Twenty years after the first Harry Potter book was released in the United States, the franchise still has the power to amaze — and offend. To this day, J.K. Rowling’s series is still banned in some schools and libraries for promoting “witchcraft.” But with the release last week of a new trailer for the next film in the fictional universe, “Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” Rowling is facing a different sort of backlash. This one shouldn’t be dismissed so easily.
At the heart of today’s Harry Potter controversy is a five-second clip in the “Fantastic Beasts 2” trailer showing South Korean actress Claudia Kim transforming into a massive snake. The scene apparently reveals the backstory behind her character, Nagini, who eventually becomes Voldemort’s pet: She is a “maledictus,” or shape-shifter, cursed to eventually become trapped in a snake’s body.