The latest Magic: The Gathering novel has killed-off a fan-favorite romance between two female characters, and fans are pissed.
We're going to start on some pretty solid ground: Magic: The Gathering has always been an accepting place to be. According to Doug Beyer, principal worldbuilder of Magic, same-sex couples are present on all planes throughout the multiverse and homophobia doesn't exist on a single one.
Although that seems statistically improbable given the size of the multiverse, it is definitely cool.
That's not just lip service, either. Magic has been actively representing characters across the LGBTQ+ spectrum for some time. Let's start with Alesha, Who Smiles At Death, an openly trans woman from the Fate Reforged set. Or how about Ral Zarek and Tomik Vrona, a gay couple from Return to Ravnica. Then there's Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis, another gay couple that is so hopelessly in love they're even on the same card.
Same-sex romance isn't just limited to these one-off cards, either. Chandra and Nissa, two planeswalkers of the Gatewatch and central figures in the larger Magic pantheon, were widely depicted in previous works as closer than they appeared. Although it was never officially confirmed in canon, Magic fans were widely expecting their relationship to be confirmed in future fiction.
Instead, War of the Spark: The Forsaken came out and completely undid everything that had come before.
In The Forsaken, the author seems to go out of his way to not only cancel the Chandra/Nissa relationship but also rewrite Chandra’s history so that she retroactively went for your typical muscle-bound dudes. He even goes on to specifically write how all of Chandra and Nissa’s interactions in the past were strictly platonic.
Fans are calling this a blatant attempt at bi-erasure on the part of the author. Beyer responded to the outcry on Twitter, writing that he feels their pain and will “head back into the trenches to try again to make things better.”
Hard week for my heart, and for many of yours. Still feeling raw today. Gonna for a while. But I guess there's nothing to do but pick myself up, set my profile pic back to Chandra, and head back into the trenches to try again to make things better.— Doug Beyer (@omnidoug) November 13, 2019
Another former Wizards of the Coast employee who goes by Reclusive Wizard on Twitter fired back at the novel, writing that Chandra had always been “a pansexual hot mess” and that the Chandra/Nissa romance had been planned as far back as Battle for Zendikar.
There’s now a petition on Change.org to officially revert the changes done in War of the Spark: The Forsaken from the official Magic canon. It hasn’t hit Reddit yet, but when it does, expect it to get a lot more signatures.