If you're looking for fantasy books with on-page queer representation, you're probably not looking toward Harry Potter — though its creator J.K. Rowling sure seems to want you to. The latest Harry Potter scandal stems from a comment made by the author to Vanity Fair on March 14 in which she asserted that there was a "sexual dimension" to Dumbledore and Grindelwald's relationship in the film Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald, despite this sexual dynamic never once appearing on screen or in the books.
This is far from the first time that Rowling has misstepped when it comes to queer representation. While Rowling claimed in a 2007 interview that Dumbledore was gay and had fallen in love with Grindelwald, she nevertheless supported Fantastic Beasts director David Yates's decision to keep Dumbledore's sexuality off screen.
Whether Rowling herself truly believes any number of her characters to be gay, the fact remains: nowhere on page, stage, or screen has Rowling or her team ever made explicit mention of any character within the Wizarding World being queer. But there are countless other fantasy authors who have. These 13 books feature queer characters right there in the text, which is what readers truly deserve:
'We Set the Dark on Fire' by Tehlor Kay Mejia
At the Medio School for Girls, young women are trained for two roles: To run a husband’s household, and to raise his children. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but she has a dark secret that could change her entire future.
'The Priory of the Orange Tree' by Samantha Shannon
The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction — but assassins are getting closer to her door.
'The Afterward' by E.K. Johnston
It has been a year since the mysterious godsgem cured Cadrium’s king and ushered in what promised to be a new golden age. Apprentice Knight Kalanthe Ironheart and thief Olsa Rhetsdaughter think their paths are laid out, but the godsgem isn't quite done with them.
'The Fifth Season' by N.K. Jemison
When Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman's vengeance, Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land.
'Six of Crows' by Leigh Bardugo
When criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams, he assembles the only crew that could pull it off.
'The Fever King' by Victoria Lee
This urban fantasy follows 16-year-old Noam Álvaro, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic. But then he meets the minister’s son, and the way forward becomes less clear.
'Labyrinth Lost' by Zoraida Cordova
At her Deathday celebration, bruja Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her powers. But it backfires and now Alex's only chance at saving her family is to travel to the underworld with a brujo she can’t trust.
'Reign of the Fallen' by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Odessa is one of Karthia's master necromancers, catering to the kingdom's ruling Dead. After the loss of one of their own a disturbing conspiracy is revealed: someone is using the Dead to create zombie-like monsters known as Shades — and training them to attack.
'Timekeeper' by Tara Sim
Set in a Victorian steampunk universe, Danny Hart is a timekeeper, someone who can manipulate time. Determined to rescue his father from a time-Stopped town, Danny soon finds himself on a whirlwind adventure.
'Girls of Paper and Fire' by Natasha Ngan
Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. But when the royal guards who snatched her mother come for her a decade later, she becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of her world.
'Of Fire and Stars' by Audrey Coulthurst
Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire — a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.
'Carry On' by Rainbow Rowell
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen. That's what his evil vampire roommate, Baz, says. And he's probably right. But its their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.
'The Gentleman's Guide to Vice & Virtue' by Mackenzi Lee
In this historical fantasy, young rogue Monty is swept up in a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, calling into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.