JK Rowling, the now-infamous author of the Harry Potter series, has been rightfully condemned for her stances on trans people and gender identity. But what are we supposed to do with her still-popular and influential books and the deep attachments we have to them? It would be easy to condemn Harry Potter and all its fans as neoliberal trash, but, as Lyta and her guests discuss, that’s a reductive framing that doesn’t address the complex ways that readers, not just authors, define literary works and their meaning.

In the latest installment of Art for the End Times, Lyta speaks with Jessie Earl and Aja Romano about fandom, the deep problems with the Harry Potter franchise, and how we handle “The Death of the Author” in a social media era when the author is very much alive and spouting bigoted opinions. Jessie Earl is a writer, editor, producer, and host of the popular YouTube channel Jessie Gender, where she talks about “the nuance in the nerdy,” focusing on “issues facing the LGBTQ community, transgender specific community, women, nonbinary and autistic folks as well as other social and political issues through and within geek topics, with an eye to the most vulnerable.” Aja Romano is a culture staff writer for Vox reporting on internet culture. For Vox, Romano wrote a widely shared piece titled “Harry Potter and the Author Who Failed Us.”

Pre-Production/Studio/Post-Production: Dwayne Gladden


The transcript of this podcast will be made available as soon as possible.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Lyta Gold is a freelance writer and editor. She is also the host of the TRNN podcast Art for the End Times. Follow her at @lyta_gold.