Jewish organisations have defended JK Rowling after a US comedian claimed that the depiction of goblins in her Harry Potter books was anti-Semitic.
Jon Stewart slammed the author over the goblins that run Gringotts bank in her Harry Potter series on his podcast, The Problem with Jon Stewart.
Stewart, who is Jewish, questioned why Rowling chose to ‘throw Jews in there to run the f***ing underground bank’ in a fictional world where people ‘can ride dragons and have pet owls’.
But Jewish fans were quick to note that the author has consistently called out anti-Semitism in recent years; including as a frequent critic of Jeremy Corbyn during his leadership of the Labour Party and when she refused to join a cultural boycott of Israel.
And Dave Rich, director of policy at Jewish charity the Community Security Trust, told MailOnline that Rowling had been ‘very supportive’ of the Jewish community.
He said: ‘JK Rowling has been very supportive of the Jewish community in recent years and tweeted repeatedly against antisemitism, so it is hard to imagine that she used anti-semitic caricatures in her books. Sometimes a goblin is just a goblin.’
Comedian David Baddiel also waded in, adding: ‘The goblins in Harry Potter need to be seen not in a simplistic #teamRowling vs #antiteamRowling way but in a many-centuries long, deeply subconsciously embedded cultural context.’
Author and literature expert Nicholas Jubber told MailOnline: ‘Rowling appears to have followed traditions in British fantasy literature. The old German word, ‘kobold’, gave us the word ‘cobalt’, signalling the association of these creatures with mining for precious ores. So it makes sense that goblins would be linked with vaults and underground storage.’
Fans also defended the author, suggesting that her depiction of the goblins was typical of the fantasy genre, with the likes of JRR Tolkien and Terry Pratchett using similar descriptions.
One said today: ‘Goblins were described and depicted like that decades before Rowling. So if those activists have problems with how goblins are depicted – they should cancel fantasy books and mythos that existed before.’
Another added: ‘You would have to tar all fantasy writers such as Tolkien and artists, who have portrayed goblins in exactly the same light since the 19th Century. In most fantasy and children’s writings they are almost always portrayed as mean, hoarders of gold and jewels with the same features.’
Others noted that Rowling’s original sketch of goblins was significantly different to the movie depiction of the creatures, which Warner Brothers are behind.
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Source: Daily Mail