Wild ‘Secrets of Dumbledore’ Theory: Rowling Puts Pro-Trump Message in Script that Kloves Didn’t See or Remove

This is a wild, which is perhaps to say “wildly irresponsible,” post of rank speculation based on exactly zero actual, y’know, factual evidence and direct testimony. It does include, however, (a) a valuable survey of Rowling’s recent work with respect to the elections and politics shared therein and its conclusions, (b) a pair of contrary allegorical readings of the latest Fantastic Beasts film, Secrets of Dumbledore, and (c) it does factor in both Rowling’s Peter-John Distinction and, the Seventh Crisis, her trials as an opponent of the trend that turns a mental disorder into a civil rights movement.

I have written it up, though, I have to admit, only because I love the idea of Rowling, pushed to the sidelines by Warner Brothers to protect their Wizarding World cash cow, inserting an IED-esque covert message in her “original script” that Kloves couldn’t scrub out and which the Hollywood Screenwriters Guild would find anathema, namely, that there was massive fraud in the 2020 US Presidential election. 

And I have to admit, too, of course, that I have not seen Secrets of Grindelwald yet. This isn’t even my theory and I certainly have little right to comment on its validity or vapidness. ‘Let the reader beware.’

Having noted those several necessary caveats, let me begin. This post has three parts: a review of Rowling’s “obsession” with US Presidential elections and politics (her word), a fixation that includes her acute case of Trump Derangement Syndrome and Obama-philia, a survey of the elections featured and politic notes sounded in her most recent work, Ickabog to Christmas Pig, and then allegorical readings of the election for Supreme Mugwump in Secrets of Dumbledore. I’ll lay all that out for you folks who have seen the film to discuss — after the jump!

(1) Rowling’s Obsession with US Presidential Politics, Trump Derangement Syndrome, and Obama-Philia

In the invaluable conversation with Cruz in the El Pais interview, Rowling shared that she was “obsessed” with the upcoming 2008 US presidential elections:

Q: We live in dark and sad times; you say it in your books, especially in this one. How do you live in these times?

A: I have to believe in the kindness of the people. I think people are in nature, good. But actually, I continue watching American politics very closely. I am obsessed with the US elections. Because it will have profound effects on the rest of the world. The political situation in the US in recent years has badly affected your country as mine.

Q: And if you had a magic wand, what would you do?

A:I want a Democrat in the White House. And it seems a shame to me that Clinton and Obama are rivals because they are both extraordinary people.

Q: This morning, upon entering the hotel I saw that you carried The Times in one hand and on the front there was a photo of Hillary crying.

A: Well, it was one small tear. And she is allowed a tear on occasion. A life in politics is very hard on a woman. If you don’t cry, you’re a bitch. And if you do cry, you’re weak. It’s difficult. On the other hand, it’s acceptable for a man to cry.

She got her wish and a Democrat, Barack Obama, was elected in that cycle. As close as she was with Gordon Brown, often supping with the family at Downing Street during his two years as Prime Minister and her bankrolling the Labour Party during those years to the tune of millions of pounds sterling, she was a complete and shameless fan-girl with the Obamas. She starred in the 2010 Easter Egg hunt on the White House lawn and had “private dinner” with the First FamilyCasual Vacancy’s principled political activist Barry Fairbrother, who the wife of a doctor in the story worries that she was in love with, might be an image of Gordon Brown, who came from a much less privileged background than Obama, but the name certainly points to the American president Mrs Murray, the wife of a doctor, so admires.

Trump, on the other hand, is Rowling’s principal public means of acting out all her unresolved Oedipal issues. She is, frankly, all but unhinged when it comes to the Orange Man. The Daily Wire last week reviewed her history of Trump Derangement Syndrome in their feature article, From Leftist Icon To Pariah: The Journey Of J.K. Rowling:

[Post Potter, Rowling] became well known for her Leftist views, donated millions to Britain’s Labour Party and spoke regularly about the role that government should play in expanding welfare and other traditionally liberal policies. She became vocal about being a self-proclaimed feminist, LGBT advocate, and regularly spoke out about “systemic racism”.

You can probably guess how she feels about Trump. She has referred to him as a fascist, a bigot, a giant orange egg, even as the main antagonist of her book series, Voldemort himself (or as the characters refer to him,­ he who’s name shall not be spoken). Conversely, she praised Hillary Clinton during the election as “a highly intelligent, experienced woman” and spent the entirety of Trump’s presidency decrying his every move, wishing for a “Clinton” or “Obama” in the White House.

It might be objected that Rowling just hates all conservative leaders — Keith Olberman, American Rita Skeeter, claimed that she told him the Hallows Ministry of Magic was an intentional allegorical depiction of the Bush-Major governments — and that she has publicly defended Trump’s rights of free speech. That last point, however, rather defeats the argument it tries to make; Rowling defends Trump’s rights to free speech because he was the most loathsome person in the public square she could invoke to demonstrate that free speech must be allowed everyone. She did not feel strongly enough about free speech to decry Trump’s being deplatformed from Twitter in January 2021.

(2) Elections and Politics in The Ickabog, Troubled Blood, and The Christmas Pig

  • The Ickabog

Rowling’s long-awaited political fairy-tale, The Ickabog, supposedly was written years before its online publication in 2020 and only pulled from a drawer to succor families with children caught in the hysteria-driven UK lockdowns in the summer of that year. I have suggested here previously that it is feckless to read Rowling’s roll-out of a free story in 2020 apart from her need to reclaim her Philanthropist brand from the transphobe smears of the hyper-partisan twitterati. The free story, in brief, helped her regain her audience after the libelous tsunami washed over her in time for the publication of Troubled Blood.

I think it equally naive to think it was made available when it was and how it was without reference to the 2020 US Presidential elections. I doubt anything that happened in 2020 — to include Covid pandemania and the BLM rioting in American cities — will be remembered by historians as anything but stage-setting for the election drama in November.

Rowling, as we have seen, was a hyperventilating despiser of Donald Trump. Having sidelined herself from her twitter platform in the wake of her ‘cancellation’ by the cognoscenti there, she decided to publish this story about a feckless, narcissistic, privileged, clueless jerk of a king, the pawn of the puppeteers who pull his strings and flatter his out-sized ego, who is overthrown from his fairy tale throne and imprisoned for his crimes.

Maybe, as she claims, this tale was pulled from a drawer or found in the attic and she just dusted it off before sharing it with the poor children living in countries that in 2020 regressed to Covid-1984. What isn’t debatable is that she gave the fairy-tale king with all of Trump’s character failings and named him ‘Fred.’ For those who don’t know The Donald’s personal history, ‘Fred’ is the name of the ex-President’s father, the man who made the Trump fortune, and DJT’s older brother, whose death from alcoholism is the reason he is teetotaler. (Trump’s middle name is ‘John’ which is something else he has in common with Rowling’s father Peter.)

In case you missed my drift here, I am suggesting (1) that it is a legitimate allegorical interpretation of The Ickabog to say that King Fred is a story cipher for President Trump and (2) it was published on the internet globally in the spring and summer of 2020 as Rowling’s campaign contribution to the American Democratic Party and its attempt to deny Trump’s re-election. The hard copy of the book was not published until 10 November 2020, the week after the election, but anyone who wanted to read it in the US had probably read it in five-shots-a-week for seven weeks earlier that year.

If that seems both remarkably Machiavellian and to credit Rowling with political savvy not fitting the profile of a matronly middle-aged children’s book writer, I suggest (once again) that you read Hermione’s use of Rita Skeeter in Order of the Phoenix and that your misogynist leanings have been manipulated by The Presence, the master of narrative misdirection using reader prejudices. Think of how she made all the trans-phobe-evidence-seeking readers of Troubled Blood think that Creed was the killer because he cross-dressed. Same thing here — only to Rowling-the-Trump-Hater the stakes were much higher.

  • The Christmas Pig

We know from Nick Jeffery’s research that the greater part of The Christmas Pig was written during the Potter years and that she began revamping it for publication in early 2021 after completing Troubled Blood. Why then? The key events of 2021’s first months, of course, were the fight between those wanting Trump out of office and those who insisted that the election had been stolen by egregious fraud in swing states, a ‘battle’ that culminated in the protests in Washington, D.C., on 6 January 2021. Rowling’s Christmas story was announced in April and published in October of that year.

The two bad guys in the Land of the Lost are fairly obvious transparencies for President Trump’s post election behaviors if your mind is cued to political allegory. The most evident piece is that the Satanic heart-less ‘self-made’ robot despot who terrorizes the hellish landscape of this underworld is named ‘The Loser.’ Rowling’s opinion about Trump’s claims and the host of evidence that the Democrats stole the 2020 election is there in bold type; he didn’t just lose, DJT is The Loser as such, a non-being whose only animate substance is the life he sucks from the helpless, under trodden Surplus-Deplorables that are his pathetic prisoners.

More subtly but with much greater detail, Trump is also depicted in Pig’s King Power, the madman-egotist ruling The City of the Missed. The allegorical vote-taking in Power’s Palace staged by his chief stooge Ambition (again, like Ickabog’s Spittleworth, the real power behind the buffoon on the throne) is in large part psychomachia; all the players represent faculties of soul and mind who must decide whether to pursue Hallows or Horcruxes, I mean, ego advantage or selfless love. It also fits perfectly, however, with the Democratic Party’s assertions about the 2020 election as well.

From their view, the Republicans did everything possible to suppress that vote. Their demands that ballot drop-boxes conform to laws passed by state legislatures were just racist dog-whistles; what the GOP was really after was not letting poor people and racial minorities who were concerned about Covid have access to the vote. Ambition in Christmas Pig locks Happiness in her room, has Power tell the Principles not to come to the vote, and sends the Loss Adjusters out in search of Hope to keep her away. None of the Power Coalition’s voter suppression tactics work and Jack and CP win a narrow victory.

But Power refuses to accept the loss! Just like The Loser, whom we are told repeatedly breaks the rules of his own governance, King Power in a rage denies the outcome of the vote and orders the weapons at his command (all the Loss Adjusters are instruments of violence in Christmas Pig except the benevolent Specs in Disposable) to seize Jack and CP for transportation to The Loser. Only Hope and Happiness intervene to save the boy and his toy.

That, quite frankly, is a brilliant depiction in story of the 6 January protests at the Capitol as presented in the UK by The Guardian, Rowling’s go-to source for news, a “center-left” organ that, without exception in my experience, mouths the talking-points of the leftist media regime in the United States. That ‘Hope’ is Jack’s savior in this political battle again points to Rowling’s Obama-philia, her “magical negro.” Rowling once again shows her Trump Derangement Syndrome in her embedded story.

  • Troubled Blood

In between Ickabog and Christmas Pig, though, we have Troubled Blood. Are there anti-Trump stick-figures and plot points hidden just out of sight in the fifth Cormoran Strike novel?

If there are, I don’t see them. What strikes me (sic) about the politics of Cormoran Strike is that the novels seem to be shifting from the lead protagonist’s indifference to war protests and Tory-Labour divides (finding all politicians in essence despicable?) in the early going to a relatively active animus against those who showboat their political identities but won’t do the hard work to affect significant change.

Strike’s morning after reflections on the college students he met at Blood’s Valentine’s Day Dinner Party from Hell and about his own mother Leda’s reflex anti-bourgeoisie posturing are signature in this regard. When he tells Robin in Skegness that folks — he’s talking about Polsworth and like separatists in Cornwall and Scotland, but also by extension Brexiteers — who think things cannot get worse are wrong much more often than they are right, he is echoing the founding principle of Burkean conservatism and the historical consensus about socialist and communist revolutions. The Agency’s improved relations with the Metropolitan Police from Lethal White forward may be read as a reflection of the trend towards respect for the status quo and against the self-important “resistance” of the privileged, whose social media status flags are displayed at no cost and no risk of loss or blowback.

The Strike novels almost certainly were planned in great detail before the series’ first book was written; it’s impossible for the seven-story arc, the parallel series echoing, and the involved ring composition of the set to be things she is adding in as she “goes along.” The intricacy of the artistry demands the presence of an omniscient designer, not a “pantser.” I suspect, then, that Strike’s character arc and transformation, especially his movement from “Team Reality” and Champion of the Empiricist Enlightenment to an awareness of life’s immaterial dimensions, but also his politics, have all been planned well before the advent of Trump in 2016 and his failed bid for re-election in 2020.

Let me know, though, if you see anything like Kings Fred and Power in Cormoran Strike’s collection of “dickheads”!

(3) Allegorical Readings of the Supreme Mugwump Election in Secrets of Dumbledore

  • The First Reading: Secrets of Dumbledore Grindelwald and 2020 Election Trump

My first thought after reading the Wikipedia page for Secrets of Dumbledore and quite a few reviews that were happy to discuss spoiling plot points was “Here we go again!”

  • The conflict of the story turns on an election.
  • The bad guy — just after being cleared of wrong-doing by a corrupt legislative body — runs for the highest office possible.
  • He and his henchman do everything possible, which is to say “illegal” and “murderous” to fix the election.
  • The super-diverse Rainbow Coalition in opposition have to save the BIPOC candidate from assassination while doing everything possible to reveal to the voters that the Prince of Darkness is stealing the election by signaling his greater worthiness via an occult October surprise.
  • Mirabile dictu, they succeed by the skin of their teeth and the Bad Guy loses.
  • He escapes to fight another day, however, in a battle yet to come between Phoenix and Dragon, light and darkness.

Let me spell out the Trump 2020 transparencies at the risk of stating the obvious.

Secrets of Dumbledore is the story of Grindelwald’s attempt to be elected Supreme Mugwump after being cleared by the International Confederation of Wizards tribunal in Germany. Trump ran for re-election in 2020 after having been impeached by the House and acquitted by the Senate.

Grindlewald’s henchman kill a qilin and capture its fawn because this magical creature’s power of spiritual discernment, to perceive a person’s purity of heart, is the key to Mugwump election. This is the Chinese equivalent, I have to think, of killing a unicorn in western iconographical understanding. Trump and his GOP lackeys, from The Guardian view, wanted in 2020 to stop mail-in voting in order to force people into crowded polling places during a pandemic to vote, simultaneously suppressing voter turnout and murdering people heartlessly for political advantage.

The principal opponent to Grindelwald is the Brazilian candidate, Vicência Santos, a woman of color and great virtue (forgive me for reading Santos as “sanctos”). She must be taken out for him to win and the good guys rally to protect her, an American black woman leading this effort. Joe Biden, akin to Dumbledore in being basement bound and unable to confront King Power, has as his running mate Kamala Harris, who, if you slept through the 2020 election cycle, was chosen because she is a black woman. All criticisms of her were dismissed by the left as by definition the attempts of racists to assassinate her character.

Grindelwald’s ace in the hole is the dead qilin he can re-animate as something of an Inferi to nod to him like a Hippogriff. This revelation of his greater virtue that arrives ex machina right at the moment of the vote-taking will seal the deal of his election. Trump’s supporters just before the election found a laptop supposedly left by Joe Biden’s son Hunter in a computer repair shop. The emails, pictures, and documents on this laptop revealed the Biden family, to include the “Big Guy,” Papa Joe, as grifters who traded influence on American decision making to the Ukrainian and Chinese oligarchs in exchange for cold cash. If this were true or even if the story became known, Trump would almost certainly be elected as the better man in comparison with the traitorous Biden.

Grindelwald’s plan, though, is exposed at the last possible minute and a real qilin nods to Dumbledore and Santos. Crisis averted! The Righteous triumph! The Biden Laptop story as confirmed and written up by The New York Post was dismissed by the Intelligence Agency-Media cabal as “Russian disinformation” and twitter and facebook successfully blocked all posting of the story and suspended the New York Post’s access to its social media platform.

Grindelwald becomes unhinged at Dumbledore’s success in defeating him and exposing his crimes. He and his minions resort to violence but are defeated the forces of order and goodness. Trump, in parallel, also loses his mind according to The Guardian, Washington Post, New York Times narrative, and orders that his followers attack the Capitol and prevent the Electoral College votes from being tallied. The mob moves at his command and riots in the Capitol building, murdering a Capitol policeman in the process. (If you’re interested in how this leftist mythology has dissolved and unwound in the past year, a collection of articles can be found here.) The good guys eventually win out, but it is a close thing.

The real victory? Grindelwald’s exposure at the election of who he really is means he will never again be able to claim that he is misunderstood or viciously misrepresented. Every witch and wizard present was witness to his perfidy and violence. The spell is broken. Likewise, Rowling hopes, the madness of 6 January 2021 means that Trump, though way out there on the political periphery and political populist far side, will never be able to return to power. His hypnotic grasp on the minds of American outliers and Surplus has been thrown off at last!

  • The Second Allegorical Reading: Grindelwald is Biden — and the Election was Stolen!

While I was laughing to myself about Rowling’s “obsession” with Trump and American electoral politics, an old friend on the West Coast was actually watching the film and coming to exactly the opposite conclusions of my TDS allegorical reading. He wrote:

I have just emerged from “Fantastic Beasts 3: Secrets of Dumbledore”. The initial scene (and several subsequent) focused heavily on Dumbledore’s titular “secret”/forbidden love. As the first half-hour plodded along, I felt my interest progressively waning, especially since I realized I had no liking for any of the characters and dim recollection of plot connections from the 4-year-old previous film (not aided by recasting of Dumbledore’s love/rival, albeit an improvement).

It got to the point where I atypically found myself checking email on my night-mode phone, before seeking guidance from Rotten Tomatoes’ trusty audience reviews. These were surprisingly positive, so I thought I’d give the film another shot.

Slowly I found myself warming to the film, actually becoming quite jazzed by the ending, as Dumbledore chose to put aside his forbidden love in favor of virtuous celibacy. More interestingly, the ending could be read as an allegory of the 2019-20 election steal, complete with a false-flag 1/6 insurrection in the halls of power leading to a call for war against innocent “terrorists” and fraudulent deplatforming of truth-telling “misinformers”.

In this happy retelling, the malefactors are exposed by contrite insider whistleblowers who experienced metanoia after being compassionately convinced “you have been lied to”, followed by a collective realization that when election fraud is found, a do-over election is required.

I have no idea how many of these providential plot points were intended or inserted by Rowling post 2019 as real-life allusions to the U.S. election fraud and aftermath, but these “secrets” seem to have been missed by most all reviewers, fortunately escaping notice from censorious watchful dragons.

I certainly missed all that and in case you did, too, here are the correspondences he notes between the election in Secrets and how it contains in addition to a representation of a fraudulent vote the wish-fulfillment fantasy of how the 2020 election should have turned out.

The ending could be read as an allegory of the 2019-20 election steal

In this reading, it is Biden/Harris and the media cabal who steal the election and outsider Trump who must reveal the ‘Crimes of Grindelwald’ and demand a recount or election do-over.

Complete with a false-flag 1/6 insurrection in the halls of power leading to a call for war against innocent “terrorists” and fraudulent deplatforming of truth-telling “misinformers”

I think this is in reference to the International Confederation of Wizards decision to acquit Grindelwald which led to Theseus’ unjust and extra-judicial imprisonment and Dumbledore’s Army being made into outcastes who must hide from the law because of their “terrorist” status. [Correction: my friend tells me it is, per Wikipedia, that “Lally and Jacob thwart the assassination attempt; however, Jacob is subsequently framed for attempting to kill Grindelwald, and he and Lally barely escape, giving Grindelwald an incentive to turn the Wizarding world against the Muggle world.”]
The real world parallel is of course Trump’s being banned from twitter and facebook along with other right-wing voices, but also the FBI and DOJ hunt for conservatives in the US as “domestic terrorists,” to include parents who speak up at School Board meetings. The elites have their excuse to beat down on Trump voters.

In this happy retelling, the malefactors are exposed by contrite insider whistleblowers who experienced metanoia after being compassionately convinced “you have been lied to”, followed by a collective realization that when election fraud is found, a do-over election is required.

There is no real world equivalent here, but according to this reading, Secrets is a “happy retelling” in which Democratic insiders come forward a la Queenie Goldstein and Aurelius Dumbledore to reveal the fraud that was committed in the 2020 election process in parallel with the qilin revelation. The fraud is exposed, the election is redone, and the good guys triumph! Trump-Dumbledore, believed by all to be a Nazi madman, is revealed to be the injured party and man of virtue.

I immediately wrote my friend with The Ickabog and Christmas Pig evidence above as well as the more obvious reading of Secrets that lined up with Rowling’s previous work as well as her proven TDS. He responded thus:

(1) The “terrorists” targeted by the FB3 powermongers are innocent domestic good guys… when did Trump ever do that, which is now everyday Biden policy? (But I agree the reverse could be believed by those suffering Trump Derangement Syndrome.)

(2) I forgot to mention that one of the main FB3 story threads is an innocent “domestic opponent” good guy unjustly defamed and tossed indefinitely into a covert solitary-confinement hell-hole without due process or any legal recourse, until liberated via an extended descent and “harrowing-of-hell” accomplished alone by the principal hero.

(3) Since Biden “won”, his puppeteers claimed “no evidence of fraud”, whereas FB3 is all about a very real election fraud plot being planned, accomplished, defended by propaganda and gaslighting and destruction of evidence, fought, exposed, and rectified. That’s very different from a Hunter Biden “October Surprise” story that was quickly suppressed by the establishment despite being eventually acknowledged by NYTimes as legit (but I suppose this could be construed by TDS sufferers as a fraud plot that was heroically nipped in the bud).

(4) It’s curious that Buffy-creator Joss Whedon and (now you tell me) Rowling were both rabid TDS cranks, but since then both have been roundly cancelled and defamed by their former progressive worshippers, so I wonder if that experience could have changed some of their other opinions… perhaps in ways that could lead to tweaking her FB3 script to include lines like “you have been lied to” and “a fraudulent election requires a do-over”?

As I said, “not my theory.” Why do I love it, though I think that the first allegorical reading of Secrets as another anti-Trump 2020 parable is far more likely?

I love it because it opens the door to the possibility that Rowling is “growing up” as she claims, somewhat in parallel with Cormoran Strike’s incipient turn from Enlightenment rationalism to ‘spiritual-not-religious.’

In this view, Rowling is plenty pissed about the actors, actresses, producers, and Hollywood establishment all throwing her under the Transgender Rights Bus (Hagrid and Professor Sprout being the heroic exceptions). They agree to part company except that Rowling is still on the hook for “original screenplays” they insist on having all the right to cut and switch out and reform as long as it ends where she insists each episode has to end for the series to work. She’ll make a brief appearance at premieres et cetera, but no interviews, no tweeting of publicity, nada to help the Beasts franchise.

How can Rowling stick it to all these players covertly? She cannot insert a feminist subplot in which men posing as women go into bathrooms to sexually harass women or one in which post pubescent transgender ‘women’ wreak havoc against female rugby players on the pitch. Everyone is looking for that and no one would agree to act in such a movie or act out her beliefs on film.

If she’s clever, though, — and does anyone not think this author is diabolically and wonderfully clever, a good three moves ahead of her opponents? — she can write a story that seems to be an “espionage thriller” genre set piece but which is really, according to my friend at least, about the fraudulent American election, the Gestapo state that the progressive unia of intelligence agencies and the media are forging in conjunction with Silicon Valley billionaires, and, this is the killer, how Trump was robbed and deserved better. It’s subtle enough that Kloves doesn’t see it (and couldn’t scrub it out if he had) and no way that the Davids or the actors and actresses understand it. They’re just more or less talented parrots and sock-puppets for the script.

Is this likely? Not at all.

Is it a fun idea of Rowling having a lot of laughs at Hollywood’s expense, something that critics will only pick up years from now, sure as they are (and I am) that she is still taking up a bed on the Trump Derangement Syndrome Hospital Ward in Edinburgh? Absolutely.

I may revisit this speculation after I actually, y’know, see the movie, but for now I offer it for your reflection, comment, and correction. I especially hope you’ll share your thoughts about the allegorical readings of Ickabog, Christmas Pig, and Troubled Blood before telling me how silly-brilliant either of the interpretations above of Secrets of Dumbledore are. Have at it!


  1. Mr. Granger,

    As you say, “Likely? Not at all”.

    In fact, reading this whole thing just reminded me of the title from a collection of essays written long ago by George Orwell. I’ll probably always remember that collection, because of the way it was titled. The title read: “All Art is Propaganda”. I went on with life, and yet that title turned out to be on of those chance occurrences that tend to get stuck in the mental flypaper of memory. I would flash back to it at odd moments, until one day I realized something important. If Orwell’s dictum is correct, then art is impossible.

    I’m not saying now that none of the great works of Art don’t have their themes. I merely wish to emphasize something that I think has to be kept in mind, even when reading works like “Great Expectations”, or “Huck Finn”. Those may be books with clear morals in them. However, the thing to remember is that what makes them work so well is precisely the fact each writer is working from a pure and simple MORAL and not an IDEOLOGICAL basis. Dickens was writing about the shared delusions of rich and poor men, while Twain was tackling racism and slavery. It’s a simple idea that each has to work with, and to their credit, each sees their duty clear. The story itself is the moral, therefore, it is precisely their job to transcribe it, and then get out of its way and let the book be the boss.

    This is a creative stance at glaring opposites with Orwell’s commitment to art as an expression of ideology. Twain and Dickens have a lot more in common, from this critical lens, with Romantics like Coleridge, or Ancient Humanists like Cicero, or Boethius. In that sense, if a work like “Huck” or “Expectations” can be said to have a philosophy, then one of the refreshing things about them is their uncanny knack for knowing when to stop and the level of commonsense, and then compound a good choice by going no farther.

    If I may be permitted a bout of heresy against the words of St. George (cue the shade of Nabokov rubbing his hands together, grinning like the Cheshire cat, and thinking: “Yes, yes, GO ON!) my problem with his dictum is that I’ve seen what happens when it gets put into practice. The net result is that I’ve seen a long line of once well loved secondary worlds get put to the torch, and perhaps, thanks to Hollywood executive meddling, the Wizard World may have to be added to that list. Conclusion: if this is the best anyone is able to do with ideology, then the art of storytelling proper must, by its very nature, be something more and else than whatever it is Orwell wants it to be.

    (Cue Nabokov’s shade joining the Hogwarts Headless Hunt in smug triumph, and demanding everyone get Bacchanalian levels of drunk).

    This, then is what I mean when I say that art can’t be propaganda. Writers like Rowling and Nabokov may have messages in their stories, yet VN learned early never to tether them to any kind of simplified “Ist” manifesto. This is also a lesson that Rowling herself appears to have been growing into with the passage of years. If all art were truly ideology, then it a wonder we even have literary masterpieces in the first place.

  2. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    I can’t speak to allegorical readings of Ickabog, Christmas Pig, and Troubled Blood, but your saying “Grindelwald’s exposure at the election of who he really is” made me think of the 1983 movie of Stephen King’s Dead Zone. Could it have contributed to her film-plotting if “The First Reading” is correct? Do we know if she had any opinions concerning Donald Trump back in the day when he was hobnobbing with the Clintons? Or, for that matter, about the – might one say, reported rôle of Chicago ‘inferi’ – in the 1960 election?

  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    “Growing up” and ‘conversion’/”metanoia” (as your old friend says): in how far might we say that JKR is attentive to (the possibility of) ‘conversion’ (and/or, if we bring the Cave in Plato’s Republic (518d) in, ‘periagoge’) – notably, though far from exclusively, where Albus Dumbledore is concerned?

    In this context, what might we await in terms of the as-yet-unexplicated behavior of Queenie – assuming we get FB 4 & 5 in cinematic, published “Screenplay”, and/or novelistic form(s)? Meanwhile, might Queenie, among others things, be an ‘intra-secondary-world’ analogue of the author – and, for that matter, Queenie and Jacob analogues of Mrs. and Dr. Murray? If they were, would that fit better with ‘The Second Reading’? Or, equally well (in some senses) with either Reading?

    And, with whom(-else) might Vicência Santos be analogous, variously, in both readings? E.g., in the First, with such alarming and saddening people as Eva Peron, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and Dilma Rousseff? But with whom in the Second? Berta Soler? Or an amalgam of someone like Berta Soler and state executives such as Jair Messias Bolsonaro and Ronald Dion DeSantis?

    With respect to the idea of Donald Trump as “Rowling’s principal public means of acting out all her unresolved Oedipal issues” – and/or ‘Electral’ issues (pun on ‘electoral’ included)? – we know what prominence JKR has given St.Mungo (among other things, presumably as part of her embrace of matters Scottish), but, do we know anything of her thoughts on St. Donald and his daughters, the Holy Nine Virgins?

  4. I guess it would be awesomely impolite to say that I didn’t find any improvement in recasting Grindelwald.

    I also find that the defeat of Grindelwald in the movie was more or less result of the recast.

    The ending of the story that strikes as true is a sort of a tragedy janre, where evil transcends the good. With original Grindelwald it would have looked authentic, with newly recast one it would be problematic.

    The previous one was fun enough for Quini depart James and to stay with him, whilst the new one is sorta openly gay(?) begs the question, what to do with the claim of glorious blood purity and avowed hate of all things, but prescribed as pure?

    Could it be Joanne K. Rowling conceals yet another form of obscurial, this time man’s love to each other in kinship, rather than what now being heralded as our New Age “gay marriage”? Mrs. Rowling already has enough trouble with surreptitious state players, employed to bully people in ideology rat-hole to walk in ways, hardly different from walk of Mr. Scamander and manticores in search of his brother in one of the private prisons.

    In all recasting of Grindelwald deprived plot, arguably, of central figure of the story. In this last story he seems to have lost all his hard earned, if questionable, appeal. Including his successful promotion of massive life taking as acceptable means to gain upper hand over competing party, including precipitous loss of life of his own followers. It wasn’t personal sorcery or exceptional abilities at magic, that were his stepping stones to success, but the yearning of commoner to have firm control of destiny, even if it meant to perish. So, all there was left is for time to allow his followers, who were arguably majority of wizards, to percolate through ranks and places, to give him, reasonably villainous and yet irresistibly illustrious official hold of low hanging fruit, the top political position in wizard world.

    Instead we get a pale shadow of the past grandmaster of movement, barely able to muster a small posse of petulant, rife with disabilities private army, incapable of posing better than substitute waters at various functions and street girls, and rely in his aspirations on street crowds of bullies. Rendering himself a target of choice for smaller, but better armed, and having outstanding healthcare insurance ( which begs questions of connection between Hogwarts and by means of extension government funding ), private army of Mr. Dumbledore, the commander in chief. Evidently, Mr. Dumbledore’s posse of equal opportunity killers have compassionate support of administrative staff in charge of creating script and filming, as their acts of killing parlayed to be in defense of others carries no ill connotation and brief encasing of wizard into a stone wall is flashed with expected bought of polite, limited in duration and most satisfying ( in minds of movie review committee ) chuckles.

    This would have being a hard sell with somewhat affable, capable and motivated movement of original Grindelwald. Which may have lacked control of administrative side of cameras and script line making, but on the balance of things had mass presence, loyalty and fighting spirit.

    In all, politics never do well in art. In this case politics have intervened and toyed around with everything, from cast of major personage to script to how the audience should react to one or another scene. Such a deep penetration of ideology based censorship into art making is nothing new, but in case of this particular story invites a spectrum of grin, possibly smile, and a lines of jokes off color of choice, that cannot be said aloud, but everyone hears. No legilimenties needed 🙂

  5. Your friend sounds like a real loon.

  6. Hermionefan says

    So, your friend thinks Rowling is pro Trump?

    Considering that she has “come out” as pro women (not that it was necessary, she made her opinion on males in women’s spaces very clear in Prisoner of Azkaban, with Gryffindor girl dorm, gendernonsense terrorists just cannot read), that sounds veeery unlikely.

    She’d never compare a man who, among many, many other faults, openly admits to sexually harassing women, to Dumbledore. Even IF she hoped for Trump to win, it would be because he might be considered the lesser evil. No more than that.
    Being chosen for his pure heart? I don’t think so.

    Personally, I thought the fake Quilin a fitting metaphor for the fakeness of trans identified men who want to speak as authorities on women’s rights, but I doubt that was intended. Grindelwald is just an evil guy, doing the things evil men are wont to do. It is no metaphor for one thing in particular.
    You could probably find parallels to how Hitler got into power, too. (And those might even be intended, with the whole thing being set in Germany and Gellert being defeated in 1945)

    Sure, it seems like Rowling predicted transnonsense and alleged fans turning on her in the original HP series where everyone suddenly hates Harry for the most idiotic reasons, several times, even (though parallels are clearest the last time, with pink Umbridge silencing Harry, and only the Quibbler daring to state the truth) … but I don’t believe in magic, so I find it more plausible that she just knows how human stupidity works.

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