In today’s always-online world of “stans” and fanbases that can be easily mobilized for various causes, it really says something when the people who love your work turn against you. Separating art from the artist is sometimes a tall order for people, but here we have fans who care about the art so much that they refuse to let contempt for the artist take anything away from their enjoyment.
Harry Potter fans are the ones currently untangling this kind of web, with major fan sites already distancing themselves from original creator J.K. Rowling over her comments about transgender people, and now even real-life Quidditch players—who are already so dedicated to Harry Potter that they will play real-life Quidditch—are trying to find a way to keep playing their sport/LARPing/whatever you want to call it without giving Rowling credit.
That’s according to The Guardian, and, really, it’s long overdue. Quidditch is a game that witches and wizards play on flying broomsticks, and real-life Quidditch isn’t that. It’s an approximation of that, as close as we can get in real life, with custom modifications made to the rules so they A.) make more sense than the version made by the original author and B.) are more appropriate for a world without real magic.
The Guardian story explains that two U.S. Quidditch leagues—US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch—are working together to come up with a new name, noting in a statement that it’s being done “to distance themselves from the works of J.K. Rowling, who has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions in recent years.”
Quidditch is also famously inclusive, which makes this move to distance the game from Rowling even less surprising, with US Quidditch in particular having a “Gender Maximum Rule” that says a team cannot have “more than four players who identify as the same gender.” (It’s part of “Title 9 3/4,” which is a little cute, but whatever. We’re dealing with Quidditch here.)
The Guardian story doesn’t mention any possible replacements for the name “Quidditch,” but it can’t possibly be something reasonable like Hoop Toss or Catch Ball or… Catch Toss Ball Hoop, right? Even something like Wizard Ball doesn’t seem appropriate, since it would only apply to male-identifying magic-people, and Magic Ball would just set people up for disappointment when they realize there’s no magic involved.
That raises another interesting point: Once the name is changed, we could be living in a world where someone could hypothetically discover the sport of Magic Hoop Catch organically and have no idea that it’s based on a thing from a book—completely cutting J.K. Rowling out of the equation. That’s the dream!