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Posted by artistseunghee13 AKP STAFF 15 days ago

[OP-ED] My two cents on Claudia Kim as Nagini in 'Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald'

Soo Hyun (Claudia Kim)

Earlier this month, 'Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald' premiered on the big screen and Claudia Kim (Soo Hyun) was introduced into the 'Harry Potter' world as the character Nagini. Nagini is a character that avid Harry Potter fans will recognize as Lord Voldemort's pet snake, however in this Harry Potter prequel, Nagini is introduced as a woman who is cursed, whose ultimate fate will be to live as a snake. 






As a fan of the Harry Potter series, I was ecstatic to hear that a Korean actress had been cast. Another small win for minority representations in Hollywood. Yet that was before I realized Claudia Kim was up to play this character. As I stated above, Nagini is a creature where a woman of color literally turns into a snake who is "tamed" by the evil white man, Voldemort. Yes, that sounds a lot like white patriarchy.






To have another non-white actress play the white man's pet, in a current day film, is distasteful. Especially when it doesn't bring anything new to discuss this trope and the fact is that it's been done so many different times. In the books, Nagini, in snake form assists in murdering multiple people under Voldemort's orders and is even the last Horcrux, housing part of main antagonist's very evil soul. Nagini is, of course, Voldemort's loyal servant to the very end. 


There was an uproar when Kim's role in the movie came to light. Many fans took to social media to voice their criticism and point out this flippant stereotype.






Additionally, in the film and J.K. Rowling, the author of the franchise, have stated that Nagini is a creature from Indonesia (which was also miscredited, as the Naga mythology is from Hinduism. Hence Nagini's true origins are from India). But Claudia Kim, an Eastern Asian woman was cast.





We are living in a time where representation in media has never been more important, different marginalized groups are pushing back against the system of film that is often times too white and too male. The world is clamoring, rightfully so, for more diverse roles. So yes, ultimately, it is a win that a Korean actress was cast in 'The Crimes of Grindelwald,' but one cannot overlook how unsavory of a decision it was to cast an Eastern Asian woman rather than a South Asian actress.

I am not saying that actors should only play roles based on the same ethnicity, which may infringe upon creative licensing and someone's own artistic vision. However, when the world has a long history of white-washing and casting lighter skin over darker skin tones, it makes sense that people of color, who been blatantly ignored on the Hollywood screens for so long, are demanding to play roles that were written for them and not have them snatched by the whiter actor. Equally, take into account that there is also an extreme minute range of roles available for these minority artists. With so little opportunities, let's just please cast a character written as a certain ethnicity, from that ethnicity. 


Furthermore consider how often times Eastern Asians have dominated media representation for Asians in the West, overshadowing the Southeastern Asian and South Asian artists, and that anti-brown/black culture continues to prevail in a lot of Eastern Asian communities. In this context, Claudia Kim as Nagini may be a win for representation but this representation is nothing but shallow and one-dimensional.




Although I have many issues with this casting, Claudia Kim did her best to what was given to her in the role. Truthfully, her role in the film was not that crucial, she is, a cursed woman, a caged circus animal, a friend to Credence Barebone but nothing more beyond that. From what I can remember from this movie, Claudia Kim did not leave a big impression. My only impressionable memory of her is when she turned into a snake and, sadly, her absolutely gorgeous blue dress.


[WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD]


Nagini, surprisingly, may not have joined forces in the end with Credence, refusing to accompany him to join Grindelwald, the villain in this story. However, this plot twist where Nagini does not join the evil side, so simplistically, makes me hope for a brighter future in the following 'Fantastic Beasts' movies. One where her story spirals, allowing her to take on a bigger role and adding more layers to her existence.


Is that only wishful thinking? If the same set of writers including J.K. Rowling are creating future scripts, is it futile to hope that these writers will understand the issues and will adjust the writing to address these issues? 


We can only hope. 



  1. Soo Hyun (Claudia Kim)
23 11,798 Share 63% Upvoted

21

tennistensai 15 days ago 0
15 days ago

I usually don't comment on articles but I would have to say that this article itself is full of stereotypes

1) Naga mythology is a Hindu mythology but Hinduism is not just contained in India. There's strong Hindu influence in Indonesia, and the mythology also exist in Indonesia. So she could very well be from Indonesia

2) South Asian/South East Asian casting. I am from South East Asia and are not offended that they're casting a Korean woman. Why? Because in SEA we are of different colours as well. Not just a one racial darker coloured individual.


All in all, I think people need to stop bring racial differences to the movies and stop trying to be politically correct at every turn. Claudia Kim was casted because she probably fits an image JK Rowling imagined when she was writing about her. So let's just take it as it is. A "White" guy playing Son Goku in dragonball, that one is offensive but not this.


I might sound a bit angry but I'm not really haha. Just my two cents on this matter

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14

NgohiongPuso 15 days ago 0
15 days ago

This is not the Harry Potter series! Nagini, in that story, is not Voldemort's pet! YET!

If your two cents is still mentioning the error in casting then I'd probably your two cents is fake.

If the cast for Nagini was a white woman and people knew that Nagini is a creature from Indonesia... PEOPLE will call out "WHITE-WASHING" ---- People are so sensitive about who is cast with what... that basically is hypocrisy. They are actors and the story is not real. And the only thing people would see there is the story of Newt, Grindelwald, and etc.

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9

aldebaran 15 days ago 5
15 days ago

Lucy Lu was the snake in several kung fu panda movies, nobody cry about it

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-1

nq16 15 days ago 4
15 days ago

lol thats VERY different from this issue though...

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4

NgohiongPuso 15 days ago 0
15 days ago

What is the real issue though?

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0

aldebaran 15 days ago 2
15 days ago

Don't forget that the fact that an asian woman was playing the role of a evil snake was what fired all the racism controversy and upset people in first place, now there are new upset people that are angry because Nagini is from the indian culture and they pick an eastern asian insted of an asian with indian/arabic background. Same thing happens when hollywood cast someone for the role of Jesus, they usualy go with the tall, handsome, caucasian, brow long haired, bearded man, insted of a middle eastern, black hair, olvie/brown skinned man

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2 more replies

4

RationalK 15 days ago 0
15 days ago

I disagree, here's why:

1. Nagini as Voldemort's "pet".

Your argument suggests that the Nagini bit is reminiscent of white patriarchy, but what if she wasn't Asian? Would it be okay if she was a white woman being turned into a snake and "tamed" by a white man? No, that's misogynistic. Would it be okay if it was a black guy? No, that's slavery. Would it be okay if it was another white guy? Still no, but in this case probably because people would complain about the lack of diversity. So if you want to portrait this kind of story line, there's no alternative.

You mention that Voldemort "tames" Nagini, but this is (as far as we know) not true. She stays with him willingly, is his most trusted companion as you sort of point out yourself. Makes sense when you think about her being a snake and him being the only parsel tongue we know. So by making it sound like she is this poor Asian woman who could do nothing to defend herself and just ends up having to submit instead of having any free will, aren't you the one who is stereotyping her character?

2. Casting a Korean instead of SEA actress

You write "let's just please cast a character written as a certain ethnicity, from that ethnicity," but we don't know what ethnicity JK Rowling wrote her as to begin with. JK Rowling never specified the exact ethnicity of Nagini, only that she had heard of that myth in connection with Indonesia. Voldemort's name is French, Grindelwald's is German, yet both of the characters are from England. And as @tennistensai pointed out, the Nagini myth cannot be pinpointed to one exact location and even if it could, it's not like that place would be ethically homogeneous.


To some part, I understand the outrage. I understand that the role is not the most flattering of the bunch and that the franchise as a whole lacks diversity, but I do think this is a step in the right direction.

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2

Ah_Chuu 15 days ago 0
15 days ago

'White patriarchy', my goodness, when did we start spouting gender studies buzzwords like they were real life?


I can't believe the depths to which people will go to trivialise and denigrate this woman's role in this movie just so they can appear woke. Tell me how exactly reducing the casting of a minority actress in a big-name movie to the lightness of her skin and effectively shaming her for accepting the role at all is helping??


Some people who want to have a whinge about the reasons for the lack of representation in mainstream movies should go check out a mirror. When the people making a movie cast a particular actor and then get faced with a bunch of ree-ing about how they've done diversity wroooong, do you think they're going to want to create opportunities for minority performers in their future projects?

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1

hiroonakamura 14 days ago 0
14 days ago

"Nagini is a creature where a woman of color literally turns into a snake who is "tamed" by the evil white man, Voldemort. Yes, that sounds a lot like white patriarchy."

I literally stopped reading after this crappy line.


Didn't Harry Potter also have a white man end up being a rat and pet to a white boy for years? I don't think the skin color has anything to do with nagini being a snake to Voldemort. Having people turned into pets for other characters is something that is used more than once in the book series.


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1

Hanis_Whore 15 days ago 0
15 days ago

...is this satire? Are you serious..."white patriarchy." I can't even begin to describe how wrong this is. First of all, the "white man" had people of ALL races under his control, and he controlled them for their "weirdness" and that alone, nothing else. So yeah, a white person in an old timey movie controlling white, asian, black, etc. people is definitely racist and white supremecy... how did you pull all of this out of your ass. Get over yourself.

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1

Papayaaa 15 days ago 0
15 days ago

I understand the frustration coming from the fact that this is one more missed opportunity to cast under-represented SEA people.


What I don't understand is the whole discussion about the fact that having an asian woman as a pet is racist and mysogynist. HELLO, Voldemort is a villain! So he's gonna do vile things! I can't believe people whine about the villain of the story being racist and mysoginist. Only in 2018. Logic is gone, God knows where.

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0

Fak3r 9 days ago 0
9 days ago

Hahahaha i want to meet the triggered liberal retard that made this article

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0

rukhsar 11 days ago 0
11 days ago

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0

therefleks78 13 days ago 0
13 days ago

You think too much.

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0

melon 13 days ago 0
13 days ago

When I saw that photo I thought it was seohyun. She looks more like seohyun there than herself.

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0

Pink_Lisa 14 days ago 0
14 days ago

I still don't get why tf they brought up the 'patriarchy'. Or why it matters that Voldemort is white..

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0

pink_oracle 14 days ago 0
14 days ago

You misused flippant.

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0

Xibi_Kyu_Mm 15 days ago 0
15 days ago

WORLD: NAGINI NEVER WAS A PET, SHE WAS A PARTNER / FRIEND, EVEN SHE CARE OF VOLDEMORT.

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-1

NoParzPlz 15 days ago 0
15 days ago

I very much agree that a South Asian woman should have been cast for that role. Nagas and naginis are no where as culturally relevant as they are in India. So ignorant and disappointing

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-2

manongja 15 days ago 0
15 days ago

Well, you were right in your valuation of your opinion—2 cents’ worth. Just as much value as Rowling trying to justify her casting decisions to pacify the identitarian gits

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-2

SongKaixi 15 days ago 0
15 days ago

I actually almost 100% agree with you. It's getting really annoying to see people just mash a bunch of cultures in one area together and call it good.

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