JK Rowling addresses fan criticism of Nagini casting in Fantastic Beasts 2

The Harry Potter author has hit back at claims that Nagini's casting was racially insensitive

JK Rowling (Getty) and Claudia Kim (screenshot, Fantastic Beasts 2 trailer)

JK Rowling has addressed claims that casting Claudia Kim, a South Korean actress, as the giant snake Nagini was racially insensitive.

Advertisement

In Fantastic Beasts 2, Kim will play Nagini, a Maledictus whose blood curse will eventually turn her into a snake permanently — before someday meeting Voldemort.

However, Potter fans have taken to social media to criticise the casting of an Asian woman in the role.

In a thread on Twitter, teen author Ellen Oh wrote that the casting choice was a “problem”, before adding:

“I feel like this is the problem when white people want to diversify and don’t actually ask [a] POC [Person of Colour] how to do so. They don’t make the connection between making Nagini an Asian woman who later on is the pet of a white man.

“So I’m going to say it right now. That s*** is racist.”

Another Twitter user said that the Potter universe has a history of adhering to racial stereotypes: “Cho Chang [is] the demure ‘gentle flower’ and #Nagini [is] the sexually attractive ‘dragon lady.'”

Fans also accused Rowling of trying to shoehorn more ethnically diverse characters into to the franchise.

“Listen Joanne, we get it, you didn’t include enough representation when you wrote the books,” Twitter user Jen Moulton wrote on Twitter.

“But suddenly making Nagini into a Korean woman is garbage. Representation as an afterthought for more woke points is not good representation.”

Rowling responded to Moulton on Twitter, stating: “The Naga are snake-like mythical creatures of Indonesian mythology, hence the name ‘Nagini.’ They are sometimes depicted as winged, sometimes as half-human, half-snake.

“Indonesia comprises a few hundred ethnic groups, including Javanese, Chinese and Betawi. Have a lovely day.”

Kim announced the casting herself, but has not addressed the subsequent controversy.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she said: “It will be so interesting to see another side of Nagini. You’ve only seen her as a Horcrux.

“In this, she’s a wonderful and vulnerable woman who wants to live. She wants to stay a human being and I think that’s a wonderful contrast to the character.”


Advertisement

You can watch the final trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald below