Now that Harry Potter #6 is out, I'm reminded of the ongoing controvery over Harry Potter's love interest, Cho Chang. I haven't read any of the books, so I'm wondering what those of you who have think about it.
Some people think it's a good thing to have an Asian featured so prominently in the story. Others think she's just another stereotype and point out that her name doesn't make a lot of sense. Apparently she is supposed to be Chinese. So why a Korean surname for her first name?
People have also been complaining about Katie Leung, the unknown Scottish actress who is playing Cho in the movie version. I'm not sure what the complaint is actually -- she hasn't done anything yet. Some people think she's not attractive enough for the part and are hating on her online. (Of course there are plenty of fan sites too.) Here's a story about it that ran a few months back. I can't believe people in the story below (I would link to it, but you have to register. Blah) questioned whether or not she could speak English. Um hello, she attends a prestigious prep school. What do you think?
***Cyber-spite over Harry's girl
By Annabel Crabb
April 24, 2005
Harry Potter's choice of girlfriend has set off a global internet backlash with ugly racial overtones.
Katie Leung, a 17-year-old Scottish girl of Chinese descent, was recently announced by Warner Brothers as their successful applicant for the role of Cho Chang in the forthcoming film Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire.
Cho Chang, a sorceress, delivers Harry Potter's first screen kiss in the film, the fourth in the hugely successful series. But the unknown actress is now the target of an internet hate campaign.
Hate Katie Leung sites have been established by jealous Potter fans, while chat sites last week ran hot with criticism of her looks and Asiatic background.
"Katie is a beast. She looks like a monster, not the love interest of my Daniel Radcliffe!" said a correspondent on the Asian American Film chat site.
Elsewhere, correspondents asked whether Katie could speak English.
Warner Brothers will not allow interviews or photographs with their new star while the film is in production.
Teenage actor Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter, was more enthusiastic about his new screen paramour, describing her as "very pretty and cool".
Katie's father Peter, a food wholesaler based in Lanarkshire, said he was proud of his daughter but frightened at the savagery of the response.
"I can't make any sense of it, although I know how popular Harry Potter is," he told the Daily Star newspaper.
"No one knows her, has seen her or heard her speak, yet there all these things on the internet. Unfortunately she has seen them, too. She reads them all and it is a great pressure on her."