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Looking to Replace Harry Potter? Try These Inclusive Fantasy and Sci-Fi Epics
For fantasy fans, it’s been disheartening and disappointing to see J.K. Rowling’s recent lack of respect for the trans community. For an author who introduced kids to and explored major themes about the importance of people speaking up against intolerance, it’s been heartbreaking to see her defend radical, toxic beliefs that dehumanize trans people.
Seeing Rowling’s transphobic tweets and comments laid bare, you may feel the need to set aside the Harry Potter series for now. If so, perhaps you’re looking for something just as engaging to replace these books with. These great series that are inclusive and diverse, welcoming characters of all orientations, genders and races. You don’t need to cancel Harry forever, but these books might help you feel a little more welcome and accepted after Rowling’s actions.
“Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood and Bone is a 2018 book by Nigerian-American novelist Tomi Adeyemi. This is the first book in a planned trilogy, which follows heroine Zélie Adebola as she brings back magic to the kingdom of Orïsha after its magic users were purged.
This work of fiction was inspired by novels like Harry Potter and An Ember in the Ashes but does a magnificent job of exposing readers to other cultures by blending in West African mythologies and the Yoruba language and culture. These elements converge to create Children of Blood and Bone ‘s world — one that’s unique yet strikingly similar to our own, considering that another major motivation for Adeyemi was the hopelessness the author felt about police brutality directed against Black Americans.
Writing the book took over 18 months and 45 drafts, but the end result has been a brilliant coming-of-age story that’s received high praise across many platforms. The New York Times has included the novel on its best-seller book list for young adults. The book has received mostly positive reviews, with critics digging deep into its examination of racism, oppression and slavery, noting how the Kosadan and Maji serve as the stand-ins for real-world groups. As Vann R. Newkirk II of The Atlantic explains, “That Children of Blood and Bone may prod readers to see a whole genre with new eyes could hardly be a more timely development.”
“Nemesis Trilogy by April Daniels
For trans excellence, look no further than the “Nemesis” trilogy by April Daniels. The first in the series, Dreadnought, is about a girl named Danny. After receiving superpowers from her idol, Dreadnought, her body changes into the feminine body she always pictured herself in. Of the supervillains she faces, the most noteworthy is a witch that is also a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist), so the book could be read as an allegorical narrative reflectingJ.K. Rowling’s transphobic beliefs in our own world.
The second book in the series, Sovereign, is about a gender-queer superhero. Kinetiq grapples with the mental health implications of being a superhero. In real life, they go through familial abuse and emancipates themself from family. The book has been optioned for film by Makin’ It Up Productions, Wayne Brady’s production company. Not only are these books a great alternative to Harry Potter, but they will make great alternatives to Marvel and DC films after these books are adapted for your screen.
“Dark Star” Trilogy by Marlon James
Another newer fantasy series comes from Jamaican writer Marlon James: the Dark Star trilogy. The epic fantasy includes the titles Black Leopard, Red Wolf; Moon Witch, Night Devil; and The Boy and the Dark Star. The tales follow three characters — the Tracker, the Moon Witch and the Boy — as the three mercenaries make their way through a dark fantasy world and await their impending torture and trial in the dungeon of a dying king.
The first book was released in 2019, and the two remaining planned novels are forthcoming. The story draws from African history and mythology and explores political tensions rising between two warring states, various tribes and city-states, exploring truths, ambition, the limits of power, duty and honor in the process. The first offering in the lineup was influenced by many favorite epics, including The Lord of the Rings and the now-classic Game of Thrones.
More good news? Michael B. Jordan purchased the film rights to Black Leopard, Red Wolf before the book hit shelves, so fans can expect some exciting on-screen treatment.
“Inheritance” Trilogy and the “Broken Earth” Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
N.K. Jemisin debuted her first novel, part of the Inheritance trilogy, in 2010, which elevated her to the position of one of the most prominent Black sci-fi/fantasy authors in the United States. And her novel The Fifth Season , which is part of her Broken Earth series, won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, making her the first Black writer to earn this title in that category.
The Inheritance trilogy follows a cast of mortals and gods as they navigate politics, class warfare and slavery under the umbrella of twisted power dynamics, and the Broken Earth trilogy follows three connected women in a magical society in which man’s monstrous actions outweigh the horrors of the natural disasters that plague their world.
Jemisin is not afraid to double down on her characters and their identities. When a review in The Guardian misgendered one of her characters, Jemison took to Twitter to hold the publication accountable. The mistake was eventually corrected on May 17th, 2020. Rather than scare people off from her work like J.K. Rowling has, Jemisin wants queer, trans, and nonbinary readers to feel welcome turning her pages.
The “Tensorate” Series by Neon Yang
Imagine a world where every new child is nonbinary. A world without gender seems like more than enough for a story’s premise, but for Neon Yang, that’s just the beginning. Monks, magic, and prophecies converge in this series of four novellas. As the characters come of age, they eventually get to confirm their own genders and have to make the tough decision of whether or not to stay where they are or join the Rebellion.
These novellas are ideal for those who struggle with sci-fi or fantasy books that can often be hundreds and sometimes thousands of pages long (especially if you total up the number of pages in a series).
You might be a bit confused seeing the author’s name listed as Neon in this article, but JL on the books. Neon is their preferred name, chosen after the release of their first book. This happens as people develop their identities over time. As queer and trans people become more visible, expect things like name changes to become part of the norm. Yang’s debut novel, The Gensisis of Misery, is expected to be released in 2022.
“The Star-Touched Queen” Series by Roshani Chokshi
Are you looking for something a bit less violent than the brilliant Black Leopard, Red Wolf ? This series by Roshani Chokshi is a winner. The beautiful writing in The Star-Touched Queen books is lyrical and lush, bringing the characters and events to life in a vivid and mesmerizing way. This YA romantic fantasy plunges you into a captivating retelling of the story of Hades and Persephone with a deep Indian-mythology twist.
The first book follows Maya, a 17-year-old girl cursed to marry into doom and destruction. Her path crosses that of an otherworldly man who introduces her to a kingdom that holds the key to her past and future. Needless to say, Maya’s epic journey is fascinating and makes for an enlightening, page-turning read.
“Sawkill Girls” by Claire Legrand
Claire Legrand writes for adults, middle school readers, and anyone who enjoys YA. Legrand has written more than five standalone novels, the Winterspell trilogy and the Empirium trilogy. Her 2018 novel, Sawkill Girls, made waves when readers saw that not only were there young queer characters engaging each other the same way young hetero characters do — there was also an asexual character that still got to experience love and relationships.
The book, which brings fantasy elements to a horror story, centers around Maron, Zoey, and Val as they try to figure out why young women their age keep disappearing from the town of Sawkill. After some research, Zoey learns that young women have been disappearing from Sawkill for a long time. To prevent further atrocities, these three women must confront an evil that takes many different forms.
“Pet” by Akwaeke Emezi
Pet takes place in a world that is totally normal. Or, is it? Jam grew up being told by adults that monsters did not exist and were no longer a problem. When a drop of Jam’s blood causes Pet, a horned creature, to emerge from a painting that Jam’s mother had made, Jam quickly learns that the world is not what she was told. If you’ve ever had the world turned upside down on you, just like it did with Harry, you may love this one.
An emerging talent, Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo and Tamil writer from Nigeria. She is also the author of Freshwater (2018), The Death of Vivek Oji (2020) and Dear Senthuran (forthcoming 2021).
“Cemetery Boys” by Aiden Thomas
Picture this: your family has trouble accepting your gender identity. They go as far as calling you a “brujo,” a warlock. Discouraged but motivated, you set out to prove yourself by summoning the ghost of your murdered cousin. As you set out to prove yourself, you realize you summoned the wrong ghost.
This is how NYT Bestseller, Cemetery Boys kicks off. Main character, Yadriel, summons Julian, who is a bit of a bad boy and refuses to go to the afterlife without the answers he seeks. Things get even more complicated when Yadriel doesn’t want Julian to leave.
Aiden Thomas is an Oakland native and identifies as queer, trans, and Latinx. Cemetery Boys, Thomas’s debut novel, was released during fall of 2020. Spooky yet heartfelt, Cemetery Boys can fill the wizard-sized hole that might be in your heart. The book’s release made Thomas the first trans man to debut on the Young Adult Hardcover section of the NYT Bestseller list.
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Harry potter: what are the main characters' boggarts.
In Harry Potter, fear manifests in the form of Boggarts and each main character comes face to face with their fears before the franchise is over.
There are a ton of magical elements in the Wizarding universe of Harry Potter that define the characters. Their Patronuses define them as much as their Hogwarts Houses and it's allowed many fans of the series to find their own versions of these to feel a little more at home in the world.
RELATED: Harry Potter: What Your Patronus Would Be, Based On Your Zodiac
But whether one identifies as a Gryffindor or a Slytherin and whether their Patronus is a stag or an otter, they all have the same thing in common: they all fear. In Harry Potter, fear manifests in the form of Boggarts. While the main characters' Boggarts are well known, the Harry Potter franchise is still a deep dive that shines light on the true nature of Boggarts.
Harry Potter - Dementors
Boggarts come into play in a major way in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban . It is in this story where Dementors are also a major factor for the first time and it's no surprise that they are Harry's biggest fear.
They suck one's soul out and seem to be the embodiment of terror and hopelessness in the world. It's a perfectly reasonable fear for Harry to have (and later develop a patronus for).
Ron Weasley - Spiders
Anyone familiar with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets knows just how much Ron fears spiders (he is also perfectly justified to do so). It's no surprise that the next story brings giant spiders back to Ron's source of horror.
They say the best way to conquer one's fear is to face it. But Ron came face to face with Aragog and still nearly lost his mind during Lupin's Boggart lesson. Some phobias cannot be erased.
Hermione Granger - Test Failure
Rounding out the main trio of the Harry Potter franchise, Hermione's fear is a bit more abstract than Harry's and Ron's. She is petrified of failure. Specifically, she's petrified of failing her various academic tests.
RELATED: Harry Potter: 10 Biggest Changes Hermione Granger Went Through
Fortunately, there is a spell to be rid of Boggarts: Riddikulus. When Hermione uses this spell, Professor McGonagall shifts from telling Hermione that she failed to telling Hermione that she'd won a prestigious award.
Molly Weasley - Her Family Dead
Molly Weasley is not necessarily one of the ten biggest characters in Harry Potter , but her Boggart is crucial to understanding many of the motivations of the Weasley family. Her biggest fear is seeing her entire family dead.
Tragically, this would partially come to pass when Fred Weasley died. At the very least, Molly never had to see everyone she loved dead. It doesn't make it easier to lose Fred, but it does show that her most palpable worries were still staved off.
Neville Longbottom - Professor Snape
When Neville is sent to confront a Boggart during Lupin's third-year lesson, he sees Professor Severus Snape. No student should fear their teacher, but it certainly makes sense that if Neville would fear anyone, he'd fear Snape.
Neville is always grappling with standing up to authority in his life. One of the biggest steps came when Neville used Riddikulus to turn Snape's wardrobe into mirroring his grandmother's.
Dumbledore - Ariana Dumbledore
Dumbledore tends to be quite secretive about his inner feelings. After all, he claimed to see a pair of socks in the Mirror of Erised when Harry asked him back in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone .
RELATED: Harry Potter: 10 Important Details You Didn't Know About Dumbledore And Hagrid's Friendship
However, Dumbledore's Boggart reveals a deep inner truth within the former Headmaster of Hogwarts. He fears the lifeless body of Ariana Dumbledore, his sister, with who he associates his biggest regrets. Dumbledore was far from perfect and this Boggart showed how flawed a hero he was.
Remus Lupin - A Full Moon
It only makes sense that Lupin, who introduced Boggarts to his students, would eventually give the pay-off of showing his own Boggart. It just happens to be a full moon.
It's not that he's afraid of rocks in space. Rather, Lupin fears what the full moon represents. With full moons come his transformation into a werewolf. He associates shame and fear with this idea and it results in a heartbreaking Boggart.
Voldemort - His Downfall
Believe it or not, Voldemort has many things he fears, as well. Obviously, Harry gets under his skin, but Voldemort's actual Boggart is his own downfall.
RELATED: Harry Potter: 10 Things Voldemort Did After Hogwarts We’d Love To See In A Movie
Nothing scares Lord Voldemort more than the thought that he can die. It's why he created Horcruxes and made a play for immortality. He is always running away from his biggest fear, which, in a way, is the idea that he can fear no more.
Draco Malfoy - Voldemort
Much of what is known about the characters' Boggarts comes from the video game, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 . In this game, it becomes clear that Draco Malfoy's Boggart is Lord Voldemort.
Draco's fear of Voldemort likely comes from different reasons than others have. Most fear Voldemort taking over the world. Draco fears Voldemort intimidating and manipulating the Malfoy family.
Rubeus Hagrid - Voldemort, Too
It's no surprise that Hagrid also fears Voldemort the most. In fact, a great many characters are revealed, in this aforementioned video game, to be afraid of Voldemort the most. Hagrid is no exception.
Hagrid leads with love and has a big heart, so it's no surprise that someone as evil as Voldemort would be his biggest fear. It also speaks to Hagrid's courage that he faces down this fear when it is manifested tenfold.
NEXT: Harry Potter: The 10 Scariest Monsters & Magical Creatures, Ranked
Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Magic/Boggart
- 2 Extended Description
- 4 Questions
- 5 Greater Picture
Overview [ edit | edit source ]
A boggart is a shapeshifter that usually lurks in dark spaces. It has no definite form, taking the shape of that which is most feared by the person who encounters it. When not in the sight of a person, it is believed to look like a dark blob.
Extended Description [ edit | edit source ]
To repel or destroy a boggart, it must be laughed at. The spell Riddikulus can be cast to force the boggart to assume a generally amusing shape of what the caster mentally conceives.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban , the Boggart appears three times.
- In Professor Lupin's Defence Against the Dark Arts class , we are introduced to the Boggart and his characteristics, and the fact that this allows us to see people's deepest fears; this also allows us a comical jab at Professor Snape , as Neville produces a simulacrum of Snape dressed in his grandmother's favorite outfit. Lupin does prevent Harry from triggering the Boggart's defence mechanism, which Harry feels is unfair; but Lupin later explains this as being done to prevent a simulacrum of Lord Voldemort from appearing in front of the class. This in particular shows that Lupin is much more aware of the class and its needs and concerns than any of the other Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers that have preceded him in the series.
- Later, Lupin uses a second Boggart to train Harry in the use of the Patronus charm and its use against Dementors .
- Either this same Boggart, or a third one, is then used in the final exam for Defence Against the Dark Arts . In this, we see Hermione's insecurity about her grades – her greatest fear is revealed to be " Professor McGonagall – she said I failed everything!" And apparently this is such a great fear that she is unable to invoke Riddikulus against it.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire , Harry encounters a Boggart in the final task of the Triwizard Tournament . It takes the form of a Dementor upon seeing Harry.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix , a Boggart is discovered in a desk in the Headquarters of the Order . It is identified by Alastor Moody using his magical eye, whereupon Mrs. Weasley goes to eliminate it. Ultimately she is unable to, and Remus Lupin, possibly alerted by Mad-Eye Moody, arrives to vanquish it and rescue her.
Analysis [ edit | edit source ]
The Boggart has two main purposes in the series: one is to reveal characters' deepest fears, as the Mirror Erised reveals their deepest desires; the other is to give Harry a "dementor" that he can battle, without risking having his soul sucked out. The latter is the most important, as Harry will be called upon to fight Dementors, and must somehow be prepared for that struggle; but their ability to show the greatest fears of the characters will prove useful as well.
The appearance of the Boggart in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is particularly interesting, not for the fact of the Boggart, but for the illumination it provides. This episode allows Harry to see what Mrs. Weasley's greatest fears are: that her family, or Harry himself, might end up dead. Naturally, Harry is surprised to see that his well-being is so important to Mrs. Weasley, though he does not comment on it at the time. His thoughts are more about his recent upset at having been passed over for Prefectship , and the realization of just how trivial that was relative to the other possible outcomes for the next few years. The author does not explicitly show us the effect this revelation has on Harry in the long term, but it would be safe to say that Harry is heartened by the discovery that there is someone in the world who cares so much about him.
It is somewhat illuminating to note the form Boggarts take when confronted with specific characters in the story. For Ron , a confirmed arachnophobe, it is an Acromantula . Hermione is confronted with the spectre of failing all her courses. Harry, as mentioned, is forced to deal with a Dementor, while Neville faces Professor Snape, and Mrs. Weasley sees, in succession, the death of all her family members and Harry. The Boggart taking the shape of an animated, severed hand for Seamus Finnigan tells us little, but it taking the shape of a full moon when confronted by Lupin would tell us a great deal, if we recognized it as a full moon. It can be interesting to speculate on what other characters would see; Ginny , following the events in the Chamber of Secrets the previous year, might be expected to see herself as a puppet, or to see a puppet master; Fred and George , we suspect, would each see the other, dead, though it is uncertain if a Boggart would ever find one of them alone; and it is a safe assumption that Voldemort would see his own lifeless body.
In connection with this, we note the apparent mindlessness of the Boggart's response. Specifically when confronted by Lupin, the Boggart becomes a small, and pointless, simulacrum of the full moon. It does not change even when Lupin casually brushes it aside, indicating an unawareness that its understanding of Lupin's deepest fear is deeply flawed. This indicates that the Boggart's response is automatic, rather than reasoned, and that the lack of a fear response by the target of the Boggart's illusion is not something that the Boggart can react to.
Questions [ edit | edit source ]
Study questions are meant to be left for each student to answer; please don't answer them here.
- In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban , Professor Lupin says "Nobody knows what a boggart looks like when he is alone," yet in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix , Alastor Moody is able to identify it immediately, before it is released from the desk. What did Moody see with his magical eye?
- Why does a boggart have the full effect on Harry when it turns into a Dementor but it does not make Lupin a werewolf when it turns into a full moon?
- What parallels can be drawn between the effects of boggarts and the Mirror of Erised ?
- Our immediate suspicion is that Voldemort, confronted by a boggart, would see his own corpse. Are there other images that could be presented? Support your answer.
Greater Picture [ edit | edit source ]
There is some conflicting information about the effects of Boggarts. In particular, the Boggart-as-Dementor that Harry is using to learn the Patronus charm affects him exactly as the true Dementors do, weakening him and allowing him to hear his mother's and father's final minutes. Yet the boggart-as-full-moon that appears in Lupin's Defence Against the Dark Arts class, and the similar effect occurring when Lupin confronts the Boggart in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix , do not cause him to turn into a werewolf.
Uncharacteristically, when Harry encounters the Boggart-as-Dementor in the maze in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire , he recognizes it as a Boggart because it trips over its own robes. This is a very uncharacteristic revelation, not something we would expect of a Boggart, and can only be explained by our later understanding that the false Alastor Moody was watching Harry's progress through the maze and eliminating obstacles. Likely he could not eliminate the Boggart, and so made it clumsy to tip Harry off.