Harry Potter Headcanons: A Multicultural Universe
Yesterday, September 1st, 2017, we celebrated the “19 years later” date we saw in the Deathly Hallows epilogue, something I’m still not over, and in honour of that special date, I want to share something with you.
I love Harry Potter, more than words can express. I grew up with the franchise and the characters, read the books and watched the movies as they premiered. They became part of who I am today and who I want to be as a person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see the flaws in the franchise.
The Harry Potter books were known to address political issues, and one could perfectly draw the parallels of Voldemort and the Death Eaters with hate groups. Both of them wanting the “purity of the blood (or race)” and killing, destroying and denying the rights to those different. However, that message is lost when your entire cast is white.
I’ll forever be bitter about aspects of the books being completely ignored by the movies, or characters not meeting their potential as the studio and directors didn’t take the chance. There’s so much that could’ve been greater than it was and the results, although great, missed something that never truly left me.
I made a list of some headcanons I have about Harry Potter so I could share with you a version of what I would’ve liked to see in theatres or happen in the actual books but never did (however, in this era, it is almost certain we’re going to have a reboot, so let’s hope the reboot does better).
- Harry was mixed race.
Hear me out on this. J.K never described skin colour for the main characters so it wouldn’t be that far-fetched seeing Harry as biracial. He’s described to have “jet black hair that won’t lie flat” and mixed blood (due to his mother being muggleborn) but imagine that the reason Vernon Dursley hated James Potter wasn’t only for his “magic” but for his race. And the reason that they also hated Harry is because he looks a lot like his father and, like him, has a darker skin colour and an appearance that remarks that he is not like them, that he is different.
The Dursleys always came across to me as the kind of people who would say “we’re not racist” yet would still look sideways at non-white people or would say comments bordering on racist, homophobic and stupid. To me, that’s why they were ashamed of Harry’s appearance and tried to change it so much, with Aunt Petunia always cutting Harry’s hair so it wouldn’t stand out that much and getting all freaked out once his hair was shown back to normal.
They tried to raise him away from his heritage, both magic AND his father’s, rejecting what was not from their community and hiding it from him.
Besides, Harry’s eyes (green like his mother’s) always draw too much attention, abnormally so, and if he would’ve had brown skin, it would’ve made a lot more sense, as light colour eyes are more noticeable when the person has a darker skin tone.
There aren’t much biracial heroes out there, but in my head, Harry is one of them.
- Hermione wasn’t white.
Again, J.K Rowling never described skin colour, except for the side characters that we are aware are non-white, yet the fact that in the Cursed Child she was played by a black actress should be more than enough proof that, Hermoine isn’t white by the books’ wording.
But if you want more evidence, I can give it to you.
Hermione’s physical description was that she had “frizzy hair and brown eyes” with “particularly large front teeth”, and while the frizzy hair and the brown eyes are traits mostly associated with black and mixed-race people, her skin tone was never clarified.
Yes, she’s described to be pale out of fear, but she’s also described like “very brown” during a summer break. That’s probably a tan, but then again, it’s probably not as it was NEVER specified.
I am Mexican, yet I identified myself with her due to our messy, bushy hair, the brown eyes and the love we both have for books. I would spend hours in the library, just like her, reading everything that crossed my path, wanting to learn and to know more about the world.
In my mind, Hermione was never white, and after I saw Emma Watson as Hermione, I stopped seeing the Hermione I identified with.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Emma Watson as much as the next person, but while growing up we need characters to identify with; so, when I saw Emma with perfect hair, perfect teeth and pale skin, I stopped seeing myself in Hermione, as I didn’t look like her.
Both Hello Giggles and Black Girl Dangerous have pointed out how much more stronger Hermione’s social message and activism could’ve been if she were black or mixed race, as the layers and depth those situations would’ve been more powerful, hitting audiences in a stronger way as it’s something they can relate to.
I’m sorry the movies didn’t give us that chance to have a woman of colour as lead role while growing up and give representation, and even though I hate The Cursed Child with all my heart and soul, I’m happy it gave us the opportunity to have a Black Hermione.
- Sirius was gay.
Now, with this entry I’m not going to shove my ship down your throat but, hear me out, I actually have an argument here.
Sirius was shown to be the “lost sheep” of the Black family. They were traditionalists at the extreme, valuing “purity of the blood” above everything else and they despised everything that isn’t them (muggle born, muggles, half-bloods, the Weasleys).
In my mind, Sirius never related to his family because from a very young age, he knew he was gay, and he knew he didn’t approve of their closed minds and their bigotry. I think that, in a way, his family (especially his mother) sensed Sirius wasn’t like them and because of that, they treated him so badly.
He wanted to be a Gryffindor to prove to everyone else, not only himself, that he was not like the rest of the Blacks, and having the guts to admit to himself he was gay after being raised in such a hateful environment takes a lot of courage, worthy of a Gryffindor.
In my head, the reason why Sirius ran away was because he couldn’t hold back anymore from his mother’s comments about his “life decisions” and exploded, revealing to his whole family he was gay. That’s why she burned his face from the family tree once he was gone and everyone started pretending he didn’t exist.
- Lupin shouldn’t have been with Tonks.
Ok, now I’m actually going to try to convince you of my ship, so if you want to skip this number, it’s ok by me, but if you are still with me, let’s begin.
I never actually believed the romance between Tonks and Lupin, if we’re being honest. To me, it seems somehow pulled out of nowhere and a little bit forced. When did she fell in love with him? When did HE fell in love with HER? When did they talk? When did they meet? How did they meet? So many questions, so few answers.
In the previous book, we saw Sirius die right in front of Harry and Lupin and… is J.K seriously telling me that Lupin, who had just gotten back one of his best and only friends after 12 years of not having him due to Azkaban, was not going to grieve Sirius? Correct me if I’m wrong, but the whole plot surrounding Lupin in Half-Blood Prince is him believing he’s not good enough for Tonks and… I’m sorry but I’m not buying it.
It should’ve been him grieving over losing one of his best friends all over again, trying to be there for Harry as he also lost Sirius.
Look at this extract from Prisoner of Azkaban, the moment Sirius and Lupin reunite after believing the other was a traitor and a spy.
I know, I know, the extract says, “like a brother” (in Spanish it’s actually described in a more romantic way) but, anyway, that scene only (and the subsequent chapters), for me, showed more chemistry and love than the whole “Lupin/Tonks” deal (as both Lupin and Sirius believed the other pretty quickly and forgave themselves for all the miscommunications). I can only imagine what would’ve been if J.K actually let them spend time together between Goblet of the Fire and Order of the Phoenix, rebuilding their friendship, learning to trust each other once more, and maybe, just maybe, even falling in love.
- James Potter was actually NOT a bad person.
More than a headcanon, this is something like a general misconception I wish to change and before you get mad and start saying things to me about how I’m reading it all wrong, listen to me first. Yes, James Potter was a dick, a jerk, an asshole towards Snape, he was inherently cruel and a bully and I hate bullies and cannot defend one, yet here I am defending James Potter. Why? Think of him as an adult and think of him as a friend.
First, we have him as a guy from a pureblood family, not as traditionalist as the Blacks but still, an only son who believed he was better than anyone else. He became quick friends with Sirius Black on the Express to Hogwarts and soon after, they met Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew.
The importance of remarking that James was raised as a pureblood is to compare him with Ron. Ron, like James, comes from a family of purebloods who aren’t bad people per se. However, once Ron learnt that Lupin was a werewolf, he rejected him and used the word “werewolf” as an insult. Afterwards Ron learnt to leave his prejudices against werewolves behind, but now, let’s look at James case.
When James, Sirius and Peter realised that the reason Lupin left their dorm during the full moon was that he was a werewolf, James and Sirius decided to become animagi so they could be with Lupin during his transformation.
They spent 3 years of their lives studying and doing what was necessary (the steps to become an animagi are not easy steps) to become one, and they never, not once, rejected Lupin, something he was grateful for.
Then, he accepted Sirius in his house once he left 12 Grimmauld Place and the Potters adopted him as one of their own, never judging Sirius from where he was from, accepting him for who he was.
And there’s also the fact that he stopped Snape from going to the Shrieking Shack to a transformed Lupin, possibly to his death after Sirius’ “prank”. He saved Snape’s life and, say what you want, but that’s not something a bad person would do.
And yes, despite being a good friend and caring so much, he was still an idiot, he still made silly pranks on Severus. But, he changed.
After he fell in love with Lily Evans, James Potter grew up. He stopped being the immature brat who would call Severus “Snivellus” and started to behave like an adult, an adult in times of war.
He became a better person to be worthy of Lily, (unlike Snape, but that’s another story) and he never, not once, doubted any of his friends. He was always loyal to those he loved, always wanting to protect them and keep them safe.
Do you seriously think a woman like Lily Evans would’ve fall for a jerk? No, I don’t think so either.
To me, James was like the mamma hen of the group, and would’ve died before betraying any of them. He gave his life hoping it would give his wife and son a chance to escape, and that sacrifice it’s not something we should forget.
These are just a few things I wish were different in the Harry Potter saga, a saga I grew up with and will forever be part of me.
It’s been 10 years since the last book was published (again, in my mind The Cursed Child is badly written and nowhere near being canon) and although I still miss having adventures to look forward with Harry, I’m happy I had the chance to have him in my childhood.