are republican politicians out there actually willing to defend and support a president who is only so desperate to cling to office because he knows that, if he is outvoted later in the year, then he could face prison for his crimes during the presidency.

Honestly, I think that, before Trump actually came into power and started behaving like this, if a fiction book was published that depicted what’s going on right now, it would be derided as unrealistic. It seems almost impossible that a sitting president would do things like encourage voters to illegally vote twice while at the same time sabotaging postal votes and making racist, derogatory comments about his own people.

The man is currently encouraging domestic terrorism and praising white shooters who murder innocent bystanders, while lambasting peaceful protestors. If this were written in a novel, critics would be crying out that no would stand for this behaviour from someone in so high an office. But now, it’s actually happening in real life, which means that authors can use it as the inspiration for their work.

I’m looking forward to books where I can really see that Trump is the inspiration, and that authors are condemning his disgusting behaviour. It’ll be great to see the future of fiction rise up against this dictator and portray a world in which he is more widely condemned and punished for his despicable actions.

Overall, 2020 has been a crazy year for a load of reasons. One of the craziest has been Trump and his handling of every situation that life throws at him and his country. I’m excited to see how future writers will handle his behaviour and what he will inspire in the world of political fiction. I’m also bloody looking forward to the American public seeing sense and voting this mad dictator out in November. Until then, his on going insanity will add fuel to the fire of upcoming novels with insane presidents and corrupt politicians at their centres.

Floods Of New Releases Will Give Readers Something To Read Later In The Year

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With hundreds of books set to be published this autumn, now is an amazing time to be a book lover. Publishers are taking advantage of the opportunity that the lockdown, and its book buying boom, offer to release all the hottest new titles.

We’ve got all the time in the world, despite the lockdown being lifted- no one with any sense is going out regularly with the virus still out and about and no vaccine yet.

Many authors have got new books out, so you can find an exciting new read to tempt you and take your mind off the dire state that the world is in right now. Also, reading is a great hobby you can do at home, making it ideal for if a second wave of the virus does hit; which, let’s face it, is pretty bloody likely thanks to many male world leaders’ shameful handling of the situating.

So, in all, this windfall of new book releases has come at a perfect time. With so many new books to read, we’ll all be kept busy and have new adventures, even if we don’t actually leave home to enjoy them.

My TBR (to be read) pile is currently on the verge of falling over!- though that doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to adding to it! It doesn’t help that I’ve started to reread a load of Jane Austen, but I’ve still got plenty of time for everything else. There’s a load of new reviews to be published over the coming weeks, so make sure you follow the Dorset Book Detective.

One book I’m incredibly excited for is the new Sophie Hannah novel The Killings At Kingfisher Hill. It’s the next instalment of her reimagined Poirot series, which is a continuation of the amazing original set of mysteries by the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie. I’ve enjoyed the first three novels in the series, so I’m looking forward to checking out the latest novel. If you’re a Christie fan, then I’d recommend that you check out this series; it’s a great way to get your Golden Age crime fiction fix without rereading old favourites.

I’m also loving Candice Fox’s new novel Gathering Dark, a gripping thriller that centres on a woman who was recently released from prison for a crime she claims isn’t as it seems. Her former cellmate arrives, and things quickly spiral out of control as the protagonist is compelled to help her find her missing daughter. Collaborating with the cop who locked her away and a gang lord, the two women set out on a dangerous yet gripping adventure. I only started reading this incredible novel the other day, and I’m already more than halfway through; I just couldn’t put it down!

With so many other awesome crime fiction writers, including legends Jo Nesbo, Lee Child and Ian Rankin all releasing new books shortly, they’ll be plenty to keep me busy. If you’re not a fan of mysteries or you just fancy something a bit different, there are plenty of other releases to tempt your fancy.

As well as fiction, there are also loads of new non-fiction books out, including, of all things, a book about Ant and Dec. Because that’s what we all wanted out of this shit show of a year isn’t it?! Well, if you want to improve your mind, then maybe don’t go for that one, but there are loads of informative new books out. For example, the author of H Is For Hawk has released a book of essays about the natural world and our relationship with it, which is not to be missed.

So, if you’re a reader, now’s the time to get your credit card out and treat yo self to some amazing new books. While these new books are exciting, remember too to give back to those who don’t have as much as you do. Not everyone’s as lucky as those of us who can treat ourselves to new books- so if you can, donate some money to charity too. Or consider buying a few extras for the food bank. Doing good will make you feel even better as you relax and enjoy reading your new books.

Books Are Having A Moment As Film Production Stalls

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As the on-going pandemic keeps film production stalled, or slow, and many film releases are delayed until cinemas can reopen properly, books are having a moment.

I, for one, am glad, and I hope that in the long run society remembers how much we enjoyed reading regularly and continue to do so.

Reading is incredibly beneficial for your mind, vocabulary and general wellbeing, but it can be tough to find the time to fit it into a busy schedule. With everyone staying home more, even as the lockdown measures are removed, we’ve all got more time for the hobbies we overlooked before.

One of the most accessible hobbies out there is reading. Practically everyone who went to school has at least some grasp of the practice, and even if you weren’t raised to enjoy it, eventually you’ll find a reading material that appeals to you.

Reading is so vital for anyone who wants to improve their imagination and cognitive prowess. Even reading what might be considered ‘low brow reading material’, such as comic books, kids novels and even cook books, can improve your mental capacity.

If you read regularly, you’ll also improve your reading and your understanding. Most of us have to read something in our careers and everyday lives, but the amount of understanding we get from the materials we read varies. The more you read, the better your understanding.

That’s not to say that I think people will give up on films and TV shows thanks to the pandemic. I bet streaming services- all 1 million of them- are all rubbing their hands together with glee right now. We’re all binge watching like crazy, because it’s easy and fun, but we’re also taking on hobbies.

Everything from knitting through to playing an instrument is in vogue right now, as everyone tries to use their time wisely and feel productive. However, reading is one of the most valuable and useful hobbies we can have, and the pandemic has made more people understand the benefits that it can have for them.

Crime fiction has been a particular favourite of book buyers over recent weeks, which is great for the genre. It also shows that we’re eager to escape, and that we’re less ashamed of reading what we want.

After all, many individuals used to regard crime fiction as trashy, as opposed to highbrow literature and non-fiction books. If you don’t believe me, then cast your mind back to the Harry Potter books, and the releases which had an ‘adult cover design’ so that grown ups didn’t have to feel ashamed for reading what was perceived to be a book for kids.

Many people feel that their reading material reflects who they are, and that’s not the case- you can enjoy reading something and still enjoy other pursuits. As long as you read widely and discerningly, then you shouldn’t feel any shame in what you choose to read. Choose books that are not immoral, such as anything racist or homophobic, and if you do accidentally find something that tests your morals then be objective about it. Take it as a learning experience and use it as an opportunity to broaden your mind.

It’s surprising how few people read every day, meaning that they don’t get to experience as many books. They view reading as some sort of weird treat, but in reality, I personally feel that taking the time to read something that you love should be a daily enjoyment. Taking just half an hour out of your day can make you feel amazing in a way that no other hobby can.

With all the good films on hold or being shoved online, where we don’t get to experience the thrill of the cinema or buy madly overpriced snacks, many people who aren’t usually avid readers are using their time to find books they enjoy, and I for one am very happy about that.

Overall, I hope that even after the pandemic is finally over and we start rebuilding the world, the new version of normality includes more time spent reading. I hope that we de-stigmatise reading whatever we want, so that people don’t feel embarrassed and can just enjoy reading what they love.

Why Crime Fiction Is Our Pandemic Genre Of Choice

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that crime fiction is an amazing genre of literature, and that it’s a great way to escape from your troubles.

What I’ve been saying for years has finally been proved true, as the lockdown has shown. New figures have shown that crime fiction sales are up from the same period in 2019.

Book sales overall are up, because everyone’s bored and stuck in their houses with none of their friends to take away their credit cards and stop them buying shit they don’t need on the internet. As the financial impact of the virus is still hurting everyone, even those lucky enough to have kept their jobs, many consumers looked for affordable luxuries that could make themselves feel better and keep them occupied, and they stumbled upon books.

So, between the availability of online stores and the boredom, many people have started buying new books to fill up their bookshelves, and their time. When you think that reading is a solitary activity, with a reduced risk of catching the virus, it’s the perfect solution for relieving pandemic boredom and the lockdown blues.

But why crime fiction? What is it that draws readers towards mystery novels and gripping thrillers?

Personally, I’ve always loved crime fiction and mystery because it gives me a chance to escape into a world that’s slightly worse than the one I’m living in currently.

I also love the fact that there are so many different types of crime fiction out there, so there’s a mystery novel for every mood. If I’m in need of something comforting, then cosy crime fiction is there for me. On the other hand, if I want something gripping and gory, then there are dark police procedurals to check out.

With so many different sub genres within the crime fiction label, it’s easy to see why so many readers are turning to it while they’re stuck indoors and in need of some reading material to keep them occupied. There’s something for everyone, and there are crime fiction and thriller novels set in almost every country and period of history, so whatever your fancy, you’ll find something that you want to read.

Crime fiction often crosses over into the comedy and romance genres, which is great for the pandemic, as readers might want a bit of a laugh as well as some thrills and excitement. This diverse genre offers it all, so readers don’t have to choose between different emotions and reactions.

Also, there’s so much crime fiction out there of all types, with new novels released all the time. Some readers might have put off buying a new book because their TBR (to be read) was huge- like mine! However, when faced with the prospect of being stuck inside, they might’ve caved and bought every book they’ve always wanted, with a view to reading more during the lockdown.

It has to be said, from what I’ve heard from fellow readers and my own personal experiences, not many of us made much of a dent in our TBR piles, never mind the new books we bought! That being said, new books always make us happy, so they’ve served one function at least.

Another reason for crime fiction’s popularity is that it is a chance to escape from the madness of reality, without having to learn another world’s rules and ideals, as you do with fantasy fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fantasy novel, but they require a lot more concentration and time investment than crime fiction books.

With crime fiction, you’re transported to a version of life that’s pretty similar to yours now, or a bygone time whose rules are easily explained. There, you encounter monsters and fiends, just like in fantasy fiction, but in this case, they’re ordinary humans. Readers can relate to the characters, while at the same time be repulsed by their behaviour. In a world that seems to have gone insane, crime fiction offers a much-needed respite from all the crazy news stories.

In all, I think that it’s a combination of escapism and diversity that’s made crime fiction such a popular choice for readers during the pandemic. In the future, I hope that readers continue to buy books from their favourite authors and support them as we all navigate the insane ‘new normal’ together.

 

All The Ways In Which The Harry Potter Series Shows J.K. Rowling’s Conservative Bias

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The Harry Potter series is often hailed as a revolutionary set of novels, and for good reason; on the surface, they seem to promote an inclusive, supportive society where everyone can be their authentic selves.

However, following author J.K. Rowling’s recent series of tweets which prove her to be incredibly transphobic, many fans have denounced her and changed their attitudes towards the series.

Personally, I’ve always noticed that the series shows, in many ways, the Rowling is in fact deeply conservative. Hers is what is often known as ‘white feminism’; not exclusively practised by white people, but mostly, and not by all, it’s a form of feminism that values inclusivity only for themselves, with everyone else, including minorities and the differently-abled, left out in the cold.

While the Harry Potter series does contain some amazing inclusivity that you wouldn’t expect, it is also deeply problematic in many ways. The stories might be about the underdog coming out on top despite incredible odds, but there are some glaring issues.

It might seem like I’m just like Rowling, and unwilling to let things lie, but in light of her recent horrendous comments, I want to put this piece out there. I want people to read my theories and consider them.

I’m not denouncing the series- I still love them, but I feel that, in light of Rowling’s recent proclamation that she doesn’t support the trans community, we should look at the series and how it lets a lot of society down, in more detail.

The Fact That Everyone Marries Before Having Kids

Ever since I first read the series as a kid, I’ve always been struck by the fact that everyone seems to get married before they have kids. I can’t think of any character that had a baby out of wedlock, never mind any single parents who weren’t widowed. Considering that Rowling herself was a single mother for a time, you’d think that she’d be more willing to embrace single parenthood in her work.

Even Merope, Tom Riddle/ Lord Voldemort’s mother tricks her spellbound Muggle husband into marrying her before they conceive a child. It strikes me as odd that there’s such an intense focus on such the institution of marriage- surely love is the only thing you need to become a family?

The Poverty Divide

Another issue that has always bothered me is the stark divide between rich and poor in the Harry Potter books. Mr and Mrs Weasley are poor parents who house, feed, love and care for Harry throughout his school life, yet he has a full vault of gold while they scrape by without much money. Also, money doesn’t need to really mean anything in the wizard world; Rowling could’ve got rid of it as she is the creator of the universe.

In fact, Rowling could’ve got rid of all poverty, famine and everything other issue in the world. Instead, the divisions remain, and some characters still struggle, despite the fact that Harry, the protagonist, is wealthy enough to solve pretty much every poor character’s problems, but doesn’t. It all kind of shows that Rowling still believes in a society with rich and poor. The Ministry doesn’t even offer any kind of benefits or support to wizards, that we’re told, which is a staple of genuine left wing society. 

The Lack Of Non-White Representation

Rowling might say that some characters are black retrospectively, or cast them as black in plays and films, but at the end of the day, there’s very little BAME representation in the Harry Potter series. We’ve got Cho Chang and the Patel twins, but they don’t get a lot of time or the ability to truly express their cultures. A young member of the BAME community would only see a few characters that are like them, very briefly. Even the white foreign characters that arrive during the fourth book, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, are stereotypes of the counties that they come from. The Beauxbatons students are from France, and as such they are the epitome of French chic and elegance; they’re almost all women, and are beautiful, slim and wearing pale blue.

The Durmstrang students are from Bulgaria, and again they are stereotypes of Eastern European people, in an extremely offensive way; they’re all stocky men, led by a corrupt former Death Eater. They even live on a ship, meant to invoke thoughts of pirates, while the French students and their teacher arrive in a carriage that’s reminiscent of the one in Cinderella. As such, the Eastern Europeans are literally shown as sketchy pirates, while the French characters are chic, elegant and in one case, half Veela, a creature that ensnares men. Great way to show kids how to think of people from other cultures.

The Lack Of LGBTQ+ Representation

Before anyone starts, I know that Rowling has alleged that Dumbledore is gay, but frankly, I don’t care. If we can’t see it, then it isn’t true representation. I don’t care if she says that Snape was actually a duck or that Hagrid is a pansexual with a penchant for BDSM and a degree in golf course management. If we can’t see it, then it doesn’t benefit those communities. Queer readers don’t get any benefit from these post-publication additions.

In the actual series, there are loads of heterosexual relationships, but no homosexual or bisexual ones. There are also no trans characters, although it’s now obvious why. As such, the Harry Potter universe is completely heteronormative, like the real world still is, despite the rise in queer representation and the popularity of the Pride movement. This lack of LGBTQ+ representation shows that Rowling’s liberalism and post-publication woke additions are simply for show.

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The Do As I Say, Not As I Do Attitude Of Most Of The Adult Characters

As someone who grew up with hypocritical ‘role models’ who would inform me that what they did wasn’t important, as long as I didn’t do it myself, because they knew and were better than me, I understand the manipulative nature of this form of parenting and child rearing. Parents and caregivers need to set a good example, or to explain the rational behind their actions, or else they’re just hypocrites.

Pretty much every adult that supports Harry and his friends says one thing and does another. Sirus is constantly urging caution while living recklessly and leaving the house on every possible occasion (to accompany him to the train and to the Ministry, where he met his death). Dumbledore regularly tells Harry that he needs to know everything about his adventures, while at the same time withholding a lot of information that could help make Harry’s quest easier. Even Arthur Weasley, one of my favourite characters in the whole series, is a serious hypocrite. The man works for the Misuse Of Muggle Artefacts office, but he has an enhanced Ford Angela! The ‘do as I say, not as I do’ approach is basically parenting dictatorship, and it doesn’t set a good, supportive example to kids.

The Entire Plot Of The Cursed Child

One of the things that annoyed me the most about Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, aside from the other issues such as the extortion of making it two parts, so that people have to pay for two sets of tickets, was the lack of change. Rowling has been needlessly adding to the Harry Potter universe for years, trying to make herself seem more woke. However, in the play version created long after the original series was completed, she doesn’t add any homosexual representation, and while she does turn Hermione into a black woman, which is awesome, it’s kind of pointless.

Hermione is clearly a white woman in the novels, so rather than just turning her black, she could have included more representation in the form of new BAME characters. She could also have included new strong female characters or some LGBTQ+ representation. Instead, we get black Hermione, who is now Minister For Magic but still with Ron, a misogynistic, lazy character who got pissed at their wedding and is clearly still a douche. Rowling had a unique opportunity to improve the series and represent more minority communities, but instead, she just carried right on and didn’t do anything more to show her legions of fans how supportive she is of the communities that need her support more than any other.

By not adding more representation to her follow-up, Rowling shows that she hasn’t evolved or enhanced her opinions at all. After all, we’ve all grown over the years; I’m sure I said some problematic things back in the day when I was a kid, and I’ve definitely had some bloody odd opinions about a lot of things (I went through a phase of loving mullets and dating poets- it was a weird time!). But I grew, and changed, and my writing changed too. Rowling’s, unfortunately, has not.

Look, at the end of the day, I’m not in any way saying that Rowling is a vile person, or that her books aren’t phenomenal pieces of young adult fiction. However, there are gaping problems with them, as shown above.

While the time in which she wrote the work, and her own generational bias and that of her editors/ publishers might have all had an impact, I believe that the novels provide a number of interesting insights in the morals of their author. I hope this article gives you something to think about.

Ultimately, be a Weasley in a world full of J.K. Rowlings. Be genuinely supportive of and delighted by the transgender community, like they are by Muggles. Below is a list of resources to help you get started or continue on that journey.

Are You A Harry Potter Fan And Trans Ally? How To Be Both When J.K. Rowling Is Transphobic

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J.K. Rowling keeps doubling-down on her transphobic rhetoric, most recently by sharing a Twitter thread referring to hormone therapy and puberty blockers as ‘the new conversion therapy’.

It’s clear that Rowling has never spoken to a single trans person, never mind a transgender child who she claims she wants to protect. Paris Lees invited her to meet trans kids and discuss her views, but so far I’ve not heard that Rowling has taken her up on this kind offer.

Rowling also uses misleading information to make her points; for example, she points to an isolated case of a clinic that is under investigation for not supporting transitioning children properly, and rather than suggesting that greater support is given to trans children, she continues to defend her views that access to hormone therapy should be even more restricted than it already is.

Given that trans people are under the intense threat of violence and even death, you’d think that an author who’s works inspired millions of children to become better adults and be accepting, would be more supportive of this marginalised community.

For those of us who grew up adoring the Harry Potter series, this latest evidence that Rowling is showing herself to be incredibly transphobic is deeply troubling. This must be especially tough for trans and non-binary fans, who must feel dejected and abandoned by an author who, quite possibly, originally inspired them to be their authentic selves.

After all, Harry Potter is all about being yourself and support those who are different. It’s about enjoying the richness that diversity brings, rather than punishing uniqueness and individuality. It’s about supporting those who rebel against injustice.

So, for Rowling to come out with these disgusting statements, which are filled with misinformation and designed to inspire hate, rather than support, all while using her privileged position and past experiences such as her sexual assault to prompt her hateful ideology, it’s understandable that many fans are heartbroken.

As a Harry Potter fan myself, as well as a dedicated ally to the LGBTQ+ community, I’ve wrestled with a lot of mixed feelings over the past few days.

Clearly, I’m not alone in this: many fans have condemned Rowling over her comments. Most notably, two of the biggest Harry Potter fan sites out there, Mugglenet and the Leaky Cauldron, issued a joint statement denouncing Rowling over her hateful comments.

For the Leaky Cauldron, this appears to be a genuine attempt to show solidarity with the trans community; however, the founder of Mugglenet was the one who initially spawned Rowling’s latest comments by tweeting support for her and claiming that, despite everything she has said, she’s not transphobic. As such, it remains to be seen if Mugglenet’s part in the statement was just lip service designed to placate fans.

After much soul searching and consideration, I’ve reached a conclusion; being a Harry Potter fan doesn’t make you transphobic.

It just means that you have to support trans rights even more than you love Harry Potter. Show your support for the trans community loudly and proudly at any time you can to make it clear that you’re an ally despite the views of the author of your favourite kid’s books.

One bookshop is donating to trans children’s charity Mermaids for every sale of a Harry Potter book, so consider buying your copy from there if you ever need to replenish your collection. Alternatively, you could donate to Mermaids yourself, or check out any of these worthy causes that support trans people and help make the world a safer place for them.

You should also constantly rebel against transphobia and the abuse of trans or non binary people wherever you see it. Whether it’s online, or in a conversation, you should show your support for the trans community.

Additionally, you should also try to read more books written by trans authors and watch more shows and films that are created by members of the LGBTQ+ community. Read some books by trans and non binary authors, and watch films created by trans people, not just about them. I’d recommend the Laverne Cox Disclosure as a starting point; it’s a great way to learn more about the representation of trans people in film and popular culture from the point of view of the trans community.

At the end of the day, it’s tough to deal with the revelation that an author who inspired you as a kid is transphobic, especially during these already challenging times. Just keep supporting trans rights, and remember that if Harry Potter has taught us anything, it is that supporting those who are marginalised is a noble cause that you should take great pride in, no matter who stands against you.

And, if you’re really feeling low, just remember that Arthur Weasley would adore you and be impressed with your Muggle skills: you’re using a computer!

2020 Is The Summer Of Crime Fiction

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; the world has gone to shit.

Between Trump, Brexit, murder hornets, the Coronavirus and the shocking way that some world leaders are handling it, police brutality and institutional racism, it’s all going down the pan.

The whole world is dealing with a pandemic and an economic crisis of epic proportions, not to mention additional genocides, political coups and general mismanagement from so called ‘leaders’ which are occurring on a daily basis in countries around the globe. All of that can be wearying for even the most stoic of individuals.

With that in mind, you need to transport yourself to a better world, while still keeping yourself alert and not completely disappearing into a fairy tale.

While books from your childhood can help you to soothe your worries, a good thriller is just what you need to transport you away from the madness and give you something to really think about.

Also, there are loads of great new thrillers out there for you to check out. If you haven’t already read Mark EllisFrank Merlin series, then I’d recommend it. Start from the beginning, or, if you’re already a fan, check out the latest instalment, A Death In Mayfair.

For anyone who loves spy thrillers, then James McCrone has a new one out called Emergency Powers. Without spoiling my upcoming review, it’s an amazing, gripping thriller that I’d thoroughly recommend to anyone who likes spy novels, particularly governmental ones.

If classics are where you’re at, then why not try reading Raymond Chandler’s work, or buy a copy of the Sherlock Holmes short story collection. With new adaptations coming out all the time, including one on Netflix shortly, there has never been a better time than now to start brushing up and enjoying these amazing tales.

Whatever you choose to read, make it something gripping and informative that keeps you on your toes. If you read too much comfort literature, then you might find yourself slipping into complacency, so read a little crime fiction to keep your mind sharp.