A series of images that has recently gone viral appears to show author J.K. Rowling explaining why there is no sex ed at Hogwarts. The screenshot tweets appear to show Rowling explaining that wizards are actually rather conservative and that wizarding students, “like all teenagers,” eventually figure it out on their own.
A number of times, a response from Rowling to a character questions has gone viral, especially as they have appeared to answer deep and abiding questions about the Harry Potter universe — and about human and wizarding nature as a whole.
For instance, Rowling has spoken about Albus Dumbledore as a gay man, prompting a vocal response both from those supportive of the idea and those opposed.
Another time, she responded to a tweeted fan question and followed up, assuring readers that the wizarding world was diverse and that Hogwarts was home to students of a wide variety of religious faiths and all sexualities.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 16, 2014
However, could it be that, with wizards of so many religious stances, and so many sexualities, Hogwarts might be a place where sex ed couldn’t fit due to conservatism? That’s what a screenshot of a series of tweets purportedly from Rowling herself claims.
There is a third tweet in the series, redacted here. It delved into exactly what sort of sexual exploration Hogwarts students might engage in, and out of respect for Ms. Rowling’s choice to leave any explicit material out of the books, we’ll skip it here too. The full series is visible here for those who do choose to see it.
The image appeared previously in a College Humor article, which also included the very real tweet from Rowling about Jewish students at Hogwarts, as well as a number of very explicit (and very fabricated) tweets about various Harry Potter characters, their genitalia, and their sex lives. If you click here to see it, be warned that the statements are explicit.
Despite appearing in at least one story alongside at least one real tweet from the author, the Hogwarts sex ed tweets do not appear in J.K. Rowling’s Twitter timeline, and the Twitter handle that purportedly asked the question has a different name attached to it and shows no tweets in the past year.
Of course, tweets can be deleted, and screen names changed, so one fan decided to address the question directly. Tweeting an image of the conversation to Rowling, he asked her directly if the claims about Hogwarts’ lack of sex ed were true.
— Aaron Lerma (@airbearlerma) February 3, 2016
Rowling was quick to respond.
@airbearlerma No, that's fake.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) February 3, 2016
Harry Potter fans were appreciative of the clarification, but many noted, with disappointment, that Rowling did not address exactly what type of sex ed is offered at Hogwarts — and others had follow-up questions.
@jk_rowling OK but IS there sex ed at Hogwarts? What methods of birth control exist in the Wizarding world? Potions? Spells? I must know.
— Brenda (@misslilyevans) February 4, 2016
It’s not the first time Hogwarts sex ed has been the subject of speculation. It has come up in debates on Reddit and has been the subject of speculative articles such as this one on Gurl. Hogwarts sex ed classes — and sexual relationships — also pop up in fanfic.
However, there’s never been an official answer, and though Rowling has now explicitly denied that she ever said Hogwarts was too conservative for sex ed, she’s still not offering any specific information about what those courses, if any, might include.
Thus, it’s still left to the reader to speculate: Would sex ed at Hogwarts include birth control, or skew more toward teaching abstinence? Is any magic involved? Do wizard parents ever opt their children out of the course, as some in the Muggle world do?
Perhaps, like in the Muggle world, the course would even vary by school (Rowling recently revealed that there are 11 wizarding schools, not just the three that participated in the TriWizard Tournament at Hogwarts).
What do you think? Would you expect sex ed at Hogwarts to be comprehensive, or minimal?
[Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images]