This week, we spent a bit of time talking about both Youtube and games as Harry Potter adaptations. One Youtube video I came across last week was of a drag performance by performer Florida Man as Lady Voldemort. The performance took place at the OASIS, a nightclub in San Francisco. Lady Voldemort donned a black cloak and ripped fishnet leggings while performing a burlesque performance to Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande.
You can watch the performance here:
The performance itself is very well done. It is sensual and provocative and you can’t help but cheer her on. In addition, the visual effects are pretty amazing. The wand sparks, the green fire, and the wand duel with Hairy Otter played by Tito– each on cue with the music- all add to the appeal of the performance.
The song choice, Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman, is very fitting considering you are watching none other than Lady Voldemort herself. The lyrics of the song are about a woman (Grande) who feels excited and powerful when she is with her man. According to Grande, a dangerous woman also implies a sort of recklessness and disregard for consequences behind her behavior (1). Some of the lyrics include:
“Somethin’ ’bout you makes me feel like a dangerous woman”
“Nothing to prove and I’m bulletproof and/ Know what I’m doing” and
“Don’t need no hold up/ Taking control of this kind of moment/ I’m locked and loaded/ Completely focused, my mind is open”
which double to characterize Voldemort’s intentions and his relationship with Harry. We understand that he developed into who he is later on in his life due to his obsession with and fear of death. The Prophecy gives him a reason to pursue Harry Potter and stop at nothing in order to kill him. It would also be interesting to imagine what the series would be like if Voldemort were a woman.
The song itself and the performance are also very sexual in nature which isn’t a common theme that comes up in the series, since it is a children’s book. In addition, the drag performance also reimagines aspects of the Harry Potter series through a queer lens. Representation of LGBTQIA+ characters and analysis of the series through a queer lens is often lacking. In an interview with Teen Vogue, Florida Man stated that: “‘Part of what I’m doing with Lady Voldemort is reimagining a universe where the canon of Harry Potter is queerer and weirder, and I think that speaks to a lot of queer people and Harry Potter fans alike,’ Florida says. ‘It’s also just ridiculous.’”
One thing that I love about the series and the way it had developed is that there is an immense variety of adaptations. It is easy for fans to represent and introduce elements that aren’t necessarily stated or obvious in the books. There isn’t much LGBTQIA+ representation in the series besides Dumbledore and Charlie Weasley- only one of which is a major character. I know J.K. Rowling tends to get a lot of backlash for retconning in the Harry Potter series, such as with revealing that Nagini is a Maledictus in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. And even though they try to be inclusive in the movie, they still get backlash. It would be difficult for her to retcon more queer characters into the series without making it seem like she is trying to add some representation that she didn’t necessarily think about when writing the book. I don’t doubt that she will introduce more characters, especially with the Fantastic Beasts franchise, but that will take a long time because making movies takes time. So fans don’t need to wait to see something in the franchise- they can create it themselves. They get to create their own adaptations that infuse their own interpretations and new twists into the series, introduce what does not already explicitly exist, and extend the reach of the series to communities of fans who both love it or those that may not even be familiar with it