8 episodes

The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling is an audio documentary that examines some of the most contentious conflicts of our time through the life and career of the world’s most successful author. In conversation with host Megan Phelps-Roper, J.K. Rowling speaks with unprecedented candor and depth about the controversies surrounding her—from book bans to debates on gender and sex. The series also examines the forces propelling this moment in history, through interviews with Rowling’s supporters and critics, journalists, historians, clinicians, and more.

The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling The Free Press

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 11.3K Ratings

The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling is an audio documentary that examines some of the most contentious conflicts of our time through the life and career of the world’s most successful author. In conversation with host Megan Phelps-Roper, J.K. Rowling speaks with unprecedented candor and depth about the controversies surrounding her—from book bans to debates on gender and sex. The series also examines the forces propelling this moment in history, through interviews with Rowling’s supporters and critics, journalists, historians, clinicians, and more.

    Chapter 1: Plotted In Darkness

    Chapter 1: Plotted In Darkness

    Host Megan Phelps-Roper writes a letter to J.K. Rowling—and receives a surprising invitation in reply: the opportunity for an intimate conversation in Rowling’s Scottish home.
    Produced by Andy Mills, Matthew Boll, and Megan Phelps-Roper, with special thanks to Candace Mittel Kahn and Emily Yoffe.
    This show is proudly sponsored by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. FIRE believes free speech makes free people. Learn more at thefire.org.

    • 47 min
    Chapter 2: Burn The Witch

    Chapter 2: Burn The Witch

    As "Harry Potter" becomes an international phenomenon, it coincides with the culture wars of the 1990s. In the backlash from Christians across America, author J.K. Rowling is accused of mainstreaming witchcraft and poisoning children’s minds.
    Produced by Andy Mills, Matthew Boll, and Megan Phelps-Roper, with special thanks to Candace Mittel Kahn and Emily Yoffe.
    This show is proudly sponsored by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. FIRE believes free speech makes free people. Learn more at thefire.org.

    • 55 min
    Chapter 3: A New Pyre

    Chapter 3: A New Pyre

    The early days of the internet collide with the feverish fandom of “Harry Potter,” and a sprawling, global community emerges. But the hopefulness of this new technology brings with it the darker impulses of human nature.
    Produced by Andy Mills, Matthew Boll, and Megan Phelps-Roper, with special thanks to Candace Mittel Kahn and Emily Yoffe.
    This show is proudly sponsored by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. FIRE believes free speech makes free people. Learn more at thefire.org.

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Chapter 4: TERF Wars

    Chapter 4: TERF Wars

    The movement for trans rights hits its stride in the early 2010s, but encounters fierce resistance from an unexpected source. J.K. Rowling watches the battle unfold with mounting unease.
    Produced by Andy Mills, Matthew Boll, and Megan Phelps-Roper, with special thanks to Candace Mittel Kahn and Emily Yoffe.
    This show is proudly sponsored by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. FIRE believes free speech makes free people. Learn more at thefire.org.

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Chapter 5: The Tweets

    Chapter 5: The Tweets

    After years of observing the conflict between advocates for trans rights and women’s rights, J.K. Rowling weighs in.
    Produced by Andy Mills, Matthew Boll, and Megan Phelps-Roper, with special thanks to Candace Mittel Kahn and Emily Yoffe.
    This show is proudly sponsored by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. FIRE believes free speech makes free people. Learn more at thefire.org.

    • 59 min
    Chapter 6: Natalie and Noah

    Chapter 6: Natalie and Noah

    Transgender fans of Harry Potter share their criticism of J.K. Rowling—and the experiences that inform their views.
    Produced by Andy Mills, Matthew Boll, Megan Phelps-Roper, and Candace Mittel Kahn, with special thanks to Emily Yoffe.
    This show is proudly sponsored by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. FIRE believes free speech makes free people. Learn more at thefire.org.

    • 1 hr 12 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
11.3K Ratings

11.3K Ratings

IBCoconutty ,

Excellent

Thought provoking examination of JK Rowling POV on transgender issues. I can’t/wont be guilted into cancelling her. She’s made a huge contribution to our era. Her point that the far left is devouring the common cause is valid. The interviewer was excellent. Where is the epilogue?

Sullyman1957 ,

A True Gem

What an excellent, timely, and well balanced essay on a very controversial topic. As someone whose kids (and me, if truth be told) grew up on these beloved books, I was very curious to learn about JK. Rowling’s controversial opinions. I learned so much from both sides of this issues. It will helped me greatly in dealing understanding and dealing with a trans member of our family as well. Highly recommend this podcast!

More Mysteries Please ,

An Examination of Division and the Right to Discourse

Two things that really made me sad about this podcast was that despite the fact that this should have ended up in my recommended list for a year, I had to actually search for it to find it, and that there are ad-breaks in the episodes, but the producers couldn’t find sponsors willing to advertise on this show because even appearing to support a show that gives J.K. Rowling’s position further examination, would cause folks on the other side of the divide to call for boycotts (or worse). The subject of this podcast isn’t trans-rights, it is about the right to express yourself without fear of losing your livelihood, or to be made to feel unsafe by those who disagree with your position. The entire podcast actually made me terribly sad because of how angry and polarized we have become as a society. I appreciate Megan Phelps-Roper for having the courage to open up this topic for examination.

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