Rowling Tweets Ukrainian Ironbelly as Her Support Animal Choice (with Flag)

Three Quick Notes Below the Jump!

(1) Canon References: The Ukrainian Ironbelly is first mentioned in the Scamander textbook under dragons, where it is described as “the largest breed of dragon,” “extremely dangerous,” both because of its crushing size and its “particularly long and vicious” talons (25). One is featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, of course, when Harry, Ron, and Hermione hitch a ride on one to escape the depths of Gringotts bank (519-553). Newt tells Jacob Kowalski on their first adventure that his WWI experience was “I worked mostly with dargons, Ukrainian Ironbellies — Eastern Front” (123). Extra-canonical, the Ironbelly that sits atop the Gringotts bank in Orlando’s Wizarding World is supposed to shoot flames that reach “3,560 degrees Fahrenheit (1,960 degrees Celsius).” Thanks to the ‘Harry Potter Wiki’ Ironbelly page for those references!

(2) The Timing of the Tweet: Rowling is clearly expressing her support of Ukraine in the current war between that country and the forces of the Russian Federation. In addition to posting the Ukrainian flag with her tweet, she has also posted here and here about the war and pinned a tweet to the top of her page offering matching funds for donations that help relocate children in Ukrainian orphanages displaced by the war.

I do not doubt the sincerity of Rowling’s support for the country, but, if one acknowledges that Hermione’s manipulation of media to create the desired effect in Order of the Phoenix is a capability of which the character’s creator is also capable, this reference to underdog Ukraine after a month of tweeting in support of causes that go against the grain of the Zeitgeist, most notably in favor of restricting transgenderism and in favor of unrestricted pre-natal infanticide, was a smart move. The public censors forbid discussion of Ukraine’s governmental oppression and the US using the country as a proxy to destabilize the Russian Federation so waving the Ukraine flag is a safe and practical move on her part.

(3) The Twitter Madame is Back: Rowling took a prolonged vacation from daily tweeting, one she said was deliberate and to protect her own mental health and stability. For better or worse, that sabbatical for recovery is clearly over. Given the timing with respect to the opening of Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore and the preponderance of recent tweets being on the subject of feminism and transgender overreach, i.e., those subjects most likely to inflame the twitterati, it seems fair to speculate that, in addition to her motives of self-protection, that there may have been agreements with Warner Brothers that she would restrain herself pre-film-release. Because, y’know, “box office.”

Rowling is now clearly unchained from the restraints of the bean-counter goblins in Hollywood, if she ever was gagged, much akin to the pathetic Ukrainian Ironbelly beneath Gringotts, and is exercising her freedom of speech with the girth and savvy that the size of her social media platform and personal flare allows. Her serious reader fans, if they are like me, can only hope that her return to twitter obsessive behavior (TOB) will not consume her as it has in the past or diminish her artistry as a writer. Christmas Pig and The Ickabog, two of her finest works, frankly, were finished during her ‘time-off’ and it is to be lamented (in advance!) if her thrashing about blindly and indiscriminately as an unleashed topical-event consumed dragon curtails the necessary focus to create similar works of art.