Fantastic Beasts 2: JK Rowling condemned for 'garbage' casting of South Korean actor as snake Nagini

The film's latest controversy surrounds the casting of Voldemort's pet snake 

Jacob Stolworthy@Jacob_Stol
Friday 12 October 2018 09:07
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - trailer

JK Rowling has defended herself against criticism over the casting of a South Korean actor in the role of Voldemort's snake in the new Fantastic Beasts film.

The latest trailer for the fantasy sequel, titled The Crimes of Grindelwald, revealed that Harry Potter character Nagini would appear in the film – with Claudia Kim playing the human version of Lord Voldemort's faithful serpent.

While Rowling's wizarding series has previously been criticised for its lack of diverse roles, many aren't happy with the decision to cast Kim as a character who goes on to become subservient to the franchise's chief villain.

“Listen Joanne, we get it, you didn’t include enough representation when you wrote the books. But suddenly making Nagini into a Korean woman is garbage," one user wrote on Twitter.

The author-turned-screenwriter replied: “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.”

However, many felt strongly that Rowling's response to the controversy isn't enough, with one writing: “Wooooow just when you thought the idea behind this film couldn’t get any worse they make Nagini an Asian woman. Which means she was a submissive Asian woman for a white male this entire time......a racist trope and fetish.”

One user, however, recalled meeting Kim who seemed happy with the film's choice of representation.

"Is it ok that I’m not mad that Nagini was cast as an Asian?" they wrote. "I was at an event with Claudia Kim yesterday and told her how cool it was to see more Asian representation in this franchise and she later told me that it meant a lot to her that I said that."

This isn't the first time Fantastic Beasts 2 has faced controversy. Earlier this year, many criticised the film's inclusion of Johnny Depp despite domestic violence accusations made against him. Fans hit out against director David Yates' comments that Jude Law's young Dumbledore will not be “explicitly gay” in the film.

In 2015, Rowling was praised for supporting the casting of black actor Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger in West End play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will be released in cinemas on 16 November.

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