How The Cast Of Harry Potter Really Feels About J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is no stranger to controversy. Though the star novelist created one of the most beloved children's book series of all time, she's also been known to use Twitter as a weapon, dropping bombshells about Hogwarts (read: we've pronounced Voldemort wrong this whole time) and spouting oft-criticized opinions. Per a 2018 article in Them, fans have long suspected that the beloved author is transphobic, if only for that time she claimed to have accidentally liked a tweet that called trans women "men in dresses." She chalked it up to a "middle-aged moment." Fans weren't so convinced, and thus began Rowling's "TERF Wars."

In June 2020, the controversy was reignited when Rowling sarcastically criticized an op-ed for using the phrase "people who menstruate" rather than "women." From her perspective, "if sex isn't real, there's no same-sex attraction" and "if sex isn't real, the lived reality of women globally is erased." She was, of course, met with intense backlash, and critics once again labeled her a TERF — or Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist. That led the author to publish a lengthy essay defending her stance, which she linked in a tweet with the caption "TERF Wars." Comments and replies were disabled.

Amid the public outcry, more than a few Harry Potter stars have slammed the author's comments — but this isn't the first time the cast has shared their opinion about the woman who made them household names.

Daniel Radcliffe penned a whole essay criticizing J.K. Rowling's beliefs

In the past, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has been hesitant to speak out against J.K. Rowling. After all, she helped him launch his massive career, although he doesn't always agree with her choices.

Back in 2018, the actor spoke out against Johnny Depp's casting in Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald. According to Entertainment Weekly, Rowling defended the casting decision around the same time Amber Heard's abuse allegations were making the rounds in the tabloids. "It's a very hard thing for me," Radcliffe told EW before alleging that a  Harry Potter cast member Jamie Waylett was fired for much less (though Waylett pleaded guilty, and Depp ferociously denied Heard's claims). 

By 2020, Mr. Potter was much more emboldened when speaking out against Rowling's controversies. After she appeared to mock trans women in her infamous Twitter scandal, Radcliffe went full Gryffindor and penned an essay for the LGBTQ+ activist organization, The Trevor Project. "I realize that certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as in-fighting between J.K. Rowling and myself, but that is really not what this is about," he wrote, adding, "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." In other words: Radcliffe thinks J.K. doesn't know what she's talking about.

Emma Watson thinks J.K. Rowling is 'an inspiration,' but she's not afraid to speak out

A whopping 15 years after Emma Watson first appeared in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as Hermione Granger, it still seemed like she had managed to maintain a great relationship with J.K. Rowling. The pair celebrated each other on International Women's Day in 2016 when Watson's gender equality initiative, HeForShe, got a custom Twitter hashtag emoji. Rowling called the actress an "inspirational woman," and Watson paid it back, tweeting, "RIGHT back at you. [Heart emoji] thanks for everything xx."

Things were less rosy between the pair by 2020. In the flick of wand — or rather, a keyboard — Watson cast a caustic, emotional Sectumsempra curse on the author in the wake of her Twitter comments, which fans have largely labeled transphobic. For those who haven't seen the Harry Potter films, that means Rowling got cut deep. Though the humanitarian didn't name names, it was clear who she was talking about. 

"Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren't who they say they are," Watson tweeted, adding, "I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are."

Rupert Grint stood by his character, even when J.K. Rowling trashed his story line

Like his on-screen BFFs, Rupert Grint also spoke out against J.K. Rowling's controversial Twitter comments. After the author wrote her sprawling essay defending her stance, Grint made it clear whose side he was on. "I firmly stand with the trans community and echo the sentiments expressed by many of my peers. Trans women are women. Trans men are men," he told The Times, adding, "We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgment." 

Grint and Rowling haven't had a public row in the past, though they don't seem to share the same vision for Grint's character Ron Weasley. In a 2014 issue of Wonderland, which was guest-edited by Emma Watson and excerpted in The Times, Rowling admitted that Hermione shouldn't have married Ron, and the pair aren't a "credible couple." Five years later, Grint told the Daily News that he thought the franchise "ended in a really good place." [SPOILER ALERT: The pair end up married with kids.]

"I have heard these theories. I think on paper, it makes probably more sense that she ends up with Harry," Grint admitted, clearly referencing Rowling's past statements. "The Ron and Hermione thing was brewing for a long time, it's that kind of classic thing. ... I like how it all came together. It kind of made sense to me in a way."

Tom Felton trusts J.K. Rowling as the authority on all things 'Potter'

Most Slyerins aren't exactly claiming J.K. Rowling as their own right now, despite whatever VICE's Sorting Hat may have labeled her. Seriously, we get a bad rap. Even Tom Felton, the Hufflepuff underneath Draco Malfoy's platinum swoop, isn't actually a Slytherin himself. Although Pottermore's Sorting Hat once decreed Felton a Hufflepuff, it was Rowling's real-life assessment he seriously disagreed with.   

When the star initially took the quiz in 2015, he told Twitter his heart was "broken" to discover that he was actually a Gryffindor. Rowling fired back, "I could've told you that years ago. I just didn't want to spoil your motivation." So, Rowling basically let Felton live a lie, but he doesn't seem too sour. A year later, Felton told Entertainment Weekly that he trusted Rowling as the authority on the Harry Potter universe.

"Jo has such a wonderful way of making these characters so rich and full anyway," he said, adding, "But I also know that Jo is an endless wealth of knowledge so if I ever have anything that was puzzling me, I know she'd be more than happy for me to ask her."

In truth, Rowling might have spoken too soon about the whole Gryffindor thing. At the time of this writing, Felton is one of the few major cast members who haven't spoken out about the author's Twitter controversy, though he's been known to like Rowling's less controversial tweets in the past.

Katie Leung slammed J.K. Rowling without even mentioning her name

J.K. Rowling has long been criticized for the way she designed Hogwarts' sole East Asian student, Cho Chang. In the midst of the author's Twitter controversy, NBC News reporter Kimberly Yam slammed the writer for giving "the one Chinese character the name equivalent of Ching Chong" and failing to flesh out her story line beyond her dating life — and that's before considering the racial stereotypes that might have gotten Chang sorted into Ravenclaw.

Katie Leung, who embodied the character long before she ever met Rowling in the flesh, has been open about her experience with racism. "It is just ignorance," she told The Telegraph in 2016, adding, "It is something that needs to be addressed." And address it she did — as soon as Cho Chang started trending on the social network in the wake of Rowling's comments. 

As one Twitter user put it, Leung "cancelled" J.K. Rowling "without even talking about her." Basically, she did the most Ravenclaw thing ever and used her research skills as the ultimate comeback. "So, you want my thoughts on Cho Chang?" she tweeted. "Okay, here goes ... (thread)." Leung then proceeded to post links to charities that support black trans lives. She ended the thread "#AsiansForBlackLives." Mic drop.

Robbie Coltrane thinks J.K. Rowling is more than her money

Robbie Coltrane, who embodied the loveable Hagrid for all six of the Harry Potter films, fostered a great friendship with J.K. Rowling throughout the time they worked together. He's also fiercely protective over his friend, and particularly dislikes the way the media talks about her enormous wealth.

The actor went to bat for Rowling in a 2012 interview with The Guardian and revealed she's so much more than the money she makes. Unfortunately, you'd never really know it if you read the tabloids. "They don't even say 'Joanne Rowling, who's done very well with books'. It's always 'multi-millionairess J.K. Rowling,'" he said, adding, "You just think, she's so much more than that, and she deserves to be rich because you think of all the millions of children she's encouraged to read who'd never have opened a book in their lives and how good the books were, and how good the films were. It is shocking. I can't believe how mean-spirited the British are sometimes."

Even if you take Cotrane's point, it's hard to resist pointing out Rowling's phenomenal financial success, since as of this writing, Rowling is reportedly worth nearly twice as much as Queen Elizabeth.

Evanna Lynch doesn't think J.K. Rowling should be cancelled

Evanna Lynch had a great relationship with J.K. Rowling since before she was ever cast as Luna Lovegood in the films. In an interview with ITV, the actress admitted she became pen pals with Rowling while she was in the hospital recovering from an eating disorder. "I wrote to her because I felt like Harry Potter was the only thing that really took my mind off it, and it was such a gift," she said, adding, "She wrote back, and we became friends."

Though the pair have long held a close bond, Lynch was quick to denounce the author following her controversial Twitter comments in June 2020 — but not entirely. According to Buzzfeed News, who captured the posts before they were deleted, Lynch called for critics to treat Rowling with kindness, even though her comments were "hurtful" and "irresponsible."

"I disagree with her opinion that cis women are the most vulnerable minority in this situation, and I think she's on the wrong side of this debate. But that doesn't mean she has completely lost her humanity," Lynch wrote, adding, "I don't believe 'cancel culture' is helpful for any of us." Although Lynch later apologized to transgender fans who no longer felt like Harry Potter was a safe community, she still faced major backlash. One user even accused her of "enabling transphobia," and the actress ultimately deleted her Twitter account.

Eddie Redmayne thinks J.K. Rowling's comments may be 'dangerous'

Eddie Redmayne isn't exactly a Harry Potter star, but he is the face of J.K. Rowling's spin-off Fantastic Beasts films. The Oscar-winner was vocal in his opposition against Rowling's anti-trans tweets. While Newt Scamander may not have an endless briefcase of beasts, he does have an endless briefcase of official — and scathing — statements. The actor exclusively told Variety that he's been trying to "constantly educate" himself about the transgender community, which is an "ongoing process," but he had make his stance clear. In the process, he alleged that the sentiment behind Rowling's comments leads to "violence" and "abuse" within the LGBTQ community.

"I disagree with Jo's comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid," he said, adding, "I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse. They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it's time to let them do so."

Noma Dumezweni just wants J.K. Rowling to 'listen'

Noma Dumezweni, who played the original Hermione Granger in the West End and Broadway productions of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, perhaps had the most scathing comments about her boss. In the wake of J.K. Rowling's Twitter scandal, the 50-something star penned an open letter on Twitter, where she basically told the author to Google it. Okay, it was technically Wikipedia, but same thing.

"Dear Jo," Dumezweni began her tweet before listing the names of transgender activists. "Marsha P. Johnson. Sylvia Rivera. Indya Moore. Angelica Ross. Tamara Adrián. Rebecca Root. Isis King. Laverne Cox. Caitlyn Jenner. Lily and Lana Wachowski. Trace Lysette. Andreja Pejic. Tracey Norman. Janet Mock. APRIL ASHLEY... etc, etc, Wikipedia.."

Dumezweni then revealed that she'd "defer" to the "lived experiences" of her trans friends, rather than their "erasure." "There is magic in listening," she reminded Rowling " ... I know you know all this .. with love, Nx." She punctuated her call-out with #TransRightsAreHumanRights and an image of the transgender flag.

It doesn't get much clearer than that.

Ezra Miller wasn't happy he wasn't consulted about Johnny Depp's casting

Ezra Miller doesn't have a Twitter account to speak out on, but he did vaguely diss J.K. Rowling and the producers of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald over Johnny Depp's casting. Miller, who starred in the flick as Credence Barebone, flatly told Playboy that Rowling didn't consult the film's other stars when she opted to cast Depp while Amber Heard's abuse allegations swirled in the tabloids.

According to Playboy journalist Ryan Gajewski, Miller was "uncharacteristically stymied" by questions about Depp. When asked if he was okay co-starring next to someone with such sprawling abuse allegations, the actor was a little bit tongue tied. If anything, the star erred on the side of diplomacy — but definitely let his salty opinion show through a little bit.

"Look, I bring forth my work to this job, and I do the best that I can," he told the outlet, before adding, "I would say that literally every single aspect of my reality, inclusive of a lot of things that are not fine with me, are fine with me. It's amazing how far the banner of all good can extend."

It kind of sounds like Miller is bothered but not that bothered. Either way, he doesn't seem totally pleased with Rowling.

Bonnie Wright sent a big message with a small statement

We haven't heard a ton from Bonnie Wright, who portrayed Ginny Weasley, in the years since she married Harry Potter. Sadly, the pair just tied the knot on-screen. This isn't Twilight. No one glitters in the sun, and co-stars don't dateboring! What's not so boring is the way Wright threw her support at the transgender community in the wake of J.K. Rowling's reportedly anti-trans comments.

"If Harry Potter was a source of love and belonging for you, that love is infinite and there to take without judgment or question," she tweeted, adding, "Transwomen are Women. I see and love you, Bonnie x."

While it's notably less caustic than the statements released by her co-stars, it's big for two reasons. Wright isn't terribly active on Twitter, and when she is, she's usually posting about something Harry Potter-related or environmental activism. Basically, a statement like this stands out, and the tabloids definitely noticed.

The Phelps brothers are still intimidated by their former boss

To this day, Harry Potter remains the most successful production the Weasley brothers have been a part of. James and Oliver Phelps — the real-life twins behind the characters — have nowhere near the number of credits as their on-screen brother Rupert Grint. Mostly, the Phelps boys' careers consist of roles in shorts and TV movies, but that doesn't mean they're not grateful. The pair have a very high opinion of the woman who helped make them famous.

According to Inside The Magic, who caught the twins at a panel during MegaCon Tampa Bay in 2018, James is still a little intimidated by J.K. Rowling. "She's still — the boss. (I'm) still very shy with any interaction with her. Definitely. She's just an incredible woman. Who I owe, pretty much more than half my life because of her. She's been very, very good with us," he said.

Nonetheless, the brothers have tried to push back on at least one of Rowling's creative decisions. During that same panel, James admitted he was assigned an osprey Patronus after taking a quiz on Pottermore. He preferred a whale or hedgehog, so he asked Rowling if he could switch. She said, "No, you're an osprey." What the boss says, goes.