Fans call JK Rowling out for ‘cartoonishly stereotypical’ character names

Fans call JK Rowling out for ‘cartoonishly stereotypical’ character names

With the Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts reunion special sparking renewed interest in the series, some fans have voiced concerns about the names of several minor characters.

Character names such as Seamus Finnegan, Cho Chang, and Fleur Delacour have been highlighted as being “cartoonishly stereotypical”, with people pointing out that ‘Cho’ and ‘Chang’ are both surnames. Twitter user Ben Mahtin wrote, “Every single non-white non-British character has a cartoonishly stereotypical name - Cho Chang, Seamus Finnigan, Viktor Krum, Fleur Delacour”.

In addition, users found a 2014 tweet from Rowling where she responded to a fan enquiry about whether there were any Jewish wizards at Hogwarts by naming a character not seen in either the books or the movies, Anthony Goldstein.

Others pointed out other stereotypical names, including Kingsley Shacklebolt, as well as the fact that Finnegan, one of the few Irish characters in the series, has a habit of blowing things up.

Of Cho Chang’s name, YouTuber Freddie Wong tweeted, “Two popular last names from two DIFFERENT KINDS of Asians!? Frankly, this was the first red flag we should’ve SEEN IT”.

Actress Katie Leung, who played Chang in the movies, spoke to the Chinese Chippy Girl podcast about her experience as Cho. Not only did she experience racist abuse from fans, but she was told by publicists not to talk about it. “I remember them saying to me, ‘Oh, look, Katie, we haven’t seen these, these websites that people are talking about.

“And, you know, if you get asked that, just say it’s not true, say it’s not happening.’ And I just nodded my head. I was like, ‘OK, OK,’ even though I had seen it myself with my own eyes. I was like, ‘OK, yeah, I’ll just say everything’s great.

“I was like, Googling myself at one point and I was on this website, which was kind of dedicated to the Harry Potter fandom, and I remember reading all the comments. It was a lot of racist s***,”

Image: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic