Harry Potter's Girlfriend

July 27, 2005

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
The Sun-Herald

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."

Contributor: 

Melissa Hung

Founding Editor

Melissa Hung is the founding editor of Hyphen. She served as editor in chief for its first five years and has worn many hats at the magazine. She is a writer and independent journalist. Her essays and reported stories have appeared in NPR, Catapult, and Village Voice Media newspapers. A native Texan, she lives in California. Follow her on twitter at @fluffysharp

Comments

Comments

Look people i was also a bit jelous.....but we could just let her because its her own life we don't have the rights to clamy clamy her life and even though she is an asian doesn't she have the rights? look ate me im a filipino a pure filipino...if i was the one who played some few roles in harry potter are you gonna get mad at me? you are just mad of of katie cause you want to take her place!!!!
those people who hate cho chang or katie are just insecure and dead jealous. who cares if she appeared asian or not. if katie's role is played by other girl, i'm sure they will hate her too and they will post lots of negative comments about her.warner brothers picked her up out of numerous actresses who auditioned for the character so i guess she deserved it. well for those who hate her... i know that you will hate her more because the next harry potter episode will show a kissing scene.
i think that it is a very good book but it needs some more details about how and when harry started to like this girl that he thinks is his girlfriendbut he might not be best friends with his friends any more because his friends didn't want him to go to the party because they weren't envited any where and harry was.they where upset because of that.So now its up to harry to get all his friends back wile he keeps the girl he loved for like his hole life.
I cant believe how stupid and rude people can get. Katie is just a girl acting out a role in a movie. I really dont think that just because she is not white or some paticular colour she should be discriminated by all you ignorant jerks out their. Katie if you read this comment i want you to know i think you are doing a fantastic job! And just ignore what they say!
i do not think that she is not pretty as she is really pretty and she will be much better then you all people here criticise her just because she is an Asian . i do not think that only the same race as Daniel Radcliff can be harry potter chosen girl friend as is the choice of them but not the race.So stop critcising Katie Leung and being jealous about her......
well, for me, she's perfect for this role. i was even suprised when she have beaten more than 5000 girls especially heart evangelista of the philippines. i'm happy for her. i don't really mind for those who hate her, i'm not saying their jealous, (but if they are, fine...) maybe they just don't appreciate her. well, like that, yeah... i guess. anyway, she's beautiful, no wonder she caught my attention for the first look and the first time! she works hard for herself and for her family and that's the thing i like about her. and, nice site... thanks.
"chang" is a chinese surname, you know.
whats the big deal she might be asian or chinese what do you care she fits the part perfectly all the people that hate her are girls that did not get the part your all jeaulous i think shes cute she has a funny little acksceant when she talks so be nice to her. and she did great on the frouth movie
she is a real talented girl that needs to be reconized i cant wait to see her in the next movie
dan's girl friend has to be katie leaung shes so hot
i cant beleave that he kisses her oh my gosh that gets me so angry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
hi harry and cho you both look good cho is very lucky girl to be harry's girl friend i give respect ti your love .donot care about any who tell about cho leave it.you should be happy in your life with full joy i sopport to u an dyour love
hi is harry potter making a new movie? and looking for some one to taake a part?
every one should give katie a rest. It's very lucky. People out there has got to understand. I say well done to her even tough i was jelous once but i am not now. It is a horrible thing to say espiaclaly when katie's saw them.
every one should give katie a rest. It's very lucky. People out there has got to understand. I say well done to her even tough i was jelous once but i am not now. It is a horrible thing to say espiaclaly when katie's saw them.
Iv read the books and i think katie dose not look anything like cho. But shes a realy good actress I. I just think shes to old to be kissing a 16 year old. i wont kiss a boy onless hes my age or older. But if hes younger by a few months its fine.P.S.dan is drooling hot.
daniel radcliffes first kiss is going to be in decimber boys and im happy its not with katie.
as a harry potter book fan, i can tell you that the representation of cho chang in the books is neither offensive nor particularly interesting. there's nothing whatsoever about cho that is asian or not asian. she could be asian, she could be black, she could be white, she could be a troll. nothing whatsoever is made of her ethnicity. she's just a girl, a pretty, popular girl that harry has a crush on. well, actually, she's harry's opposite number on a rival quidditch team, but so little is made of the competition that should exist between them, that she might as well not be. harry is, of course, better at quidditch than she.as usual, i'm torn about this. it would be nice if the asian characters could be both genuinely asian and just kids like all the other kids. then it wouldn't feel so much like "it's a small world". but then, we'll take it where we can get it, right?my one legitimate beef is that rowling has chosen to highlight an east asian girl at a british school that would presumably be crawling with south asians. but there are only two south asian characters in the school: a pair of twin sisters who are extremely peripheral characters, as well as also being not the slightest bit asian in any way besides their names. a huge missed opportunity, but not offensive.
a question (hah, who would have thought!) so, if she were a sexpot, then that would be a stereotype of asian women and if she's not, then she's not cute enough - sort of leaves her with no place to go don't it?she is raised (born?) in scotland. at what point does she become scottish in culture and asian in ethnicity? how long does she have to live there to claim full citizenship? if she spoke with an accent, then the complaint would be she is stereotyped as an immigrant. i see very little latitude for this kid.on the east vs south indian thing - maybe rowling wanted to stay away from the stereotype of south asians in prep schools. hey, i don't think there are any black kids in the story with a leading role either and there are black kids in the UK too. what would be the appropriate amount of 'asian-ness' for her (or the south asian kids) to exhibit to be 'authentic'?as for the name, maybe the story is she is chinese and her parents just like the name 'cho'. kind of like 'duncan idaho' in dune is named after a cake mix and a north american native tribe. i mean china and korea share a common border. it could happen. look on the bright side, she could be 'moon unit chang'.i think it is great that she 'cast' the role as something other than white AND that that is not a key issue. she wrote a story with a person as ... a person.
I PREACH TO YOU MY DEAR BLOGGER!There are too many racist comments about Cho Chang/Katie Leung. Why is there such a problem? Who cares if she’s Asian? Who minds that J. K. Rowling put an Asian in her book? Honestly, she’s just trying to be polite! I mean, there are tons of African-British folk in the series, popular ones too! Those of you that are making such a big fuss just need to get your manners straighten up, and this is coming from a girl’s who’s parents are from Mexico and Central America. There’s no need for mucking up into this type of discussion, it’s not worth it. Don’t publish the same thing like the rest of the world has.
What i don't understand is y there is this huge big deal about it. In the books, Cho Chang is a British girl with Chinese decsent. Who cares what background she has? J.K Rowling was recently asked if she would add other children of different nationalities into her stories, and she said that she won't, since Hogwarts (the wizarding school which Harry attends)is a British school, and its not in her plans to add kids of different nationalities just for the sake of it. The kids who attend Hogwarts are all British or brought up in Britain: otherwise they'd attend the wizarding school in China or whatever. People are just jealous because Katie gets to kiss Daniel Radcliffe. I think she fits the role well and will do a good job of it. We should all just wait and see.Hate-Listings are pathetic. The people who sign don't even KNOW the people, and Katie hasn't even acted yet, let alone given offical Media things (ie. Photos, interviews). No-one knows what she's like and they have nothing to hate her about: they are just jealous, insecure and really cruel. She's a person, with feelings and flaws like the rest of us. No-one's perfect, and even if Warner Bros chose someone else, the hate listing signers would dislike them just a much.It all boils down to jealousy and cruelty. People should just back off. She's an unknown till November 18. I wish her luck. Go Katie!
People are just retarded and Katie should forget about all those rude comments about her.I can't believe that people say they want her to die. How stupid can they get?? They've never even met her, and UGH! It's so annoying! I can't believe there are still people like that in this world!You know who should really die? The haters! I am sick of them!
who is dans girlfriend coz if hes not got one im free i will give u my num
Does it really matter? Dean Thomas is black, and no one cares, he's just a character, just another kid. So is Cho Chang. Anyone who truly understands the book would realize that the central message is that it does not matter where you come from or what you look like (Half-bloods, pure-bloods). What matters is if you have a good heart. And as we all should know, this is the biggest difference between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. As for people insulting the actress who will play Cho Chang...i'd say it's childish and once again, does it matter what she looks like? She's a character in a movie. So, let's stop worrying about race, since it has no bearing on anything considering that in this world we are all humans, and in harry's world, all the students are humans (except when Lupin was there because he's a warewolf, but he still is a good guy). It doesnt matter if her name is Cho Chang or Jane Smith...she's styill harry's love interest, and that's all that matters.
I honestly don't understand why all these potter fans are hating Katie so much! I mean she won the role, she was good enough for the movie and that rocks!! I'm a potter fan but that doesnt mean that just because harry is playing the role of having a girlfriend, doesnt mean that I'm gonna go crazy and start sendeing negative vives to Katie, or any other girl that in the future will be Harry's girlfriend. Those girls need to get a grip!! My bes wishes to Katie and to all the cast of Harry Potter.
I honestly dont understand why all these Harry Potter fans are making such a big deal with Katie. I mean shes Harry's girlfriend in the story, and they just need to deal with it, and stop sending such negative vives to Katie or any cast member of the movie/book. My best wishes to Katie and to the rest of the cast members.
I think it's terrific that a someone completely new is coming on. No one knows her or anything about her, so we don't know how she'll do. I have a feeling it'll go perfectly fine. If they did check out her acting skills out of the how-many-other-Asian-girls-that-tried-out, then she deserves her position. I've seen very few photos of her, and the only complaint that anyone could possibly have on her physical appearance is that her hair isn't as long as Cho Chang's of the book, and that doesn't matter at all. She fits the role as well as any other girl would, probably better, since she's the one that got the part. I'd like to see the jealous fans who think they can do a better job go out in front of the camera under the pressure of the incoming hate. As for the 'Asian' thing...Rowling probably didn't mean any offense by that. People just look into it too deeply because Cho's not white, like Harry and Co. Dean Thomas is black, Anthony Goldstein is Jewish, and the Patil twins are Indian, presumably. Cho's just another girl, and I don't think her background or Katie's will make a difference onscreen. It all comes down to the acting. Really, I wish Katie the best of luck with this movie.
I honestly think the hate sites are just ranting ugly healous freaks that are jealous enough and low enough to be racist. I myself am mixed-- being Irish, Italian, Indian, American, and Taiwanese-- American and Taiwanese the most prominent. It sicken me to see so many haters on a girl they have never met, nor saw in the movies (to the best of my knowledge).She deserves a fighting chance. Whoever says she is a beast obviously is simply jealous and is frighteningly obssessed with Daniel Radcliffe, and ought to go to therapy. She is not a beast, nor has the physical characteristics of one.All I wish is that people would shut the hell up about her, because they are racist fan girls, and that Katie is a decent actress, just to piss the haters off.GO KATIE! ♥
As someone who has actually read the books, I can safely say that Katie's character Cho Chang does a rather despicable thing near the end of one of the books. Most of the time, the hate-listers are idiot girls who direct their anger at Katie because their fictional love, Harry Potter, is taken. It's got nothing to do with race really. JKR likely placed her as a character just to show the diversity. Most people wouldn't have known Dean Thomas (a black character) was black if they weren't reading closely and followed up JKR's comments on her website.
to Jamaloo - 'American' is NOT an ethnicity with which one can be 'mixed'. Americans, by the fundamental underpinnings of this country's raison d'etat, can be, and are of every and any ethnicity, race, creed or colour.We've got to get that straight!
1. People who respond to others worried about racism by using cliches like "race doesn't matter" are typically people who have never really experienced the pain of racism themselves and/or like the way things in the world (including the media) just the way they are. They LOVE it that in the world of TV and movies; most characters are white; the heroes/heroines are almost always white; almost all blacks are good at sports and dancing; almost all Asian males are wimpy or violent; almost all Asian females only date non-Asians; almost all Italians are cops or mafia; almost all latinos are gang members; almost all latinas fiesty. This is "reality," right?2. Harry Potter is recycled crap and always has been. If you don't think so, you are probably a teenager and/or you need to read more books in the youth/fantasy area of the library. Adults who only read Harry Potter are morons who are partly responsible for the ongoing decay of the publishing industry. No, you morons, big profits for the top 3 publishing companies does not mean anything in terms of the quality or diversity of writing produced.3. Nobody needs to spend a minute feelings sorry for "Katie" or any other celebrity (or soon to be celebrity). She will be rich and she will never know or care that you pathetic celebrity worshippers wasted your time defending her on different discussion boards.
hey guys, just give Katie Leung a chance. There is no need to establish hate sites about her. Just remember, she is an ACTRESS, not daniel's love interest. I think you all are being too judgemenatal of Katie, when you haven't even seen her act yet!
Daniel has a girlfriend...her names Natasha.....she came 12th in the place of cho chang...they go To a school called........
on CD (not DVD- yet)#1: a qualified 'true that' - most of the time, the person asking you to 'let it go' is not the person that got snagged in the first place.#2: haven't read 'em, but they make for amusing movies. if that is all an adult is reading, then maybe they are not really an 'adult', or a reader.#3: well, i'm not one to decry the value of compassion and i wish her generally well, but CD you are on point. for all this whining, Ms. Katie is NOT going to send cards, flowers or cash to say 'thanks'. energy is better spent on someone without their own substantial resources.
Daniel has a girlfriend...her names Natasha.....she came 12th in the place of cho chang...they go To a school called........
Well, now its starting all over again, but this time against Bonnie Wright who plays Ginny, Harry's real love interest. Cho, it seems was just a crush. And if Harry runs off with Neville Longbottom in book 7, this hate mongering will turn its ugly head against the actor who plays him.There are a lot of immature 'fangirls' out there.
heygive katie a break.i mean come on she's not really cho chang. she looks nice. you people who hate katie shut uplet her live her own life and u mind ur own business
Here's an interesting commentary on J.K. Rowling's references to race in Harry Potter. It's from a journalism organization, so the intended audience is journalists.http://poynter.org/content/content_view.asp?id=85445&sid=5
You're all twits, and you're missing my point. I put Cho Chang in my novels to create a whole new generation of Asiaphiles. The adept reader will notice that I never mention any East Asian males in my novels, nor are there any visible in the films; that is intentional. Harry, as well as millions of white boys, is to grow up believing that all Asian females exist merely for their sexual gratification. I figure, since my novels have become so popular with children, I may as well join the "white man's media" club and do a little race-training.
People can be soo mean! I think she's pretty. So don't be soo mean to her just because she is in a movie with Daniel. I mean I like Daniel I am like his biggest fan. But I dont get why people are calling Kaite ugly and stuff just because she is in a movie with him.
okayy,, all the people who like hate Katie are gays,,It doesnt matter if people have different skin color or different nationalities,,Okayy,, I am Asian, though not Chinese,, but people have got to respect other races,,Why do people only think that White girl should've got Cho Chang's part,,Okay It's just a kiss,, and it's only a movie,,Dont you see other kisses in other movies?Why arent you spazzing about those movies and spazzing to uhh Katie?People have got to stop racial discrimination,and I fink Robert pattinson is hotterrr
crap detector- i think you are being way to harsh about things like Harry Potter. Harry Potter is a piece of literature and is not meant to raise controversy. Have you even read the books? Because I suggest you do before you comment on them. This is not meant to be offensive, so don't take it the wrong way.
" j.k rowling" stop trying to be someone you are not, j.k only goes on her official site, so i suggest you think more fully about trying to pull something like that off.
"okayy,, all the people who like hate Katie are gays"I find it disturbing that in a post where you're chastising people for discriminating against color of the skin, you would make a mean statement about gays. That's hating too.
Wow! JK Rowling on this little discussion board! Great! I'll take this chance to pass on a couple of thoughts.First, thanks for your commentary. It definitely has the ring of truth to it. After all, the history of mediocre British writing is also a history of orientalism.Secondly, your storytelling is decent, but in no way are you "great" or "original." Your books have always been cleverly disguised works of pastiche and imitation. Only teenagers and "adults" who haven't read enough to know the first thing about "great" or "original" writing yap on and on (often with eyes bugging out) about how AMAZING the Harry Potter series is. Hey, JK, you aren't going to pretend that you aren't heavily "influenced" by the true greats in science fiction, fantasy, and children's literature.Thirdly, can you do something about these teenagers hanging around serious bulletin boards where adults come to discuss social, cultural, and political issues pertaining to Asian American life? Please tell them yourself that you really couldn't care less if they "prove" they're loyal to you and Harry Potter? Tell them to get over themselves. In the time one of these brats will drone on and on about their one "absolutely fave book" and their latest favorite "hottie," readers of Hyphen Magazine will consider/discuss dozens of different topics across all aspects of life. Tell them that Hyphen Magazine's discussion boards is not a Harry Potter "hater site" and that people discussing the movie are discussing it as a historically situated cultural text with real socio-political implications. Oh, and tell them they shouldn't return to this site until they understood that last sentence.
don't you get it crap detector? j.k rowling just goes on her official website, and wouldn't want to waste her time reading a dumb comment like yours
what a load of jerks! Guess what i am chinese. People are racist or jealous cause they want to pash dan and also beacause they have to return there face to the monkey so it can poo and throw it at their faceless head.I bet every guy that hates cho is homosexialp.s. ceddric is fuggly
Oh, Georgie, Georgie. Don't you get it? It's called sarcasm.Hey, isn't past your bedtime? If you don't get ready for bed, I'll tell your mom.
Sorry to all those Dan fans out there but I think that he is getting ugler the older he gets.I mean he's not that bad in harry potter but did you see him in rove live.I think he's quite funny though.So when everyone says that he is drooling hot well newsflash he's not. Oh yeah go cho!
Jamie,"crap detector- i think you are being way to harsh about things like Harry Potter. Harry Potter is a piece of literature and is not meant to raise controversy. Have you even read the books? Because I suggest you do before you comment on them. This is not meant to be offensive, so don't take it the wrong way."Gee, Jamie, I'm glad to see that you're developing an interest in literature. I encourage you to read more books besides Harry Potter, Mary-Kate and Ashley, Hillary Duff. Yes, keep reading and maybe one day you will come across some actual literature.Thanks for your advice. No, I've never been able to read through an entire Harry Potter book. Now let me suggest that you should NEVER EVER talk down to another person about Harry freaking Potter until you've read ALL of books of the great authors from which Rowling borrows, which includes Carroll Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Roald Dahl, David Eddings, Ursula le Guin, CS Lewis, Terry Pratchet, and even Stan Lee. I have.Oh, and "this is not meant to be offensive, so don't take it the wrong way."P.S., You wrote, "People are just retarded and Katie should forget about all those rude comments about her." Stop using the word "retarded." It's ignorant and offensive to people with mental disabilities.

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