The final trailer for the new Fantastic Beasts movie, Fantastic Beasts 2 has dropped and there is so much happening that we cannot contain our excitement. The first installment came out in November 2016 and it left us all asking for more. The movie explored the wizard community of America and the timeline was 70 years before the events of the Harry Potter series. ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’ follows Newt Scamander in some more of his adventures alongside the most loved headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore!
Probably the most jaw-dropping moment of the trailer was the utterance of a name that made us all go WHAT!!? A theory had been making the rounds on the internet since a long time and it was proved right in the trailer itself when actor Claudia Kim’s character was revealed. Kim really is playing the character of Nagini and we cannot keep calm. This is a backstory we never asked for but are happy to receive. So Voldemort’s favorite pet snake was actually a woman with a blood curse.
So what exactly is a maledictus you ask? Well, a maledictus is another type of shape-shifter but is different from Werewolves or animagi. Maledictus were women who were cursed that made them shape-shift into an animal and then their daughters carried the curse as well and eventually turned into an animal forever.
As we all know the internet is a savage place where no one is spared easily and celebrities are easy targets. JK Rowling has faced backlash on many occasions for various reasons but this time people are calling her out for an act of racism. As soon as the final trailer dropped and we got to know the character that actor Claudia Kim is playing, the internet went crazy. Soon people started tweeting their shock and some also expressed their disappointment.
Nagini as a character in the Potter series was important as she was a Horcrux but nobody expected her to be a woman trapped in a snake’s body. Also, the snake-woman myth is a part of multiple East Asian and South East Asian cultures and the name ‘Nagini’ can easily be seen as a Sanskrit name. Indian mythology has had the ‘Naagin’ legend for centuries and as soon as the character was revealed to be a woman, a lot of Indians were shocked too. First, let us take a look at what JK Rowling had to say about the character and where she got her inspiration.
“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”
So this is the origin of JK Rowling’s inspiration for this character but then came the question of casting a Korean actor for a character with Indonesian roots. A lot of fans were not happy with the fact that Nagini is played by a Korean woman. The casting has received some backlash and people are forgetting that JK Rowling does not sit in a room casting all the actors but she defended the casting and actor Claudia Kim seems ecstatic about playing the character too.
Now let us talk about another issue that has been bothering a lot of people about this old character with new developments. Nagini as we already know was one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes and was also his dear friend and beloved pet. People have expressed concerns to the fact that Nagini being a WOC (Woman of Colour) who was a subservient pet of a white male villain is extremely racist.
Also, some people think making Nagini a WOC is simply an attempt to bring more cultural representation in a series which is mostly white. This point can obviously be seen as both positive and negative. It is true that the Potterverse needs more cultural diversity but it is also impossible to please the millions of fans out there. On one hand, where we now have an Asian character as an important part of the plot and the possibility for more representation, on the other hand, this itself is being seen as a racist move.