Jon Stewart noticed something about J.K. Rowling’s goblins in Harry Potter, though he later clarified his stance when things got heated.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has always enchanted millions of fans around the world, thanks to its successful novels and films. The magical franchise has also inspired and comforted fans dealing with difficulties in their personal lives, as explained in the recent Harry Potter Special. However, Harry Potter does have its share of controversies thanks to the franchise’s creator and author, J.K. Rowling. The most recent controversy Rowling is facing come from comments made by former Daily Show host and current podcaster, Jon Stewart.
For fans unfamiliar with Jon Stewart’s work, he is a high-profile host and commentator in America. Stewart was widely known for hosting The Daily Show from 1998 up till 2015. The former Daily Show host is also a comedian, actor, producer, writer, and most importantly a political commentator. After leaving The Daily Show, Stewart maintained a low profile and bought a farm.
Jon Stewart Shares His Problem with J.K. Rowling’s Goblins in Harry Potter on The Problem with Jon Stewart
That is, until he started his own Podcast called The Problem With Jon Stewart. The podcast has become very successful and video streams are available on Apple TV. In one of Stewart’s recent episodes, he discussed Harry Potter and commented on the Anti-Semitic caricaturing of the Goblins in Gringott’s Bank and other questionable caricaturing like Dobby.
Watch the clip below:
In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, according to the Harry Potter Fandom Wiki, Goblins are known to be very powerful magical creatures that were very intelligent. Due to their high intelligence Goblins are also known to have incredible skills in handling money and finances in the Wizarding World. They were also known for controlling the Wizarding World’s economy to great extent. An example of this is the Wizarding Bank of Gringotts in the Harry Potter series, where the majority of its workers are Goblins.
On an episode of his Podcast in December of 2021 titled The Problem With Goblins: J.K Rowling, Harry Potter, and Jews, Jon Stewart compared the Goblins in the Wizarding World to Jews. He continued his analysis by comparing the Harry Potter novels and a famous book in 1903 filled with Anti-Semitic Illustrations called “he Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Stewart said
“Here’s how you know Jews are still where they are… Talking to people, here’s what I say: Have you ever seen a Harry Potter movie? Have you ever seen the scenes in Gringotts Bank? Do you know what those folks who run the bank are? Jews! And they’re like, ‘Oh, [that illustration is] from Harry Potter!’ And you’re like, ‘No, that’s a caricature of a Jew from an anti-Semitic piece of literature.’ J.K. Rowling was like, ‘Can we get these guys to run our bank?’ It’s a wizarding world… we can ride dragons, you can have a pet owl… but who should run the bank? Jews. But what if the teeth were sharper?”
Stewart continued by saying, “It was one of those things where I saw it on the screen and I was expecting the crowd to be like, ‘Holy shit, [Rowling] did not, in a wizarding world, just throw Jews in there to run the fucking underground bank… And everybody was just like, ‘Wizards.’ It was so weird.”
Shortly after Jon Stewart’s controversial statements on Rowling’s portrayal of goblins, a charity group called Campaign Against Antisemitism have defended the Harry Potter author. The charity group issued a defending statement by saying that Rowling has been “a tireless defender of the Jewish community” throughout the years. The charity group even added that the Goblins look on Harry Potter “is of a piece with their portrayal in Western literature as a whole.” With these statements, and the age of the franchise. it’s safe to say that many don’t see things the way Jon Stewart does.
The controversial statements from Jon Stewart have come at an unfortunate time, mainly because Warner Bros Studios recently released their Potter reunion special called Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return To Hogwarts. Stewart did clarify what he meant about Harry Potter and Rowling by going to social media and correcting what he meant about his feeling towards Rowling’s depiction of Goblins in Harry Potter.
“I do not think J.K. Rowling is antisemitic. I did not accuse her of being antisemitic… I cannot stress this enough. I am not accusing J.K. Rowling of being antisemitic.” Stewart then added, “She need not answer to any of it. I don’t want the ‘Harry Potter’ movies censored in any way. It was a lighthearted conversation.” With Stewart’s recent comments it seems he has no ill-feeling towards Rowling but was only a big misunderstanding.
Even with the controversy surrounding her when it comes to her anti-trans advocacy, Rowling is still highly involved with Warner Bros, still working on the Fantastic Beasts film franchise and the third Installment The Secrets Of Dumbledore releasing this upcoming April 15th. Even with Stewart’s comments and other controversies surrounding Rowling, the love and fandom of Harry Potter continue despite its creator.
What do you think about Jon Stewart’s problem with goblins? Does it make you see the franchise differently? Which House are you? Let us know in the comments below and share your thoughts and houses with us on Twitter.