In an effort to separate itself from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, following criticism of her remarks, Quidditch has officially changed its name.
Now, Rowling may have created the beloved Harry Potter universe, but she hasn’t fallen short of controversy – especially when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community.
So much so, that fans have been pretty vocal about the author online, and it seems those involved in the IRL official Quidditch League want to distance the game from Rowling.
But first lets go back to where it all began. What started out as a mere musing while stuck on a delayed train in London, 1990, led to a young Joanne Rowling conjuring up the magical story of Harry Potter.
Thirty years since it’s creation, over 500 million copies of the book franchise have been sold worldwide in eighty different languages, making it one of the best-selling book series of all time.
The adventures of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger were quick to capture a vast and loyal fanbase, with children and adults alike being instantly captivated by the novel.
So, of course, it didn’t take long for the movie adaptations to come along, bringing Rowling’s words and imagination to life by transforming them into a series of blockbuster movies.
The wizardry and witchcraft mania that was induced by the books was only exaggerated after the release of the on-screen adaptations which, collectively, grossed around $6.5 billion in total.
Despite her popularity, in recent years, many have deemed Rowling to be extremely problematic.
As some may already be aware, the author was accused of being transphobic by dozens of fans back in June 2020, after she posted a string of divisive tweets criticising a headline about “those who menstruate.”
She wrote at the time: “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” referring to a post she shared.
And it only got worse from there, she went on to say: “If s*x isn’t real, there’s no same-s*x attraction. If s*x isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of s*x removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
And many said that she had now ruined Harry Potter for them.
The tweets sparked huge backlash online, and In response to the author’s comments, Harry Potter actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint spoke out, sharing their solidarity with the trans community.
Radcliffe gave a statement through the LGBT s***ide prevention charity the Trevor Project, saying: “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I.”
Although it has been a few years since then, many fans have spoken out against Rowling. And with the recent drop of the Harry Potter video game, Hogwarts Legacy, the authors comments have resurfaced.
In response to the release, trans activists swamped Twitter.
One wrote: “Talking about the Hogwarts Legacy boycott – are there more important things in life? yes. Should you boycott it because it’s a very easy – literally bare minimum – way to show solidarity with trans people? also yes.”
“Not getting Hogwarts Legacy cause JK Rowling is a terf (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) is a very valid reason,” a second said.
A third added: “If you play Hogwarts Legacy you’re openly saying, ‘I’m okay with giving money to a TERF for a cheap nostalgia pop’ and it’s an ugly look.”
And now it seems that Quidditch is having a change of name to distance itself from the author.
J.K. Rowling initially invented the magical sport as a part of the wizarding universe of Harry Potter. The idea of IRL Quidditch quickly gained popularity and spread to American college campuses. It even gave rise to an official Quidditch League.
US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch, the sport’s two primary governing bodies, revealed in December of last year that they were thinking about changing the name of their organisations. The Quidditch name’s ownership by Warner Bros., which also controls the Harry Potter film Property and everything connected to it, is one of the primary causes of this.
However, the League has also expressed discomfort with its connection to J.K. Rowling, and her trans-exclusionary beliefs.
Mary Kimball, US Quidditch executive director, said in a statement: “Our sport has developed a reputation as one of the most progressive sports in the world on gender equality and inclusivity, in part thanks to its gender maximum rule, which stipulates that a team may not have more than four players of the same gender on the field at a time.
“Both organizations feel it is imperative to live up to this reputation in all aspects of their operations and believe this move is a step in that direction.”
They later announced that the sport would now be called Quadball.
“In less than 20 years, our sport has grown from a few dozen college students in rural Vermont to a global phenomenon with thousands of players, semi-pro leagues, and international championships,” Kimball said, adding: “our organizations are committed to continuing to push Quadball forward.”