Back in December, and just in time for Hanukkah, J.K. Rowling revealed via Twitter that there were Jewish wizards at Hogwarts. Replying to a fan, she wrote, “Anthony Goldstein, Ravenclaw, Jewish wizard.” The revelation prompted a flurry of curious questions from Rowling’s nearly 4 million twitter followers. Rowling followed up her initial statement by clarifying both that Anthony was not the first or only Jewish student and that all religious groups were present at Hogwarts: “To everyone asking whether their religion/belief/non-belief system is represented at Hogwarts: the only people I never imagined there are Wiccans.”
This isn’t the first time that Rowling has made news using the—forgive us—imaginary world of the Harry Potter novels to celebrate cultural diversity and progressive social values. In 2007, Rowling let Dumbledore out of the closet when she announced that everyone’s favorite sorcerer headmaster is (spoiler: was) gay.
That Rowling can continue to use Harry Potter to offer social commentary on the Muggle world years after completing her series is testimony to the appeal of her creation. She is currently developing a screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a Potter movie spinoff based on a textbook mentioned in the series, and continues to delight fans with revelations about the backstories of her characters.