“Harry Potter” fans were stunned on September 25 when Warner Bros. released the last trailer for “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.” The clip included the unexpected revelation of presenting Nagini as in a human lady years before turning into Voldemort’s snake and Horcrux. Nagini is a Maledictus in the film, which means she’s a human reviled to change into a beast. The job is being played by South Korean on-screen character Claudia Kim.
The choice to give Kim a role as Nagini was met with a sizable measure of backlash online. It did not go unnoticed that Kim is currently only one of two actors of color to be featured in the primary cast of “Fantastic Beasts” (the other is Zoe Kravitz), and the reality Rowling chose to have one of her solitary actors of color play a snake who will one day be subservient to Voldemort annoyed many. Others called out that casting Kim as a snake sustains the “dragon lady” stereotype.
Rowling defended the casting while answering on Twitter to a fan who was annoyed with Kim being employed to play Nagini. The fan composed that “all of a sudden making Nagini into a Korean lady is rubbish,” yet Rowling clarified that Nagini’s Asian legacy was incorporated with the character from the very beginning
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 🐍
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 26, 2018
“The Naga are snake-like mythical creatures of Indonesian mythology, hence the name ‘Nagini,’” Rowling said. “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.”
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” releases across the nation November 16.